THE JIVE ACES
As anyone who has seen the Jive Aces perform live knows, their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. It is music that is hot jive with the beat and energy of rock ‘n’ roll and the fun and rhythm of big band swing. Since the release of their first CD “Jumpin’ with the Aces” in 1992 their popularity has spread throughout the world.
The Jive Aces are one of the hardest-working bands in show business today, performing over 300 shows a year in over 25 countries. Since first hitting America in 1996 when they were invited to perform at the Olympic Games celebrations in Atlanta, Georgia, they have been regular visitors to U.S. soil and have recorded three albums, their latest at the famous Mad Hatter Studios in Hollywood.
They have appeared on literally hundreds of TV and radio shows all over the world and have played at an impressive list of famous venues — from the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland to the House of Blues in LA; from the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland to the 100 Club in London’s West End. Wherever they go they are heard on radio and seen in interviews on TV, spreading their enthusiasm. Last year they participated in the BBC’s annual “Children In Need” charity campaign with the famous mascot Pudsey Bear.
The Jive Aces are: Ian Clarkson, lead vocals and trumpet, Ken Smith, double bass, Peter Howell, drums, Vince Hurley, piano, Alex Douglas, trombone, and John Fordham, saxes and clarinet.
Their recent single “White Hot Christmas” has been available all over the UK in record shops and they are soon to launch a new album presented by Right Recordings. All the band members have been Scientologists for many years and have done the Purification Rundown. They know full well the benefits of a drug free life and have seen the devastation of drug and alcohol abuse around them. Consequently they take every opportunity to promote the “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life” campaign to their fans and in their media interviews, as well as doing lectures in schools and prisons to help make known the truth about drugs.
This month “Celebrity” interviews lead vocalist and trumpet player extraordinaire, Ian Clarkson.
CELEBRITY: You were already a band before becoming Scientologists. How did you come to find out about Scientology?
IAN: Touring around Europe in the early 90’s I saw all the traps that the musician’s lifestyle presents — including free alcohol! I saw other bands fall apart from arguments, drugs, alcohol and losing sight of where they were going. I knew there had to be some solutions to change this and I had been searching for answers. I was getting fed up with that search when I met the girl who is now my wife and found that every time I talked to her I came away feeling better! She introduced me to Dianetics and Scientology and I then understood where she had gained these abilities. I read Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and found that all the questions I had were answered in this book. So, I never looked back. I got other band members to read that book too and one by one they became interested.
CELEBRITY: How did becoming Scientologists help you as a band?
IAN: It helped us focus on what we were trying to do. Obviously individually it helped us be more creative and more open as well as better able to communicate with each other. This is something you need, especially when you are driving around in a van all the time on tour! As relationships within the band improved this helped us be more creative. And on the administration side it helped us organize better so that we could get to do what we wanted.
CELEBRITY: You have seen a fair amount of drugs and alcohol in the music industry. How did you react to this?
IAN: Before I found Scientology I used to smoke “grass” a lot and would drink before going on stage, thinking it would help. I remember going on stage after too much wine and I couldn’t even remember the words to a simple twelve bar blues! I would take speed to keep me awake after the grass had made me sleepy. Also I had seen other guys go down the slippery slope. I had a friend who was a singer and a songwriter who had a band and was also a cartoonist for a newspaper. He went from smoking joints to sticking a needle in his arm, then to acid and to being a drug dealer. The last I heard he was being chased around the country as he had been stealing money. He lost his job, his girlfriend and lost the band. It was obvious to me that this was not the way forward.
As soon as I had finished reading the book Dianetics I practically stopped drinking and soon after this I did the Purification Rundown programme.
CELEBRITY: What did you experience on the Purification Rundown and how did it help?
IAN: One particular time when I had been drunk and smoking grass particularly heavily I had lain on the floor and wanted to die. I hadn’t thought about it again but whilst in the sauna on the Purification Rundown it all came back to me whilst the toxins were coming out of my system! I lay down in the corner of the sauna and had the same feelings again whilst I sweated these substances out. After that I felt more aware and once I had completed the programme I was more able to see what was going on around me and could communicate better with people. With the build up of alcohol, grass, speed and even medical drugs from doctors my perceptions had been dulled. After the programme I felt a lot more alert!
CELEBRITY: Are there any other tools that have helped you improve conditions?
IAN: There are dozens of valuable tools and the Scientology Handbook contains the essential ones that you can use to handle any situation.
One of its chapters concerns communication and covers the Training Routines (drills to help with communication). As we play over 300 gigs a year each gig needs to be in a new unit of time. These drills gave me that ability. Each time we play we try to do better — always finding ways to improve. Because of that we have people come up to us and ask “how do you guys manage to get better each time I see you play?”
Then there is the book “Art” where LRH covers essential stable data for any art form. For example, there is a chapter there on rhythm. As we do a lot of work with dancers I have been working with the band to get this chapter fully applied and it makes a big difference. With Scientology principles I have found there is always something that can be done to improve any situation. The tools are there to be applied.
CELEBRITY: What are the goals of the Jive Aces?
IAN: Like most artists we want to change the world for the better through our art. I think most artists start like this and get lost along the way. Through Scientology we are achieving our goals. From helping people feel happy at a concert, to getting out the message to stop people taking drugs, we use what we know to make a difference. In the book Science of Survival L Ron Hubbard said, “A culture is only as great as its dreams and its dreams are dreamed by artists”. It follows then that if the culture is not in a good state right now it is our responsibility! So we are doing something about it. A lot of great artists may be great as artists but their message might not create anything positive. We use our art to help in every way we can, and have a great time doing this.
CELEBRITY: You have been together for over a decade now. What’s it like working with guys all in agreement with these goals and purposes?
IAN: It is totally different and is one of the reasons we are still together and are going in the same direction — even when it comes down to writing songs and arranging them we get together as a team and come up with something creative instead of having arguments. That is very different to other bands I have seen.
CELEBRITY: What is your advice to other artists who want to go out and create a better environment?
IAN: They should first figure out what their message is. We chose “Say No to Drugs” but there are many areas an artist can help in. Whether it is literacy, drugs, social reform or directly helping promote Dianetics and Scientology technology, there will be a message that will make a difference. I have found that with that message decided on the rest is easy. For example, last week we did five radio shows and I was asked what inspired me to write the song Clear Body, Clear Mind and the answer was simple — it was inspired by the book Clear Body, Clear Mind where L. Ron Hubbard covers the full theory and practice of the purification programme — how to get rid of those toxins that are still in your body affecting you.
CELEBRITY: What is special about Celebrity Centre for you?
IAN: Whilst on tour we have visited many of the Celebrity Centres. Each one I have found to be a stable and sane place for artists where they are not going to be suppressed or harassed. They give artists a space where they can create and get help with their lives and increase their creativity. And there are very few places like that on this planet!
They are centres where a person can come and learn and of course where they can do the Purification Rundown programme!