By Pastor Z, Photos by Pastor Z, Pete Alva, Rick Jones and online sources
I had the pleasure of meeting Mickey Jones back in the 90’s at the Love Ride. He was always so friendly to me as I am a Christian Pastor, and Mickey was a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. We always spent quite a bit of time chatting about our faith, the bikes, and the charities that we both supported. I didn’t know the magnitude of the amazing and blessed life that he had lived until I started writing this article. The research validated the facts of why he truly lived up to the title of “An American Legend.”
Mickey loved life and his family. He was an incredible Husband, Father to five, and Grandpa to six. He loved his friends, and was a friend to all. So it was especially sad to learn that on February 7th this kind man lost his battle with severe illness and took his last breath.
I had a chance to interview Mickey’s son, Rick Jones. He shared some great stories, and early childhood memories. In 1963 Mickey took Rick to see the movie “Easy Rider.” Once Rick watched it with his Dad, he was hooked. Mickey of course bought Rick a really cool Stingray bicycle. When Rick was in the third grade, Mickey would roll up to pick up Rick at his school on his old ‘47 Harley Knucklehead, with a leather jacket, long hair, and beard. Most of the other Dads had short hair, button down shirts and pocket protectors. All the other kids thought that Mickey was the coolest Dad they’d ever seen, as he and Rick rumbled away from the school. He made an obvious impact everywhere that he went.
Mickey was also a famous drummer. He played with Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and later with Bob Dylan. While playing with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition the band headlined at Disneyland, and Magic Mountain. Rick remembers getting backstage passes, and getting on the rides first – through the express lane, because his Dad was the rock and roll drummer in the band. Rick once took his Dad for “Show and Tell” at school because his Dad was really unique, and played with other famous musicians. Most kids brought their cats, dogs, or other pets. Rick brought his “Cool Dad”! And the lady teachers were very impressed to have a rock star in their classroom.
Through the years Mickey met & befriended many famous musicians & actors, and biker celebrities including: The Beatles,Eddie Van Halen, Jay Leno, Branscombe Richmond, Lorenzo Lamas, Robert Patrick, Oliver Shokouh, Randy Morton (Rock N’ Roll Customs), Dan Haggerty, and hundreds of others.
Everyone who ever met Mickey loved him. He was a very special guy. Whenever anyone spent time with him, he always made them feel like they were the only person in the world that mattered at the moment. He had an uncanny ability to listen to your stories, and really be totally interested in whatever you were talking about… That’s a gift that few possess.
After many years of Touring on the Road, it took its toll on the family. Mickey decided to check into acting, and he was a natural. He started acting after the break-up of The First Edition in 1976. Jones concentrated on his career as a character actor, where he made many appearances on film and television. And the calls started rolling in. Mickey and Rick were also featured in Quick Throttle magazine in the early days, as “A Famous Father and Son Who Ride Together.”
I had seen him in so many different TV shows and movies. His energy and his ability to change characters with each show that he was cast in – always amazed me.
Mickey was also an avid motorcyclist. He owned dozens of different bikes over the years. He was easily recognized as a popular “guest celebrity” and lent his support to many charitable motorcycle events, including the CHOC Ride in the 2000’s as well as the Ladies at Laughlin River Run and many others. He also got onstage and performed with his friend and fellow actor Branscombe Richmond’s band The Renegade Posse on many occasions.
When I pulled up Mickey’s Wikipedia and IMDb pages – I was of course blown away… He was an incredible musician and an amazing drummer who also hit the big screen and multiple television shows. This is a short clip of what Wikipedia and IMDb had to say about him:
“Mickey Jones (June 10, 1941 – February 7, 2018) was an American musician and actor. His career as a drummer had him backing up acts such as Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers, and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, as well as Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour.. Jones had 17 gold records from his musical career of over two decades.
After the break-up of The First Edition in 1976, Jones concentrated on his career as a character actor, where he made many appearances on film and television.”
Mickey was in 38 films including “Starman” (1984), “Sling Blade” (1996) & “Bob Dylan – World Tour 1966: The Home Movies” (2004). He also appeared in 25 television series or shows, most memorably a regular cast member on “Home Improvement” (1991–1999) – as Pete Bilker, and also appeared in what is arguably the most popular breath mint commercial ever.
Having lived the dream – as an accomplished musician, a legendary actor, a real biker, and a truly fine human being through the decades has earned him the title of: “An American Legend.”
Every time you hear some thunder, think of Mickey; we have no doubt Mickey is playing drums and riding his motorcycle along some heavenly road in the sky, at peace.
–Also, read Mickey’s autobiography, “That Would Be Me” for his own personal account of his amazing life.