Band of the Day: Sonny Jim

With household classic rock influences, featuring in the magazine of the same name and a desire to play with two of the best modern classic rock bands, this is as classic rock as it gets.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Sonny Jim hail from from Bridgend, South Wales.

How did you meet?

Tinder (only joking). Robbie Brewster (drums) and Lloyd Jenkins (guitars) first met in primary school at the age of six and are best friends. Jay Donagh (vocals) is three years older and used to play drums and sing in local band Harmonic Motion with Robbie’s brother on guitar.

How long have you been playing as a band?

We formed as a four-piece in 1991 under the name Bold As Love. We grafted and spent six years playing, writing and recording.

In 1996 we appeared on a TV show promoting Welsh bands called The Electric Chair. We won the said show, recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire (where Queen recorded “Bohemian Rhapsody”) and went on to change our name to Revolva. We had the pleasure of supporting the Manic Street Preachers, the Stereophonics, Dodgy and Cast. Sadly, we parted company with Jay in 1997 but continued with a replacement singer until 2000 when we eventually called it a day.

We reformed in 2010 as Bold As Love together with our original bass player and back with Jay on vocals. We recorded an album Fast Forward Rewind which we independently released in 2012. Soon after we became a three-piece and continued under the new name Sonny Jim. We quickly caught the attention of David Begg at Holier Than Thou Records. We’ve been writing and releasing new music ever since. The rest as they say is history.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

Sonny Jim originates from a line in the 1978 sports comedy film produced by BBC Wales called Grandslam. Oscar-winning actor Hugh Griffith (Mr. Lloyd-Evans) said to Sion Probert (Maldwyn Pugh), “What’s up with you, Sonny Jim?” It’s a classic line from a classic Welsh film, now a period-piece, that’s remained with us over the years.

What are your influences?

AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, The Kinks… Pearl Jam, Rival Sons to name but a few.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Big riffs, big melodies, big vocals. Many of our reviews document a band who are difficult to pigeon hole. Every time a reviewer is close to nailing us, we through in a curve ball. The common theme, however, is melody with lyrics that mean and say something.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Songwriter and guitarist Lloyd Jenkins writes about everything that’s going on around him and others. Lloyd is articulate with astute observational skills. The lyrics can be quite personal covering a whole range of topics from heartache, dismay and frustration to loss and miscarriage. Other songs are more optimistic representing ambition and a will to succeed. There’s a few that deal with the politics of the day, including Brexit even. Others are complete fiction ranging from a bloody battle with Mother Nature to Guardian Angels. There’s even a track about a high class escort who kissed and told and met a fatal end.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

We’re more of a studio band these days. That said, we return to the road in July supporting Black Angus, an AC/DC tribute act. Our live shows are, however, rocking and very energetic.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Have you watched The Dirt yet? Well, that’s tame compared to the antics of Sonny Jim (only joking).

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Sonor drums

Gibson & Fender guitars

Marshall, Cornford, Mesa Boogie, Peavey 51-50 and Orange amps

Sure SM7B mics

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

We released our haunting mini-album Dead Man Walking late 2017. We’re currently recording our next album Galvanised.

On 21/03/19 our new single “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone” was released to a positive reception from the rock press, including Classic Rock magazine who tipped the said track as a contender for ‘Track of the Week’

What are your plans for 2019?

We’re back in the studio in June finishing our next album release Galvanised. We then go out on the road supporting Black Angus in July.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

We’d love female rockers JOANovARC to open for us with Rival Sons headlining.

Sonny Jim: facebook | twitter | youtube

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February 12, 2021 3:31 PM

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