When a celebrity seems out of reach and you wind up working with them ...
Remember that 90s dance-rock band Jesus Jones? Name not ring a bell? How about that massive smash hit they had called “Right Here, Right Now.” I can see the lightbulbs turning on. I was a huge Jesus Jones fan—well, I am still am, but I meant when that album Doubt came out in 1991. As a young teenager, I wore out that cassette (and later the CD). They were one of MTV’s golden children, and they seemed to be superstars. I have remained a die-hard Jesus Jones fan since 1991, following their career and buying each new album on release date, even when they were no longer “cool".” (And for those who don’t know, yes, their 7th album just came out this past May, titled Passages. And it’s fantastic)
Back in 1998, the singer of Jesus Jones—Mike Edwards—wrote a book called Death Threats from an Eight-Year-Old, which chronicled pretty much everything from his childhood, through forming Jesus Jones, to their rise in stardom, to their sharp decline. The main part of the book acts like a diary as the band writes, records, and promotes/tours for their 4th album, Already. The book is hands-on account of how cutthroat the music business is and what a short memory pop culture seems to have. I received a copy of the book as a PDF in 2001 via email, and then there was no talk about it ever again.
Since then, Jesus Jones has released 3 more albums, but the book hasn’t ever found its way out of the proverbial sandbox. I contacted Mike at the beginning of this year and offered to edit the book for him and publish it. I honestly didn't know what kind of reaction I’d get. Here was a man who I’d spent years as a teenager listening to his music, a band who was all over MTV and seen as superstars. When Mike replied enthusiastically about breathing life back into his novel and allowing me to take the project’s helm, I was ecstatic—not just as an editor, but as a fan.
Well, I finished editing Death Threats from an Eight-Year-Old last week and now we start working on the artwork. And I have been in direct contact with Mike through the entire process. If you told 14-year-old Brian that one day he’d be spearheading a project, working side-by-side Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones, he would have told you to get lost—and then would have fainted.
But here we are. What a strange journey it’s been for me throughout my life—how my career as either a musician, author, or editor has brought me face-to-face with so many of my heroes and idols, and sometimes even in a working capacity.