BOB JONES - The Untold Stories
Interview in Blitz Magazine
Vol. 15 No.1
This interview follows on from the previous article featured in the last issue of Blitz magazine.
It focused on Bob Jones'' autobiography ''Let the Good Times Roll'' the first part of the triology reflects on Bob''s 20 years in his securty industry and the big name martial arts that he and his corporation was responsible for, both in Australia and overseas.
It chronicles his rise as a misguided and troubled youth to the lofty heights of security specialist to the stars.
The following is a candid interview with Bob that reminisces on a different part of his life. One that most of us were probably unaware of.
Blitz: Bob, you have met many talented people over your lifetime throughout the security industry is the lifestyle of a celebrity or rock star, from your point of view, as glamorous as we all perceive it to be?
BJ: Working in security as long as I have you meet a lot of interesting people and characters. It''s been quite an eye opener actually. The lifestyle can be great... money, variety, fame and people bending over backwards for them. But, it can take its toll. I''ve seen so many of these guys succumb to the quick fix of drugs or alcohol because the pressure can sometimes be too much to bare. You have to keep a level head if you''re going to head into the entertainment industry. It can be very destructive.
Blitz: Was it hard to distance yourself from the drugs, alcohol and sex that many of these bands got involved with? Did you find that you got caught up in their world? Was it hard to say `no''?
BJ: When you''re so close to these bands like I was, you almost become part of the family, pact of the band. But being a professional, you have to distance yourself sometimes. Security can be a 24 hour job and you have a reputation at stake, so you don''t want to muck that up. It takes time to build that confidence and respect amongst the entertainment community.
Blitz: How did it feel to be the man in `charge'' of looking after the superstars? Did you feel like a `God'', or was it just a job?
BJ: Oh, without a doubt, you get this power surge and you think you''re the greatest (laughs). It was, and still is a huge privilege and responsibility to look after some of the biggest names in rock''n''roll an honour. Initially, you''re on a high, but it settles down, and it''s business as per usual. But we made it fun to work, we kind of let the good times roll.
Blitz: Do you think you could have been as successful as you were without the aid of your students helping you out?
BJ: Well, that''s right. I had my own brown and black belts working for the BJC and they were fantastic. I couldn''t have had a better bunch of guys helping me out. I could rely on them when it came to the crunch and you need people like that.
I could not have done such a good job at massive festivals like Sunbury, Mulwala and Walacia, if it had not been for the mass numbers of our Zen Do Kai students who had been trained to work in security. And of course the elite of the elite, like Richard Norton, Dave Berry, Nicky Pappas, Paul Flemming and Turn Joe. These were the elite of my Blackbelts that went on tour as bodyguards with the Rolling Stones and every major act from then on.
Blitz: Any memorable moments when it did come to the `crunch''? How graphic is the violence in your book?
BJ: There was a moment at a concert in Auckland where I confronted, alone, a group of bikies known as Highway 61. They were causing a disturbance and I knew that if I didn''t sort it out, there was going to be chaos.
Let''s just say that my methods of persuasion were quite effective on that day. I would have to admit there is a fair amount of violence in the book. In fact I would advise that no one under 15 years of age reads it because of how graphic the descriptions and language is in some parts. All the violence, sex and drugs and rock and roll. Among others, there is a description of me having a fight with an islander in Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands. Richard Norton and myself were backstage at a concert (in Maui) and I threw one punch, a short right hand punch, but it is described in the book over eight pages. The lead up to it, the strike and the effect. Needless to say the book is full of memorable moments while being very explicit and up front.
Bob, side stage left for the Rolling Stones
Blitz: Out of the people that you have looked after, who would you say has been the best individual?
BJ: Joe Cocker is the best guy I ever worked with and is the reason the book was written, because he got busted in Adelaide in October 1972. By February 1973 the Rolling Stones wouldn''t come here without the best security because of the bust with Joe. Of course BJC promised the best security and that is the only reason why they came to Australia.
So Joe Cocker is responsible for me getting the job touring in the first place. He is mentioned several times through the book and the last chapter is about him. The finish of the book, which I can''t spoil, is Joe Cocker and I doing something together that shows what good friends we were. But you will need to read the book, and not read the last part first.
Blitz: The best Band?
BJ: The best band I ever worked with was Fleetwood Mac. It was the longest story in the book because there was the most to tell. There are some amazing insights into the sex and drugs behind the scenes of rock and roll with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie, the five members of Fleetwood Mac. Most of that story is set in Japan, and begins at the martial arts capitol of the world, the Budokan.
Blitz: Who would be the worst and why?
Agentha of ABBA and Bob Jones
BJ: It won''t take you long to find out, it''s around chapter four, and it is all about a guy called Paul Rodgers. He was the baddest guy I ever had to work with. His band was called Bad Company. He was a bit of a knock about guy from England, from the same bad area as Joe Cocker and Keith Richards and many of Rocks `Bad Boys''.
He had heard from the promoter that `Bob Jones'' was some sort of martial arts expert, so he had a keen desire to see me fight. So everywhere we went Paul Rodgers tried to get me into fights, and halfway through the chapter he and I get into an explosive situation. It''s a real fight scene which you will have to read about as you journey through the book!
Blitz: Do you think your book offers a realistic view of the drugs and violence of the times?
BJ: I think that young people are going to enjoy the book. I had one girl, Donna, read the book who unknowingly is responsible for some of the recent marketing decisions. At 20 years of age she thoroughly enjoyed Let the Good Times Roll. I asked her why she enjoyed the book so much and she said to me, "you took me back to the Rolling Stones tour, backstage with the limousines and all."
She said, "it really felt like I was there with you with the Rolling Stones tour and also at the Sunbury rock festival:" She said that was really why she enjoyed the book, because these days people go to rave parties at the Docklands, and all the crazy kids are doing two and three ecstacy pills, and all sort of other drugs and crazy things, but she said it was interesting to find out about all the drugs that were around when her parents were teenagers.
Instead of going to rave parties, they would go to a farm with 50,000 people for three or four days, like Sunbury and smoke marijuana and drop acid tabs.
Because of her feedback Perdiem Publishing is marketing the book so that " 20 year olds can find out what their parents got up to." There is a saying, "if you can remember the seventies you weren''t really there." I guess I should be warning people over 40 years of age that they should be very careful reading the book. I can remember the seventies because I stayed straight. The warning is there because the book may cause some people to remember things they have done, things they have tried to forget.
Blitz: Looking back at some old photos and press clippings your outward appearance was pretty menacing and visual. Was that a deliberate decision on your behalf?
BJ: (Gives a scary stare then breaks into laughter) Well, I guess I needed to look a little intimidating. Yeah, when you look back at those early press clippings I do look kind of impressive.
No, it was just me, it was the ''70s what do you expect
Blitz: Bob, could you give us your brief thoughts on some of the following people you''ve met over your time.
Back then he was my right hand man. The best. He was there from the start and he''ll be there till the end.
Again, another Australian icon, and true friend. Made it worthwhile. Great talent.
The Rolling Stones:
Those guys are special. Mick, Keith, Charlie (when I did see him) were all entertaining and charming. They have their own personalities and that''s what makes them great.
It sure was a long time ago, but those guys are so down to earth and were great fun to be with. It was sad to see Bon go. He was a true entertainer.
I think Bowie tried to sh#!?stir me on a few occasions. I wasn''t sure where this guy was coming from.
Bob Jones and Joe Cocker
I had to seriously keep an eye on this bloke. Boy, did he like to drink.
Fantastic, can''t say enough kind words about that band.
Stevie Nicks was gorgeous. Such a dreamer and a fantastic voice. Mick (drummer) is a fantastic individual, and one textreme practical joker.
Blitz: You have said that `the miracle in your life was being introduced to the philosophical principals of the martial arts''. How was it a miracle, and does the book contain insights of those philosophies?
BJ: The miracle was the martial arts, because there was nothing else that could get me out. I''d been through 20 years of extreme violence. My whole life was violence and it was getting worse and worse. People were getting killed, dying from drugs or going to prison.
I even got married because I thought it would get me out, but the marriage didn''t work. After I split up I found Jack Rozinszky and he introduced me to my crossroads. That was the night in 1965 that I said `this is the new life for me''. He knew I was coming with a bunch of my bouncers so he clamped five bricks with five big steel clamps to a long bench seat. Between the two classes, beginner and semi advanced he smashed these five bricks with every part of his body. His elbows, his knees, the heel of his foot and his palm heel. And we went `God Damn!'' If we could fight like that we would be unbeatable! So we joined up that night. Jack introduced us to honour and valour and everything else that goes with martial arts. As I became a better fighter I used violence less and less. It got me back to normal and now it has taken me beyond normal in that after thirty years of training I feel very good in my life. That is the miracle of martial arts, and Let the Good Times Roll also explains part of that journey.
This is a company I established in the very early stages of my martial arts career. The concept was devised for all of my many instructors running Bob Jones martial arts clubs.
They could purchase stock from Clubshop International for a percentage discount. This enabled these instructors to subsidize the running of these clubs, and in some cases they could develop an extra income. Add this to the security work they did for the BJC, many of them could go full time.
We have always manufactured our own club uniforms. When we import safety equipment, training gear or anything to do with the martial arts, we always demand quality control to assure our students ''only the best''.
Our Head Office -Showroom/warehouse is at Suite 6-26 Miller Street, Victoria, Australia, 3076. It is open weekdays from 9.30am to 5pm. The manager is Michael Kenna and he can be contacted during these working hours on +613 8401 4861.
Our Head Office is also our major distribution point, and stock is sent out daily, fulfilling stock orders to clubs in towns, suburbs and major cities nationwide. Instructor pick-up points in all states of Australia and both islands of New Zealand have this stock delivered to our students in the quickest way possible.
Thus the name ''Clubshop International'', we deliver from our shop to our clubs allowing all of our students to have that direct service delivered to them while they are in training.