Led by singer/producer Ali Dee, Mister Jones specializes in a blend of pop-rock and hip-hop (often incorporating dancehall reggae as well). Blending rock and rap was nothing new in the late '90s, but combining hip-hop with such a melodic power-pop outlook definitely set Mr. Jones apart from the abrasive, forceful music that rap-loving alternative rockers like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust and Rage Against the Machine were known for.
Born and raised in New York, Dee is the son of actor Paris Theodore (his father) and the late choreographer Lee Theodore (his mother). Ali became seriously interested in hip-hop as a teen-ager, and he was in his late teens when rap producer Hank Schocklee asked him to join the Bomb Squad (a hit production team that was best known for its work with Public Enemy). The 1990s found Dee working with such big names in rap as Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Young Black Teenagers.
Anxious to try something new, Dee founded Mister Jones in early 1998 and assumed the role of lead singer. Joining him in the band were lead guitarist Brendan Brown (later replaced by Vin Alfieri), bassist Rich Liegey, drummer Rob Pfeiffer, rhythm guitarist Todd Childress, disc jockey EZLee and dancehall reggae-type toaster Mr. Phang. Later that year, Mister Jones' debut album, Hail Mary, was released by A&M. ~ Alex Henderson