John Fordham of the Jive Aces Swings Successfully Through Life
John Fordham, a founding member of the Jive Aces, the UK's No. 1 jive and swing band, has been with the group since 1989 and is still going strong. The Jive Aces video is one of 200 “Meet a Scientologist” videos available on the Scientology website at www.scientology.org.
“What brought the Jive Aces together was the uplifting music and our passion for it,” says founding member John Fordham. “We did it because it was so much fun.”
For Fordham, music has been a lifelong affair.
“I was listening to a radio show featuring the clarinet of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman and I said to my dad, ‘I wish I could play an instrument like that,’ to which he replied, ‘Why don't you?’ I thought ‘You're right!’ I bought a clarinet and got some lessons from a great teacher who had me playing in bands in about three months.”
The New Zealand-born saxophone player was raised in East London and Essex, where he met the other founding members of the Jive Aces.
“I knew Ken (Smith) and Ian (Clarkson) when we were teenagers,” says Fordham, 47. “We loved the same music and used to go to clubs that played rock and roll and hot jive. Ken was a great jive dancer—in fact he was London champion three years running. At that time we all jived with our girlfriends to live bands. The bands loved that our dancing attracted crowds and would often let us into the club for free. The music and dance was so upbeat, happy and exciting, and the clothes so colorful, it inspired us to start a band of our own.”
Fordham describes how the band would dress in retro clothes specially made for them by an Essex tailor.
“I once took the tailor a Nat King Cole vinyl album and asked him to make me a suit exactly like the one he was wearing on the cover, which he did,” he says.
Every member of the Jive Aces is a Scientologist and Fordham’s introduction to Scientology occurred in 1992.
“Ian had read Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard and was enrolled on a course at the Church of Scientology of London,” says Fordham. “I had never heard of it before, but Ian seemed a lot happier within himself. He lent me a book called Science of Survival and after reading part of it and applying it to a relationship I was in at the time, I found it to be 100 percent spot on. I was able to deal with the relationship and I have been far happier ever since. It was a turning point in my life. I thought if a book could contain that much truth, there must be something to this, and I got very interested.”
Before Scientology, Fordham says he used to drink several beers before each gig, as he really couldn't confront the audience.
“I enrolled on a course in communication at the Church of Scientology of London,” he says. “In very little time I realized there was nothing to be scared about. I have never had to drink to confront an audience since.”
Fordham also credits Scientology for the success of his marriage.
“Marriage can be such a tricky boat to steer,” he says. “The simplicity of how you keep one together—for your whole life—is contained in the basic marriage courses, which anyone can take at a Scientology Church or Mission. Then it’s up to you.” Married to wife Nicole since 1994, he says, “I love her very much, and we are still going strong.”
Fordham was a police officer in London before he joined the band. He wanted to help people and learn what made them tick.
“But I did not have the tools to do anything for them,” he says. “And it wasn’t until I studied Scientology that I gained an understanding of what causes people to act as they do and how to help them.”
The Jive Aces are ardent supporters of the anti-drug initiative “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life,” and have performed more than 1,000 anti-drug concerts to educate their fans, many of them teens, on the harmful effects of drugs.
“As a police officer, I saw firsthand the harm drugs do to entire communities. There is nothing good about them and the only way to really stop this plague is to educate people on their harmful effects, and help them find and solve the problems that led to them taking them in the first place.”
Fordham feels that being a member of the Jive Aces is the most meaningful thing he has done in his life.
“We make the world happier for those at our shows and that brings out the best in them,” he says.
As to what the future holds, Fordham has a completely positive attitude.
“There is no such thing as ‘burned out’ or ‘run out of ideas,’” says Fordham. “Scientology has helped me realize that the greatest joy in life is creating, and it is all up to you.”
Watch the Jive Aces video at Scientology.org.
The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total more than 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.
A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, which has now been viewed by millions of visitors.