Jones, 40, has been a fixture of the D.C. roots rock scene for nearly two decades, performing with bands including the Jones and the Creaky Bones. But with those groups unable to jam amid coronavirus concerns, Jones pivoted to solo songs. Under the Mike Jones Band moniker, he has released four singles — penned and performed largely on his own — titled “Don’t Give Up on Me,” “Strongest One I Know,” “Wild Heart (Calamity Jane)” and “Snake Oil.” His fifth single, “Magnolia Tree,” will be released May 13.
“The music fit in after work and in between work, and it just felt really natural,” Jones says. “My job already adds a really great perspective on the priorities and value of life and so on and so forth. But this kind of escalated that in terms of, as grim as it sounds, how people died. I saw the same thing repeat itself over and over and over. When you see stuff like that, if you’re not a sociopath, that affects you. So I think that has just made me much more intentional across the board, especially in music.”
On his perfect day in the District, Jones gets back onstage for a couple of shows and indulges in some time-honored D.C. traditions.
The backdrop is going to be autumn because that’s my favorite time in the city. The first thing I would do is breakfast at the Diner. I’m getting two eggs and links, and after that, I’m walking around Adams Morgan. Next, I fast-forward to lunch, and I’m grabbing a sandwich at So’s Your Mom. Then I’d go for a walk along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, starting near Connecticut and Calvert, heading toward Georgetown, and doing some exercises on the little outdoor gym they have in Rock Creek Park.
After that, I would teleport to a baseball game at Nationals Park. Coming from New York, when I was a kid, it was pretty hard to get to Shea Stadium or Yankee Stadium, but Nationals Park is so accessible. Before, maybe my band would play at the Bullpen. When the game’s over, I’d go out to dinner with my friends to Lauriol Plaza. I realize that none of the things I’m saying right now are chic or new, but this is what I would do. I’ve never really been that person to hit up that fancy new bar. So we’d get a bunch of margaritas, for that combination of sugar rush and tequila, and then I’d order the fajitas.
If it’s October, I would head down to 17th Street and be in the crowd watching the High Heel Race. It brings together so many people from all over the city, from all walks of life, and it’s just such a fun, cool event. The whole street is like a big party. After that, I’d go to a show at the 9:30 Club, obviously. That’s got to happen. I love all of the other clubs, but the 9:30 Club is really special. The sound is always incredible, the bands I’ve seen there are always incredible, and it’s my favorite club in the world, period.
Then I’d like to play a small after-show party with my band at 7DrumCity. They have a little performing space, and it would be cool to get together with some friends from other bands and kind of jam out there. And my dream day is going to seep into the beginning of the next day. I’m going to be really tired — maybe a little tipsy — and pass out in a heaping mess, then wake up to the sounds of the Adams Morgan Day festival getting into swing.