By Jacob Hoytema –
In his line of work, Kitchissippi artist David W. Jones has met more than a few well-known musicians. Being one of Ottawa’s foremost visual artists, David has done portraits and album covers for several jazz masters and has even collaborated with the NAC Orchestra on a couple of performance paintings. But it wasn’t until Bluesfest this summer that David had the rock-star encounter he’d been waiting for since childhood when he got to meet two members of the Monkees. The Monkees were, of course, once fronted by another famous David “Davy” Jones, and Ottawa David had been hoping for years to make a connection.
David W. Jones (the painter) was only in elementary school in 1966 when The Monkees released their debut record and starred in their own TV show, becoming a pop music sensation. His classmates were quick to make the name connection between him and the group’s lead singer.
“At school, I was teased, and I pretended that I didn’t like it, but I really loved it,” says David. “I would get phone calls from girls who would say, ‘is Davy Jones in?’ and hang up.”
Indeed, David says that even though everyone nowadays calls him David, he has childhood friends who still call him Davy. One of these friends is Evelyn Jakubinek, who kept in touch with David since their school years. So when David obtained passes to meet the Monkees through a friend who had connections to Bluesfest organizers, he knew there would be no one better to accompany him than Evelyn.
Once at the concert, David and Evelyn were ushered backstage with some other fans to meet Monkees’ Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz before the show began. The third surviving Monkee, Michael Nesmith, didn’t join the others on this tour. David Jones’ musical counterpart, Davy, the former lead singer, had sadly passed away in 2012.
Once his chance to meet the Monkees arrived, David got right to the point.
“I shook hands with both of them and I said ‘how do you do… my name is David Jones.’ So they stopped and kind of raised an eyebrow,” David recalls.
“So I handed Micky Dolenz my business card, and he says ‘he’s David Jones!’ So, it was like maybe 15 or 20 seconds of conversation and they couldn’t have been more gracious and humble and congenial. They were really nice guys.”
Incredibly, David very nearly met another famous David Jones many years ago. This David Jones, better known by the stage name David Bowie, was staying in a downtown Ottawa hotel where David W. Jones the artist worked as a bellhop while still a university student. Although the late pop star’s bodyguard wouldn’t allow the young David W. Jones to carry luggage directly into the suite, he did gruffly tell him upon noticing David’s name tag that “that’s David Bowie’s real name.”
Aside from almost meeting rock stars who share his name, David Jones also helps organize the West End Studio Tour, which showcases the work of artists in the Westboro, Hintonburg and Wellington West area. It will be taking place the third and fourth weekends of September.