By Mickie McLeod, CBS 62/CW50 Intern
Jimmie Bones, Detroit native and the keyboard player for Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band, sat down with me to talk about his involvement with music and his involvement with Detroit.
Detroit’s own Jimmie Bones grew up in Roseville where he divided his time between his home and working on the family farm in the thumb of Michigan. Bones was just ten years old when he started playing his parent’s organ. He was listening to his father’s records, such as Billy Preston, Jimmy Smith, and other jazzy-blues music and blues pianists, and tried to duplicate their sounds. His love for music evolved, so he began training himself.
“I had a minimal amount of training… I didn’t go to the academies or had taken classes at all. Everything I learned was from listening to records.”
In High School, Bones was in a band of his own. He remembers his first gig very well. It was a Friday night in Roseville, Michigan at the VFW Hall on Gratiot. The Hall had dances there every Friday night and Bones and his band would play gig after gig.
After graduation, he really thought he would join the family business and become a dairy farmer. He attended some college, but ultimately chose to pursue his love and passion for music and further his career in that industry.
It wasn’t until after years of playing numerous clubs before Jimmie Bones was introduced to Bob Ritchie, also known as Detroit’s own Kid Rock.
Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band
After several years of hard work and playing clubs in the early 90’s, Bones was led to a man named Robert Bradley and his band, Robert Bradley’s Black Water Surprise. They were signed to RCA records. It was while they were recording their album in White Room Studios in Detroit that Bob Ritchie (Kid Rock) and Jimmie Bones met.
Bob was in the back room, still doing independent music and wasn’t signed to any label at this time. He listened to what Bones was playing in the studio and finally asked him if he would like to join and do some tracking with him.
The two bands shared a rehearsal place in Royal Oak where Bones would show up early for the Robert Bradley Rehearsals. At this time, Bob would be wrapping up his rehearsal so Bones would jump in and jam along with Bob’s band. Bob then suggested to Bones that if he wasn’t on the road with his band and was home for some period of time, he should come and jump in on some of his shows.
The first place Bones ever played with Bob was at the State Theatre, which is now The Fillmore, on Woodward Ave. in Downtown Detroit. Bones was blown away after seeing that he was about to play for 2,800 or so people in the venue. He was amazed that Bob was not signed or touring and that he was having all of this success on his own.
Since then, Bones has been with Bob and touring with Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band for nearly 20 years.
What does Bones’ miss while he is on the Road?
“Before I leave, I gotta’ have a Coney and when I get back in town, I tell my wife, okay… let’s go to Coney.”
One of his favorite memories growing up was during Christmas time when his Grandma would take him Downtown to J.L Hudsons and see the Christmas displays. After seeing the beautiful displays, she would take Bones around the corner to Lafayette and they would enjoy delicious Coney’s together.
What is his view on Detroit music?
Along with his love for local Lafayette Coney Island, Bones is passionate about the music that Detroit truly brings. Bones says Detroit music is very soulful. Ever since listening to early Motown during his childhood, he has a love for the jazz and blues music here.
When asking Bones his overall view on Detroit music and why it’s different, he said:
“Anywhere has a sound. Philly’s got a sound, Chicago’s got a sound, New York’s got a sound, and any place has a sound. Detroit’s got a sound. It’s hard. It’s gritty. It’s greasy. It’s very reflective of industry and working hard…you can hear that in the play. In its roughness and its edge, it’s got its own subtle beauty to it.”
What is his best advice to upcoming Detroit Artists and Bands?
Bones said the best advice to upcoming Detroit artists and bands is to write what you feel and simply play what you feel. Bones said to never let anyone judge your stuff.
“If there are records that move you, learn how to play that stuff, but also branch out and learn how to play other things. Don’t be too one dimensional. Play and write. Write your thoughts down….if you’re trying to be in this business, don’t let anybody judge you. You gotta’ believe what you’re doing and put it out there. Be happy with what you put out, and believe in it, even if certain people don’t believe in it. If 8 out of 10 people don’t believe in it, you’re playing for those 2 people that do.”
Involvement within the Detroit Community
While Bones has been rocking shows across the world, he has also been giving back to the Detroit Community. His most recent involvement is about Breast Cancer Awareness and his participation in the Real Men Wear Pink Program.
Bones was asked by a cousin to get involved in the program. After he heard about the great cause of spreading Breast Cancer Awareness, he could not refuse. He loves being one of the 22 ambassadors for the Real Men Wear Pink Program among Metro Detroit. He is raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event by wearing pink every day in October. To find out more about the Real Men Wear Pink Program, visit Real Men Wear Pink.
What is he doing now?
Jimmie Bones is currently working on his solo record on Funky D. Records, “Snakebit and Wandering.” You can pick up the piano driven, rhythm and blues, hard-rock album once it is released this December, but the first single is out and available on Amazon.com or iTunes or check out his webpage.
Listen to Snakebit and Wandering – Single by Jimmie Bones on Apple Music.
Check out more photos of Jimmie Bones on this Storify post.
Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native. She’s currently majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University and is a CBS 62/CW50 Intern.