These days, filmmaker Tom Jones lives and works in Southern California. But his heart is in his native New Jersey. And his love for the place shows in the documentary Jones directed about the decline and rebirth of Asbury Park. The film, Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘n Roll, follows the shore city’s path from the devastating riot of 1970 to its current revival, using some of the area’s most well-known musicians to propel the narrative. You know who they are.
Now, Jones is developing a television series about his beloved Garden State. If he can secure enough sponsors, Jones will take “Jersey with Big Joe Henry” to the small screen. The host, a popular radio DJ on NJ101.5, drives around the state in a vintage Cadillac talking to the people who make it work and visiting the sites that make New Jersey unique. In the latest edition of NJBIZ Editor Jeff Kanige spoke with Jones about the project and about the state he adores.
“I do live in California — I’ve been living in Malibu, California since 1989. I moved out there to run a TV show and never left,” he said. “I grew up in New Jersey and love it. Always have. I came back to do a film here and spent a lot of time here for a couple years and realized how much I love it. And my family and I are actively — I think we’re going to move back. It’s just a great place — there’s so many great things about New Jersey. And I think people forget. I was telling someone yesterday about moving back from Malibu and she said I’ve never heard anyone leave Malibu to come to New Jersey. Sometimes when you’re too close to something you don’t realize how great it is.”