By: Dawn Williams
The headlines are screaming with quotes from the Christian Coalition about Johnny Depp burning in hell because of an obscure song on the new album, The Pleasures of Self Destruction, by Stephen “Babybird” Jones. Jesus Stag Night Club is a story of sorts that can be interpreted many different ways…but to try and interpret or decipher any of the songs that Stephen Jones writes is impossible. He is an artist, a poet and like all artists and poets, he is complicated. As Joey Malone, guitarist for Babybird, and musician on this controversial track says, “Stephen is light and dark, this song is just another of his creations. He is an artist with a sense of humor, he is really good.” Joey goes on to tell me that the most humorous thing of all is that those protesting the song are trying to put a “Christmas” spin on it. “None of this is a result of strategic planning. The album was released in the UK in October….Christmas has nothing to do with this album!”. John Thomas Didymous of Digital Journal Magazine Online writes, “The Pirates of The Caribbean star Johnny Depp was hoping to rival The X Factor with his new song “Jesus Stag Night Club,” but it seems that his bid for a Christmas chart success has got him into trouble with Christians.” E!Online and MSNBC reporter Gina Serpe’s headline reads, Ho-Ho-Oh-No! Johnny Depp’s Jesus-Joking Christmas Tune Blasted as “Blasphemous!” Christmas chart success? Christmas Tune ? These people call themselves journalists? They need to get their facts straight before they join the parade of idiots. They are all getting on the band wagon now and actually fabricating things to fuel the “Johnny Depp be DAMNED” fire. Ridiculous. Even Stephen “Babybird” Jones has released an official statement, “Some people have no sense of humor.”
Lucky for me , I knew who to call to get the truth, not the hype…and lucky for you readers I am willing to share. But before I spill the beans, you need to know the back story. It’s the early 80′s and my Dad, the infamous Jim Conrad, owns a little nightclub in South Florida known as THE TREEHOUSE. There is a band of great, young, talented, motivated musicians called THE KIDS, managed by the incomparable Sheila Witkin. Sheila’s son Bruce is the bass player, Joey Malone the guitarist, Bill “Beano” Hanti the drummer and Johnny Depp on guitar. These four young men came alive on the stage in that dark little club. They had a spark that even 30 years later refuses to go out and each and every one of them shine in their own right. Of course, you all know Johnny, but let me tell you first hand, these guys have all evolved into magnificent, accomplished, dedicated musicians and humanitarians.
My Dad, Jim, who was like a “rock and roll” Dad to them, would be so proud of what they have done with their lives. Thankfully, I have remained friends with the boys and knew I had to make a call and see just what this “hoopla” was all about, so here goes…
I asked Joey Malone, guitarist on Babybird’s album and Bruce Witkin, owner of Unison Records,( I told you Jim would be proud), to tell me their take on this sudden uproar regarding Johnny and Jesus Stag Night Club. Bruce starts by telling me that he is just stunned by the attention this is getting.” Extremists and the media are making a big deal out of nothing, Stephen Jones is an artist, a poet, he expresses himself in many different ways. The way they are ripping on Johnny for no reason is just sad.” Joey Malone points out that Johnny didn’t write the song, or sing the song, Johnny played guitar on that particular track on the album…that’s it! They are blowing it way out of proportion. This is Stephen Jones’s song, his art, his creation…Johnny was merely one of many musicians who played on the album. Joey tells me that he is “pleasantly surprised” by all of this nonsense and “puzzled” by the recent Christmas spin on the whole ordeal. Bruce Witkin sums it all up by saying, ” We didn’t start this publicity stunt, but we sure do appreciate it! Whoever decided to make such a big deal out of Jesus Stag Night Club did Babybird and Unison Music a big favor because it has brought us more attention than we could have ever dreamed of…thank you!” And as for Johnny, Bruce said he is sure our good friend finds it all quite amusing. So there you have it.
Click HERE to see Atlas Jams EXCLUSIVE video interview with Unison Record Producer Ryan Dorn and Guitarist Joey Malone.