Imagine growing up in a world without pop music… and going on to play arenas with The Killers and Placebo and rocking the Reading Festival. That’s the world of Maddox Jones, a musician who went from a Christian commune to the very top, surfing the highs and hitting the lows of the music industry, from label signings and top-level meetings with Adele’s publishers to sleeping on friends’ sofas and getting out of it on drugs. But when you have the true soul of an artist, there’s just no giving up. Thank god!
The story of Maddox Jones begins in Northampton in a Christian commune, where everyone’s wages were pooled and everyone got the same, wore the same clothes, ate the same food; a place where TV and radio and music that wasn’t Christian was strictly forbidden.
‘But there was a lot of love,’ says Maddox, now based in Glasgow, partly for its amazing music scene. ‘The buildings were enormous, huge Victorian properties, including a country hotel, so running around there with the rest of the kids really wasn’t that bad. And we got to make things, like light installations. My dad ran the place and my mum was a teacher.’
They were only allowed to read anything that might have Christian resonance like The Chronicles of Narnia and as for music, Maddox would lock himself in his room with his guitar, which he’d taught himself to play, and write songs. Christian songs, which he would then record on a pair of tape recorders to be able to create harmonies – a very rudimentary mixing deck! – and would then send the cassettes into the church to see if they would use them in their services. They never did. ‘It was like sending stuff off to record labels… only it was the church.’