Green River Ordinance to release Out of My Hands
At the last minute, I sat down to experience a band I've known about for a while now. Green River Ordinance have just reached the ten year mark as a band which makes this group of 24 and 25 year olds something magical. Being together since they were freshman and sophomores in high school, they have been winning over audiences everywhere with their sweet southern soul pop rock and have recently released their latest effort 'Out Of My Hands'.
Artist: Green River Ordinance
Title: Out of My Hands
Release date: 02/24/09
Label: Virgin Records
Green River Ordinance
Buy at: Amazon
The band initially came together ten years ago and even then back in high school, they were just as serious about their music as they are today. "I had only been in the band for like a couple months and Jamey, he asked me where I was planning to go to college because we were considering doing it full time and he was like 'I just want to make sure that you're going to be doing this as a career," said Joshua Wilkerson when we discussed if the band ever imagined they would still be this energized about a being a band together ever ten years. From their energy on stage and through their music, it seems obvious.
It's crazy to think that this album is only their sophomore full length considering how much touring they have put in and with bands like Switchfoot, Third Eye Blind and Collective Soul but the boys are very humble about their success as a band which showed when I asked about their three dream bands to tour with. Instead they named bands like U2 and Coldplay since they have been lucky enough to play with most, if not all of their heroes.
Our interview happened a few hours before they played their sold out show at Harper's Ferry two weeks ago and Jamey Ice, Joshua Perkins, Joshua Wilkerson and Denton Hunker talked about everything from their favorite part of being on the road to some of the craziest things they have experienced. There are quite a few of those stories!
Green River Ordinance interview
Q:How did Green River Ordinance first come together?
Joshua Perkins(lead vox): We've been a band since high school. Jamey and Geoff, they were brothers and they started the band when Geoff was thirteen and Jamey was fifteen. They were a blues rock band in their parents' garage so that's how it kind of got it's start. I was just fifteen when I joined and Joshua (Wilkerson) started shortly after that. We went to high school together and met Denton in college so we were just doing school while we were playing music together and then we dropped out of school two years into college and just bought a van and trailer and toured the country so now we're here. Have been a band for ten years.
Q: Ten years! Really, that's huge. Did you ever think that you would reach that level?
Joshua Wilkerson(guitar): Um, it's actually kind of funny because in high school whenever we would talk about going to college, I had only been in the band for a few months and Jamey, he asked me where I was planning to go to college because we were considering doing it full time and he was like 'I just want to make sure that you're going to be doing this as a career". That was whenever we were fifteen or seventeen you know. We're all twenty four, twenty five now so there was some hope back then at a young age.
Josh P: But we never thought we would be doing this full time for this long.
Denton(drums): I sure didn't.
Josh P: We were hoping for it!
Q: How do you go about the songwriting process? Is it one person, more collective?
Denton: Every song is different. We really don't have like a set way of writing songs. Sometimes someone will come up with an idea, sometimes two people will bring an idea, sometimes we'll be in the practice room and all five people will be pitching in. It sounds strange, but it's really different for every song.
Jamey(guitar): There really isn't any set formula.
Q:You've been on this tour for a little bit now I believe. How has it been going so far?
Joshua P: It's been good! We've known the Sleeperstar guys for a few years, those Dallas boys, Waco guys and it's been awesome. I mean, our first show we played, we were supposed to play in DC, got rescheduled because of the blizzard but it's been a lot of fun! It feels like more of a road trip right now then it has been a tour. We've just been hanging out with them a lot and stuff so it's awesome to play with your friends you know. It's always great.
Q:If you could go on the road with any three dream bands, maybe that are realistic for you guys or a dream, who do you think they would be?
Josh W: U2 would be a dream. Or Coldplay, that would be dream.
Joshua P: Um, but realistic?
Denton: Jimmy Eat World.
Jamey: We've gotten to play with most of our dream bands and heroes.
Josh W: Third Eye Blind is a group we grew up listening to and we got to play with them a few times.
Q:Okay so would be on the list if it didn't already happen. What would you say is your favorite part of being on the road and playing shows?
Jamey: I think getting to meet people.
Joshua P: Getting to see different towns and cultures.
Denton: Um, I think getting to play music every night.
Jamey: You meet so many people and that's probably one of our favorite things. I mean in between the driving, the driving can probably be one of the least favorite parts of the road.
Josh W: Not all the driving. I think our least favorite part of driving is in terms of figuring out in the Northeast which highway we can get on with the trailer.
Q:Always good to know. I know you guys have been together for a really long time for about ten years now but what do you think you would be doing if you weren't in GRO?
Josh W: Entrepreneurship for me.
Denton: I'd be, uh, bodybuilding.
Jamey: Ah, I would be in school for sure, back in school.
Joshua P: I'd be a ventriloquist for sure.
Josh W: You'd be good at it, you have the right lips.
Q:Have you ever had any crazy experiences with fans over the years or pretty low key?
Josh W: We went on tour with David Cook for a while and it was great. You know, we met so many people every night we were playing in front of people. Like Jamey was saying, you get to meet a lot of people. One of the coolest things is they bring you food. So, it would depend on the location but some people bring in like Amish food.
Jamey: Two nights ago, we got a pound and a half of amish jerky.
Denton: Yeah! Like we got a warm thing of brownies then the other night got like four bags of cookies all in one night.
Joshua P: We get flowers a lot.
Josh W: Some girl gave me a flower one time and said 'Get Better'.
Joshua P: I don't know about crazy though. We're not cool enough for crazy fans. We just like to hang out and meet lovely people. We get magnets. Somehow, we got on this kick where we wanted to put magnets on our trailer.
Josh W: We bought on at this gas station that says 'Pimpin'. It's purple. It's not so much crazy, it's just on one tour we collected a lot. Like I mean, hundreds.
Denton: Some of them are falling off though.
Jamey: Yeah, they're falling off but then people us them like one or two nights ago.
Josh W: We tweeted about it once and just said 'hey if you want to bring any magnets, we're collecting magnets on the back of our trailer' and now people just bring them all the time.
Joshua P: We had a sweet band aid. We had a huge dent in the front of the van and had a big huge band aid for a car and um, somebody stole that!
Q: That's a bummer! Now people are going to come out and steal your magnets. Who would you say are some of your bigger musical influences maybe for the band or growing up?
Joshua P: As far as the band goes?
Jamey: Probably some of those bands that we'd like to tour with.
Joshua P: Collective Soul, bands like that we love! You know, Jamey and Geoff grew up playing kind of blues rock and I grew up kind of in the country world and Joshua's dad toured with the Beach Boys. So growing up, all of us were kind of eclectic in our style and taste so it's a pretty cool environment when you're writing songs. You kind of pull from different chains of thought.
Josh W: A natural train of thought. It's like a brainstorm technique.
Q: If you were to collaborate with any artist that you maybe personally know from touring with in the past, who would they be and what would the song be about?
Jamey: I'd say Collective Soul, but we've already collaborated with them a little bit like vocals.
Joshua P: Probably Collective Soul.
Josh W: I'd say Collective Soul.
Denton: Yeah, we'd probably do like a ska remix slash hip hop of Run or something.
Josh W: No! (laughs) Collective Soul would be fun, we actually got a chance to write with Ed a little bit but as far as what song we'd like to write about, I'd say an organic relative thing. It would be like what we were feeling that day.
Joshua P: Yeah, it's pretty hard to force a song. It's way easier to write a song about whatever comes to your mind!
Interview by Colleen Johnson, MusicRemedy editor
Green River Ordinance biography
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed. – Carl Jung
Assuming Jung is right, the same logic would dictate that the meeting of five personalities would create an equal reaction, five-fold in its power to change.
Such a meeting has taken place. Despite the remote Texas setting, five boys found each other. Accident, inevitability, chance, fate…no one will ever be able to explain whatever it is that draws the colors of the spectrum together into one stream of pure white light.
Green River Ordinance was born from this light. Brothers Geoff and Jamey Ice, Josh Jenkins, Joshua Wilkerson and Denton Hunker transformed their lives into one singular dream. The dream of creating music. While most kids their age were worrying about high school, they were writing and performing their own music.
Guitarist Joshua Wilkerson’s father played in bands, touring with The Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, The Guess Who and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Brothers Jamey and Geoff Ice were raised by music-loving parents who even followed The Grateful Dead at one time. Mr. Ice also has his own country-western band, and encouraged his boys to play blues and classic rock at an early age. Singer/guitarist Josh Jenkins’ father was a country singer and songwriter. He had Josh decked out in old-fashioned western clothes and singing in local oprys as a small child.
With all the music in their lives, all they needed was a common denominator that would bring them together. Songwriting, it seems, was that catalyst. Jamey and Geoff formed the original GRO, with a different lineup of musicians that came and went as time went on. At the tender ages of 16 and 14, they were seasoned club performers who already had a local following. When Josh joined the band they discovered the bond they had in writing songs. There was great freedom in shaping and hashing out the songs that they wrote. It was the most incredible experience. When Joshua and Denton joined the band the songwriting was taken to a whole new level. There was a certain magic that happened when all five of them got into a room together to write songs.
They found that every one was able to contribute to the songwriting process; and that certain chemistry would took place as they all worked together. In between shows they would sit around and work on songs. Each person would bring their own ideas to the band; sometimes it would just be a riff, or a tune. Sometimes it was a whole piece. But together they found that they would create a free flow of ideas between the five of them, as they encouraged and pushed each other forward. At the end of the process after much work and challenging each other, the song would be complete.
They recorded their first EP in the basement of their church, a CD that sold out its first pressing in just a few months. While still not old enough to be customers in the bars they played, they played to packed houses. An upheaval of popular local support led them to open for Bon Jovi in Dallas in 2006.
The momentum grew. They were soon opening for or touring with bands like Collective Soul, Hanson, SisterHazel, Blue October, Bowling for Soup, Simple Plan, and Flickerstick, to name but a few.
Accolades flowed toward them: The Best New Band of 2003 by the Fort Worth Weekly, then The Best Live Band the year after. In 2006, they were named Best Artist of the year, had the Rock Album of the Year, and the Song of the Year at the Fort Worth Music Awards. In 2008, they repeated the Artist of the Year award by the same folks. MTV Best on Campus named GRO one of the top twenty college bands in the U.S. Radio Shack selected their song “Piece It Together” to pre-load onto over 500,000 MP3 players they sold around the world. Blogcritics.com named them the top unsigned band in the world in 2006.
That changed in 2007 when they inked the deal with EMI/Virgin Records, joining a stable of talent that reads like a Who’s Who of rock music. From the Immortals like Pink Floyd and Bob Seger to the newer classics like Beastie Boys and Coldplay, GRO has now taken their place on the very professional stage of the music industry.
But the band is anything but green. They’ve lived the life, and on stage or in the studio, this fact is obvious. Smooth, polished and professional, their musicianship and stage presence belies their youth. They look like rock stars. But that’s where the similarity ends. You won’t find these young men bashing their way through hotel room walls. Even after all this time in the business, they are still as gracious, enthusiastic and real as the day they recorded that first CD in their church basement. They are as likely to be seen having a quiet lunch with their grandparents as they would be hanging at the Whisky in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Positive in the face of all the adversity rock and roll can throw at them, the joy they have with each other, and with their music, shines in their faces. They’re making their own rules, taking their own place in time, making their own mark on the world.
Their new album, Out of My Hands, will be revealed in February of 2009. The band spent a year writing and perfecting the songs and then another eight months recording with producers Mark Endert (Natasha Bedingfield, Maroon 5, Gavin DeGraw), Jordan Critz and Paul Ebersold (Sister Hazel, 3 Doors Down, Third Day). The band has always had a strong vision about what they wanted to do musically, and are thrilled to see it finally come true.
meet the band Green River Ordinance
Josh Jenkins (vocals/guitar/piano)
Geoff Ice (bass)
Jamey Ice (guitar)
Joshua Wilkerson (guitar)
Denton Hunker (drums)
"Out of My Hands" by Green River Ordinance - release date: 02/24/09..