Preacherman’s real name is Tim Jones but he’s also been known as Midi Man, Ironing Board Band, and perhaps most notably, T.J. Hustler.
In 1979 as T.J. Hustler, Jones self-released one extremely rare LP, Age Of Individualism. In the years since, he’s released two even rarer CD’s as Preacherman, of which the tracks on this reissue, Universal Philosophy: Preacherman plays T.J. Hustler’s Greatest Hits are taken.
Jones was raised in Fresno, CA and started playing blues on the organ in the eleventh grade. He joined his first bands in 1963 before moving north to the Bay Area. In the early 1970s, Jones began performing around town with a groups Dawn and Sunset and Mystic Moods, recording with both. He handled organ duties within the groups, and modified his organ to also sound like a bass.
In the 1980’s Jones was a technician for IBM in both Las Vegas and San Jose where he repaired Selectric Typewriters and then word processors during the day. At night, he world perform in the Las Vegas lounges. Consistently fascinated by technology, and, somewhat of an engineer, Jones adapted a Hammond B3 organ to play a Moog synth with some of the organ’s keys (some still played the organ) and also adapted the organ’s foot controlled bass levers to play two Moog synth bass pedals (a failed item Moog made for a few years). Thinking he wasn’t much of a live performer, he had a wooden puppet made that he named T.J. Hustler, and together with the puppet would engage in long philosophical soliloquies.
He lived with his 103 year-old mother in Oakland until she died. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly died at the age of 73 while vacationing in the Philipines. He had a lot to say about everything; in fact, he even created a little book called Universal Philosophy, for which this reissue is named. In Oakland, he played shows on his Casio CTK-7200 keyboard where he performed live karaoke equipped with five wireless mics, a P.A., and a list of about a 100 songs he could play. “The kids these days want to hear the sounds the Casio makes,” said Jones. He also maintained a residency in town at The Layover where he performed on Wednesday evenings.
Perhaps even more so than his first album, Universal Philosophy grants listeners access, virtually for the very first time, to Jones’ outlook, to his purpose, to the way he lived and experienced life on this planet. The music presented here is otherworldly, homespun, new age funk; both concise and stream-of-conscious at once.
By the time he was recording the music which would find its way to this collection, Jones admitted he’d progressed as an engineer, as a musician, as an artist. “I was looking for how to improve upon what I already had. But it didn’t really get good until about the 90s,” said Jones. “I kept pushing on, pushing on. Always kept the music going but the whole idea behind what I was doing was what I was dreaming to do, just training my hands and feet to work together. Trying to get them to work together. When they work together, you can do a whole lot of things, that changes your brain too. It changes your whole brain, your state of mind changes.”