Casual Questions with Roben Jones

Roben Jones is the author of Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studio.  The book chronicles the story of the American Studios rhythm section from 1964, when the group occasionally began working together, until 1972, when studio boss Chip Moman shut down the studio and moved the entire operation to Atlanta.

Roben Jones lives in Gallipolis, Ohio and has published poetry in various magazines and in Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry, 1950-1999.
  • What was your first job?

When I was learning my craft as a poet, my parents looked after me.My mother had always wanted to be a writer herself and she proposed a Vincent-and-Theo sort of arrangement .We had hardly any money at all, but she saw it as an investment in the future because she was sure I'd make good.
So my first real job came rather late in life. I did the morning show on radio station WMOV-AM, in Ravenswood, West Virginia. ''Thirteen-twenty on your radio dial,the Voice of the Mid-Ohio Valley.'' One of my old high-school teachers was working there as operations manager and he remembered me and got me hired. I had an oldies show, so I was able to play a lot of the music I'd later wind up writing about. I loved being on the air but the personnel at the station was unnervingly sleazy.They made the bunch on ''WKRP In Cinicinatti'' look like choirboys. It wasn't my sort of scene so I didn't last long...but I left there with enough material for a novel, if I ever want to write it.

  • How do you like to relax?

I actually don't think I ever do! I'm one of those people who are never bored a second of my life because I always keep busy. The most fun thing for me to do is read -- I love to read. And second to that, listening to music. I've been a record collector since I was fourteen and I still collect to this day. I listen to everything from Tchaikovsky to Taylor Swift. I read news on the computer and post comments on a political blog. I take long walks, prowl secondhand stores for vintage clothing and antiques, and I love to cook and decorate my house. 

  • What is the most satisfying thing about having a book published?

I had wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old, so having published my first book is quite a thing. Not only because it's a dream come true, but because I hope this book is a contribution, something important for history, something that justifies my existence on earth. Leaving my mark on the world, a way to say, ''I am here'', but not selfishly, saying thanks to the people whose work I've loved and admired.
The satisfying thing about finishing a book like this is that deep sense of accomplishment, the hope that all you have put into the book will show somehow and that it will be something that others will want to read. That's the pleasure of it for me. 

Memphis Boys is now available from UPM.