Nothing's Unusual - The Aquarian

166735_1.34Adrian Gregory Glover, The Aquarian We all know him as the dude who has had more panties thrown at him than any other 10 male stars combined on their best day. But Tom Jones is more than just a mack for show-bound MILFs across the globe. He's spent over 40 years in the spotlight as a consummate showman, vocalist and all-around entertainer that brings his A-game every time he steps in front of a microphone. Lately working with the likes of legendary keyboardist Jools Holland and Wyclef Jean, Jones has managed to keep himself relevant in a sea of kids who fade from glory in months. It was recently my honor and pleasure to drop a few questions his way. Simply put, dude, you are the man, and you got to know this. So looking back on it all, how did it all come to this point? The first thing that you have to get is a hit record, any singer will tell you that. That is the first and most important thing that you have to do and you will instantly see all of the big differences between how things were and how they are after you get that hit record. Then you have to be lucky enough to get another one. Some of us are not that lucky. I remember back in 1964, I recorded 'It's Not Unusual' and that came out in 1965. That was a hit for me and right after that I got really lucky and I received 'What's New Pussycat' from Burt Bacharach and then I ended up with 'Green Green Grass (Of Home).' So there has been some luck involved for certain. I got the right material at the right time and there are a lot of singers who don't get that. I'm versatile though. If you want the longevity you have to go for that. I can feel that. You are, hands down, one of the greatest showmen, singers and performers of all-time. How do you still get excited about doing the live thing? It's the people themselves digging what you do that gets you going. You don't ever want to stop. It's almost like a drug. It's the best part of my day. You know, sometimes I will be out in a club on a night off and the band will ask me to get onstage with them and I'll get up with them and you know (my handlers) will go, 'Are you crazy? Save yourself for your show you know. Don't go leaving your best performances here.' I can't stop myself from singing. You must think all of the breed of pop stars are crazy then. They work half your schedule and complain quite a bit about it. No I don't. I know how it is. When you first start out, it's different. It comes back to the first hit single again. Before you have that first hit single, you are not working as much, you are doing a gig here and a gig there. When you get that first hit under your belt, they want you to be in two places at once. You are not singing for pleasure anymore. You are singing on demand and that might not be so much fun when you are just becoming a professional. What does music contribute still to your life? It gives me something to do that I love to do and I can get paid for it. I thank God that I don't have to get up and do a job just to pay the bills like most people do. I thank God that he has fiven me this talent to do something that I really love. Music is always around me. I love new songs. They excite me, they really do. Doing them never gets old for me. I love hearing the music that other people have made so there is a combination of listening and creating. There is always a boom box around me or maybe a tv is on with music coming out of it from a video channel or a late night show with a performance. But it is always there for me. Tom Jones has always taken risks in what you put out in the marketplace. Has that been one of the hallmarks of your career? I like a lot of different kinds of songs. [But] I get resistance from record companies or even other singers sometimes about doing some things that I have tried. I remember when I first met Elvis (Presley) and he loved what I was doing and it was quite a thrill, you know, of course. I had done an album of standards at the time and I took it to him. He was always asking me what I was puffing out or what was new and he really enjoyed what he heard. But not with the standards album. Man, he pulled me aside and he said, 'Tom, we don't do that.' That was great for me because he pulled me into his world for a second. So he proceeds to go ahead and say, 'We leave things like that to Frank Sinatra.' Now I really like standards so it was too bad that he didn't enjoy it. But I will go into some areas that other singers will not go into. I will take that chance if I want to. Sometimes it has been wrong for my image and then it might have backfired because my shows are so tongue in cheek and maybe the songs were more serious but that is the way it goes. What attracts you to a song to where you want to cover it? There has to be a certain thing you look for? I have to really feel the song. I really don't write a lot of songs. Every now and again I will co-write a song but I really don't consider myself a master songwriter, so I have to feel a song as if I did write it. I have to be able to put my own stamp on it and make it sound genuine. I remember Frank Sinatra once told me how concerned he was for me because of how I sing. I get so into it, you know. And I told him, 'Hey that's the only way that I know how to sing!' I have to get out there and go for it, and a song has to let me do that. Some songs because of how they're built, they make it quite difficult for you to make them your own. I just did an album of songs with this boogie woogie player in the UK named Jools Holland. The songs are phenomenal. It's all songs that we love that go back to the roots of it all. There is a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis on it and as a matter of fact we went out of our way to pick some songs that were not so obvious. You can't really out-do 'Great Balls of Fire' anyway, so instead we picked a song called 'End of the Road'. It's a great tune. It was always an album track and when he [Lewis] came to see me in Las Vegas I played it for him. He looks at me and he goes, 'I wrote that, didn't I?' I said, 'Well, yeah.' and he goes ' Good, now I will get paid for it.' That's almost like a gift in itself Sure. He's one of the greatest and for him to give me his stamp of approval was amazing. That has been the best thing so far - meeting a lot of people that I grew up idolizing and respecting along the way. That has made it a lot of fun. Nothing is better than the people though and I guess that is the gift for me.