Irwin Thomas

Irwin Thomas (born Irwin Thomas Whittridge on 6 January 1971) is an American-born Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He performs professionally using the stage name Jack Jones from when he was the lead vocalist-guitarist in the band Southern Sons (1990–1996). His other bands and collaborations include Electric Mary, She Said Yes and Ahmet Zappa. He released his debut solo album, "The Evolution Of Irwin Thomas", in 2002.

Irwin Thomas
Birth nameIrwin Thomas Whittridge
Also known asJack Jones
Born (1971-01-06) 6 January 1971 (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • instrmentalist
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1989–present
  • BMG/Gotham
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Irwin Thomas Whittridge was born in Manhattan, New York City. His father Private Irwin Thomas Whittridge Snr (born, c.1909 – June 1971), who went under the stage name of Jack Goode, was a Broadway performer. His mother, Renalda Whittridge (née Green), was an Australian-born folk singer and dancer; she returned to Australia in 1980, with her son.[1] He was later known as Jack Thomas Whittridge Jones.[2]

Music careerEdit

While at a secondary school in the city of Traralgon, in the mid-1980s, Thomas was a member of rock groups Get off the Cat and then Survival.[3][4]

In the late 1980s he was a member of Hans Valen, which covered material by United States heavy rocker, Van Halen; and then he was in Gnomes of Zurich.[3] As Jones, he auditioned as lead vocalist for a Melbourne-based rock, pop group, the State. The State had formed in 1987, with the line-up of Peter Bowman on lead guitar and backing vocals (ex-Cutters), Phil Buckle on guitar and lead vocals (Cutters), Geoff Cain on bass guitar and Virgil Donati on drums (Taste, Cutters).[5] He was considered too young for that group.[6]

In mid-1990 Thomas, as Jones (on lead guitar), worked alongside Buckle in John Farnham's backing band to record that artist's album, Chain Reaction (September 1990).[3][5][6] Jones, on lead vocals and lead guitar, was asked by Buckle to form the Southern Sons, with former the State members: Bowman, Cain and Donati.[3][5][6] In April 1991 Buckle explained to Charles Miranda of The Canberra Times that Jones was recruited because "[The State] were going nowhere fast. At this stage [in late 1989] Buckle realised that his songs had potential but his voice didn't".[7]

Southern Sons debut self-titled album was released on 1 June 1990, which peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[5][8] Their first single, "Heart in Danger", was released in August, it also reached No. 5 on the related ARIA Singles Chart.[5][8] Jones and Buckle toured Australia and Europe as members of Farnham's backing band to promote Chain Reaction.[5] Southern Sons were a support act on Farnham's tours in 1990 and 1991.[5] The group also undertook their own headlining national tours.[5] Buckle disputed media criticism that Southern Sons "sounded too similar to John Farnham's music"; he felt that although "Jack Jones, has a similar voice, they are very different. He believes the Sons guitar work makes for a harder sound."[7] Bowman left the group as a four-piece in mid-1992.[5][6]

As a member of Southern Sons, Thomas co-wrote some of their later material, including three tracks on their second album, Nothing But the Truth (November 1992),[9] and six of eleven tracks for their third album, Zone (1995).[5][10] The latter album was co-produced by the band with former member, Bowman.[3][6] By the end of 1995 the group disbanded.

During the 1990s Thomas worked as a session musician on albums by other artists including Lisa Edwards' Thru the Hoop (June 1993),[11] Debra Byrne's Sleeping Child (July 1994),[12] Phil and Tommy Emmanuel's Terra Firma (April 1995),[3][13] Bachelor Girl's Waiting for the Day (November 1998),[6] and Farnham's Live at the Regent Theatre 1st July 1999 (1999) as well as touring in Farnham's backing band for the I Can't Believe He's 50 Tour.[3][6]

In 1996 Thomas and Donati formed a trio, Hong Kong Meeting, with Steve Hunter on bass guitar.[3][14] Late in the next year Thomas and Donati joined Tina Arena's backing band for her national tour in support of her third solo studio album, In Deep (August 1997).[3][6] In the following year Thomas formed the Jack Jones Band with Garry Gary Beers on bass guitar (ex-INXS) and Alex Formosa on drums.[3] In March 1998 they performed at the Good Vibrations benefit concert by various artists for Marc Hunter, the ailing lead singer of New Zealand-Australian band, Dragon, who had been diagnosed with throat cancer.[15] Thomas covered the tracks "Are You Old Enough", "Voodoo Chile" and "Both of Me", he also performed a duet with Tommy Emmanuel on "Nothing to Lose".[3] A double-CD and a VHS of the concert, both titled Good Vibrations – A Concert for Marc Hunter, were released in mid-1998.[3] Hunter died in July 1998.[15]

Thomas reverted to his birth name in 2000, working with Ahmet Zappa in Los Angeles, and with Beers. He has released music as a solo artist, first for BMG and then as an independent artist, with The Evolution of Irwin Thomas appearing in 2002. Since 2004 he has also been involved with Melbourne band Electric Mary, and he is also in a band called She Said Yes, led by Tania Doko, the former lead singer of Bachelor Girl.[16]

Private lifeEdit

Jones was married to New Zealand-born Australian actress Rebecca Gibney from 1992 to 1995, which ended in divorce.[17] In December 1994 Gibney promoted her recent romantic comedy film, Lucky Break; she described her differences from her character, to The Canberra Times' David Bongiorno, "She's so unlike any other character I've played before. She's a woman you love to hate... And there's a part of me in there, because I know I wouldn't let my husband (Jack Jones of Southern Sons) go easily at all!"[18] She explained that the couple had no immediate plans to have children, "I want financial and career security before I become a mum. Only then will I take time off to have kids. And when I do, they'll be my absolute priority."[18]




  • Made In China (2007)



  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 8 February 2010.CS1 maint: unfit url (link) Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara; Paul McHenry (2002) [1987]. The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Ed Nimmervoll (notes). Noble Park, Vic: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.[21] Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
  1. ^ "Item details for: B44, V1980/48695, Title: Whittridge, Renalda". National Archives of Australia. 31 May 2000. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "'Come Back' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016. Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Come Back; or at "Performer:" Irwin Thomas
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Irwin Thomas/Jack Jones at the Australian Rock Database:
    • Jack Jones: Holmgren, Magnus. "Jack Jones". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
    • John Farnham Band (1990–91): Holmgren, Magnus; Reboulet, Scott; Albury, Lyn; Birtles, Beeb; Warnqvist, Stefan; Medlin, Peter. "John Farnham". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
    • Southern Sons (1990–95): Holmgren, Magnus. "Southern Sons". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
    • Good Vibrations – A Concert for Marc Hunter (1998):Holmgren, Magnus. "Good Vibrations – A Concert for Marc Hunter". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
    • Irwin Thomas (2001–present): Holmgren, Magnus. "Irwin Thomas". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 17 March 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  4. ^ Spencer et al, (2007), "Jack Jones" profile.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McFarlane (1999). Encyclopedia entry for 'Southern Sons'. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Nimmervoll, Ed. "Southern Sons". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 29 July 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b Miranda, Charles (4 April 1991). "Good Times: Sons Defend Their Sound". The Canberra Times. 65 (20, 445). p. 15. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Southern Sons Discography". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  9. ^ Gee, Mike (3 December 1992). "Sons emerge from eclipse". The Canberra Times. 67 (21, 053). p. 17. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "'Zone' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016. Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Zone; or at "Performer:" Southern Sons
  11. ^ Hannan, Bevan (17 June 1993). "Good Times: Disc Review – The funky feel grabs you by the ears". The Canberra Times. 67 (21, 247). p. 28. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ Daly, Mike (9 July 1994). "Arts and Entertainment: Striking out with an individual voice". The Canberra Times. 69 (21, 633). p. 47. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ Pertout, Andrián (26 April 1995). "Interview: Andrián Pertout speaks with Tommy about the Emmanuel brothers' recording debut with the album Terra Firma". Mixdown Monthly (13). Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via Andrián Pertout Official Website.
  14. ^ Christo. "Jazz Biographies: Jazz Musician Database C-L". MontXsuZ. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  15. ^ a b Kimball, Duncan. "Obituaries – Marc Hunter". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Victoria University A Music Degree That Rocks". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  17. ^ Clarke, Jenna (4 February 2015). "Rebecca Gibney shares the story about how the Today Show's Richard Wilkins broke her heart, again". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  18. ^ a b Bongiorno, David (26 December 1994). "The Guide: Born Natural". The Canberra Times. 70 (21, 802). p. 29. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "California Dreaming by RICK PRICE & JACK JONES". JBHiFi. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Welcome To The Drought Breakers- Australia's Newest Band Raising Money For The Farmers". Triple M. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Who's who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry". catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 8 February 2010.

External linksEdit