Rock drummer and ‘Home Improvement’ actor Mickey Jones dies at 76


Mickey Jones, the rock drummer who became a colorful character actor who played a pot dealer on the crime drama “Justified” and construction worker Pete on the 1990s sitcom “Home Improvement,” has died. He was 76.

Jones died early Wednesday as a result of a long illness, said his publicist, Cherry Hepburn. The illness and where he died were not disclosed.

A native of Houston, Jones worked steadily in TV from the 1970s, with appearances on shows including “Baywatch” and “T.J. Hooker” and, more recently, “Growing Up Fisher” with J.K. Simmons and “Newsreaders” with Kumail Nanjiani.


On the big screen, Jones was seen in “Sling Blade,” ’’Tin Cup” and “Starman.”

His “Home Improvement” role harkened back to his roots in entertainment: Pete was part of a company band, using an ad hoc drum set made up of empty plastic fuel cans and with screwdrivers as sticks.

Jones, however, was a real-deal musician. In the 1960s and ‘70s, he was a drummer with Bob Dylan, Johnny Rivers, Trini Lopez, and the First Edition with Kenny Rogers.

In 1966, Jones played with Dylan during a pair of shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall that became noteworthy when the crowd erupted in boos when Dylan switched to an electric guitar midway through the show.

Jones told The Times in 2008 that he was the original drummer of the Band — which backed up Dylan before gaining fame on their own — before Levon Helm joined the group. Most accounts, though, indicate that Jones had filled in on drums when Helm took a break from the group.

Jones’ 2007 autobiography, “That Would Be Me: Rock & Roll Survivor to Hollywood Actor,” drew the first part of its title from the catchphrase his character was known for on Tim Allen’s “Home Improvement.”

A Times staff writer contributed to this report.