Saturday, June 2, 2018

Journal Entry June 2018

We have a new short video clip out of our performance last week in Ft. Madison Iowa at the Pre-RiverFest at Vinnie's Longbranch.  What a great crowd, great charity event.

We also received notice that we will be playing the Bud Light Stage at the Iowa State Fair.   We have been steadily recording songs for multiple up-coming EP's we will release over the winter for your listening pleasure as well as a series of DVD's.

I hope you will enjoy the rest of the summer and will come out and see the John-Paul Jones Group

If the if the video does not play for you just go here to listen to new music.

Sunday, April 29, 2018



As you may be aware of now,  the John-Paul Jones Group is a band that consists of a revolving door of musicians who contribute at one time or another to either live performance, rehearsals or recording sessions.

When working within the context of a studio, its important to understand the dynamic the self-produced solo artist has with schedules and musicians.  The first thing, to remember, NEVER ask your fellow musicians to play on your record for free in your studio... its something that should not happen unless you are all going to share in the expenses and profits of the project.

If its not in your budget to pay cash, then trade studio time or something tangible with them.  I personally live in an area that musicians are traditionally not paid for such activity.  Most of the musicians I know hold day jobs.  We are what I call "semi-pro"  meaning some of us make a partial living from playing music and some of us make zero living from it. 

So by utilizing the median income per hour in my area I came up with a rate that was caparable to the jobs in my area that are non-music.  Its just a mutual respect and way to show appreciation for those musicians who normally would of done it for free, but shouldn't.

The other aspect is remembering as the studio owner or leader of the project, your deadlines and plans for execution of your plans are yours to work with alone.  You have to make sure that you understand that YOU are in control of when music is released and in what form.  Many times when dealing with musicians who have not had a lot of experience in recording studios they are under the misunderstanding that once they are done with their part, they should get a copy of the take. 

That is not case and you should NEVER release any piece of recording until you have done all your due diligence registered the copyright, secured the license fee for cover tunes, mixed and mastered or whatever else needs to be done.  

Some musicians don't understand this, its your job as Producer to explain this to them.  But in my case I am releasing material for Eugene's Trick Bag Records.  Which is the label for this particular project I am working on.

Be diplomatic but firm, if you set a release date of Jan 1st, 2018 then don't give your drummer or bass player a copy on september 2nd 2017 and have it leaked.    

When you have a plan, as producer, the studio musicians you hire are only one part of the project and they will learn that you need to be consistent with your marketing efforts with your release dates, and with your distribution.  So that even though they spent an hour recording a tune, there are many  many more hours spent doing a lot more than just recording.

Its your job as band leader, label owner, studio owner, or producer to make this clear and concise.  Once you have music read for release do not undermine impact of the release of your material by giving it away online.  We will talk about social media and release of demos in a future TIP OF THE WEEK.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

John-Paul Jones Group Journal Entry 04212018 - The EP IS HERE

CopperTop Studio Journal 04-21-2018

Well the EP Volume No. 2 are in from the duplication house.  I would like to thank EasyDisc.Net for their great service.

I also want to thank Jesse Price for all the help he gave here at CopperTop Studios.  We are wanting to sell these EP's if you want an early bird price ($6.00) come over to the Best Western in Fairfield, Iowa we will be supporting the Southeast Iowa Blues Society and we will be giving away a CD Sampler and if you would like you can also purchase the EP Volume #2 - A Tribute to Rory Gallagher.  (Those who are fans will  know why I named the EP "Volume #2".

I want to give special thanks to the musicians who worked on EP Volume #2  Don Brown thanks for giving us a hand on the drums.   Sally Henry, thank you for all your support and great bass playing, can't do it without you.  

I want to thank my manager Heather Dawn for all the hard work and support you give us.

I also need to thank our affiliates, partners and sponsors.

Galaxy Audio - Carvin Amplification - Jet City Amplification
Duaheam Electronics - Behringer/Music Group - Ibanez Guitars
D'Addario Strings - Jim Dunlop Products - Morley Products
Seismic Audio - Audio Technica - CAD Microphones
Hoshino Tama Drums - Zildian Cymbals - Remo Heads
Ebay - Paypal - Market On Main - JVC - MixCraft
SoundForge - Fender Basses

We are looking forward to releasing the next EP June 1st. But pickup EP Volume #2 = Tribute to Gallagher

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

CopperTop Studio Journal 04-17-2018

Well as you all know its tax season, and after going through all my businesses taxes, my children's taxes and my wife's taxes.  I was a bit frazzled to say the least.

Well instead of wallowing in my frustration? (which should of been relief.  I went straight to the studio and recorded vocals for two songs for the NEXT EP Volume 3 which is to be released June 1st 2018

Listening to the third track the drums were not recorded well, so we have to record this song over again.

Again don't forget May 1st, EP Volume No. 2  "A Tribute to Rory Gallagher" will be available to purchase.

We are taking pre-orders on our website. We will have some at the Southeast Iowa Blues Society Member Appreciation Celebration in Fairfield Iowa this Saturday April 21st, come on down and listen to Bluzillion and Tony Blew play some great blues.

Don't forget about the upcoming shows we have the first being in Ft. Madison 2:30pm at Vinnie's Longbranch in support of the RiverFest and the Battle for The Charities.


Sunday, April 8, 2018


When I was a young lad, I was totally interested in music, as I grew older I remember there was an album by Aldo Nova called "Fantasy" and I remember Aldo Nova on some late night news clip or magazine interview talking about how he played all of the instruments on this album. 

It fascinated me that he could record everything himself.   I was unaware that it was even possible.  Fast forward a few years later, I receive a Guitar Player or similar magazine with a Flexible Record in it and it contained a song called, "Blue Powder" by Steve Vai, and it blew my mind as I read the interview on how he built his first studio. 

Steve Vai was always able to share knowledge in a way that allowed even the teenager mind to understand that its possible to record music themselves.

Before I get too far off track.  What do you need to do to start your own production?  Well you have to have access to recording equipment (a laptop and a microphone and mixer/interface)   You need someone to make noise to record (hopefully that is you).  Now the rest of it is where it can become a rabbit hole.

Don't worry about how good your mics are or your space or your recording medium.  What's important is your desire to continue to learn.  Educate yourself on four very important aspects.

1. Songwriting and Song Structure
2. Recording, Mixing, Mastering & Duplication Processes
3. Copyright, Publishing, Distribution & Marketing Techniques.
4. Business Administration, Company Ownership Structure, Taxes, Inventory Control, Income Management, Expense Management

Now you may say Jp a lot more than four things.  well it is... but In all reality those three areas are what's necessary to know if you are going to SELF-PRODUCE a record.

I am not in this short blog post going to teach all of these areas. But I am going to try to pick each one of these areas over the next few months and delve deeper into them.  I will try to give you some resources that were helpful to me over the past three decades of studying the music business.

You see one of the issues that many musicians have is that if they are not a big star then they are not successful.  However that is wrong way to look are you current situation.  And comparing yourself to (insert favorite artist) and thinking you are not ready to learn about these things is incorrect.

NOW at whatever level in music business you are at is the time to began learning your craft.  Steve Vai whom is my hero on a business level more so than on a guitar player level.  Made it clear that he took to heart the words of Frank Zappa on the music business.  I also listened to these words that cme through in interviews both in print and later on the internet.

You have to look at music as James Brown said.  It is NOT the music business,  its music AND business. Whether you are trying to sell 1,000 copies of a single or 1,000,000 copies of an album.  The process is the same.  I hope to shed some light on any of you who might be interested in truly working on your career, something I have been doing everyday for 2-1/2 decades.
Until next week...

Wednesday, April 4, 2018



CLIENT:  John-Paul Jones Group
TIME: 6:30PM to 8:10PM

Guitar/Vocals  Jp Jones

Drums - Steven Jones
Bass - Sally Ward

The John-Paul Jones Group was in the studio today recording an old Sonny Boy Williamson classic tune.  We will keep the actual song under wraps.

The band recorded with a minimal setup. The goal is to mimic a direct to recording disc recording.  Sonny Boy Williamson had a unique style of singing.  Jp worked hard at melding his style with this style of blues.

But one of the biggest changes, was Jp traded (for this session) his Ibanez Universe 7 String for an Ibanez 6 String Tallman Guitar. Who knew the 7-String Heavy Bluesman could have a softer side.

Jp stated, " I was trying to put a LIMITATION" on myself. First couple takes I played finger style, but the band couldn't bite into it.  So he switched to a dunlop pick.  This brought out attack, and also gave the guitar some string buzz to make it sound a bit more authentic.    I am not trying to recreate the sound, but rather I am trying to get inspired by the era authenticity."

This song will go on the upcoming summer Release  "A Tribute to Willie Dixon".    The band will be back next week to start working on its next EP.  So far Jp and the group have recorded  3 EP's of material the first EP is completed and is to be released on May 1st, 2018.  It is called EP Volume No. 2 - Tribute to Rory Gallagher.   The subsequent EP's will be Released June 1st, July 1st, August 1st, September 1st, and October 1st, 2018.  

Stay Tuned,  CopperTop Studio is working on some new techniques for utilizing new technology to create a LOFI sound.  

Have a great one and go to  to purchase the next release.  


I am a child of 60's meaning I was born in the 60's.  I feel like I was born during the time of music prolifercation.  When I was young Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits turned on our record player for hours on end.

As I grew older I became influenced by the great guitarists who came on the scene 1965-1969.  Of those great guitarist Rory Gallagher was one who just blew my mind.

So when I decided to record an EP I decided it would affectionately and simply be called.

John-Paul Jones Group
EP Volume No.2
A Tribute To Rory Gallagher

I picked three Rory Gallagher songs to record on this album.  I picked three songs that mean something to me.

Cradle Rock
Shadow Play

I recorded Cradle Rock because of the power in the riff and the vocal.  And in my interpretation the lyrics are about others accepting you for who you are and letting you be who you are. 

I recorded Laundromat because when I was young I spent a lot of time in laundromats.  I was poor and had to make do at different times.  I had friends we would meet up at the laundromat, it hails to a simpler time in my life.

Shadow play made it to the EP because it was one of Rory's songs that was part fantasy part progressive blues.  I just love the song.

I am by no means a Rory Gallagher clone... Rory was one of a kind. 

The musicians on the EP are long time John-Paul Jones Group bassist Sally Henry and Housecoat drummer Don Brown

Sally's bass playing is awesome and pays great tribute to original bass lines on the original tunes. 

I want everyone to like our recorded versions.  But we also want to make sure that you make this a stepping stone to learning more about the great artist Rory Gallagher.