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On the road to chaos and desperation, Dustin Jones found strength

Local musician, producer and record label owner says that he found a ‘higher power’ in his children and turned his life around for the better.

Dustin Jones is keenly aware that the fact that living a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that gets out of control is somewhat of a cliché. He also knows that the reason something becomes a cliché is because it is often true.

“I was in the Inner City Surfers for a long time. I was young, partying and having a great time. The band went separate ways and I did Dustin Jones and the Rising Tide for seven years. That was 12 years of touring where the party raged on.”

Along the way, Jones had a couple of children. For many artists, that is where change often begins. Although it eventually did for Jones, it didn’t happen right away.

“My partying continued. I had a mad, passionate love affair with booze since I was young. I still love it, but I began to have a negative relationship with the booze and I recognized it. I was over-lubricated for a long time. I just decided that I had to clean it up. So I did.”

Three years ago, Jones took a year off from touring to reevaluate his life. During that time, Jones created a regime for himself to help reassess his life and focus on what mattered most, his family and his songs.

“The partying was fun but I had lost control. As a touring musician, you are the entertainment and the party every night. You never have to grow up.  For me, changing meant it was time to strengthen myself and grow up.”

Part of that strengthening was to focus on the direction he wanted to take, mentally, physically and creatively.

“I gutted everything in my life, from the studio to my love of music. I gutted it back to my youth, to ground zero and just started working on myself from there. I tried to rebuild myself like an athlete would.”

He became an avid reader, consuming science and self-help books.

“I was toughening up my brain. I was on a treadmill every day beginning at 4 A.M. I was training like a fighter. The new record is called ‘While the World Sleeps’. That’s when my self-work was going on. People ask, ‘what are you training for?’ I was training for life.”

Waking up early was a key decision and gave Jones time for self-contemplation.

“A lot of successful people wake up early. It’s one of those common things for people who find success.”

For Jones, the early morning regime helped him feel like he is “winning” every day.

“I get up and have a coffee, listen to podcasts, do stretches and then get on the treadmill. It’s a good way to start your day and your first act of discipline. If anything breaks that discipline, you get weak.”

Jones says that feeling of having a success every morning helps to give him a positive energy for the remainder of the day. 

“By the time my kids get up around 6 A.M., I have already won that part of the day.”

The focus and rebuilding himself also impacted his businesses, Mission Control Studios and Tidal Records.

“Instead of worrying about what bands would get the label ahead from a business perspective, I focused on good people and bands I liked. I want to be around good people. So that’s my new normal.”

As of this past September, Jones has been alcohol free for three years and has renewed focus on his music.

“I have always written about what was going on in my head, from the parties to booze to breakups. For The Conspirators’ record, I focused on what was going on with me now.”

The album While the World Sleeps became a reflection of Jones’s journey from the chaos on the road to his new normal.

“Conceptually, I didn’t have any particular plan. I was just thinking this would be a punk record with good punk friends.

Jones sent the songs to friends he met along his journey, Darrin Pfeiffer (ex-Goldfinger/The Salads) on drums and Chuck Dailey (current I Mother Earth/The Salads) on bass.

“They are like brothers to me and I knew they were the guys who were going to be on this record right away.”

Pfeiffer recorded his drum parts in West Hollywood. Dailey came to the Sault to record at Mission Control Studios.

“I guess it was obvious to them that there was more going on with the songs. Chuck was the one who was like, ‘Oh shit man, there’s a whole story here.’”

Dailey suggested putting the songs in a specific order to tell Jones’ story.

“I never wanted to be anti-booze or anti-partying. I still party but I just don’t need substances to go party. I questioned why it made me so nervous to tell this story. I decided I was just going to tell truth and I shouldn’t be scared to tell it. I am not here to preach as a self-help guy, but if anyone wants to ask me what I did, I’m going to tell them. The record is about my journey. But this can also be about anybody or a struggle of any sort, not just mine.”

The album begins with songs about being on the road where, as Jones describes it, there was chaos and desperation. It then moves to self-reflection, and finally to a message of empowerment.

“You can feel the happiness in that album. When you’re out of control, you’re not grounded to anything. It’s not real. You have to strengthen up and have follow-through. Things have been so much better. My recordings sound better. There is this snowballing of goodness happening. This album takes you on a little trip. If you want to take it with me, you can take it.”

For Jones, all this change comes back to one thing.

“People talk about higher powers or ask if I found God. I have two beautiful kids and that’s all that it took for me. I was lucky. I wake up every morning and look at those kids. That alone was my higher power.”

The Conspirators’ While the World Sleeps was released on Christmas Day and is now available on the Tidal Records website and all the regular streaming platforms.