We had the pleasure of sitting down with Josh Jenkins from the band Green River Ordinance. Here’s what he had to say:
I know that you guys met in Texas but can you elaborate a little bit about how you came together?
Josh Jenkins: I met Jamie and Geoff in high school through a friend. They were a blues rock band, and I had just started playing and writing some songs when I found out they needed a singer. So I kind of met up with them when we were 15/16, and we just started jamming in their garage. I had never played in a band. So that’s how I kind of got into the band. Then Joshua Wilkerson, the guitar player, and he joined about senior year. We lost the other guitar player, and Josh was a friend of mine… I knew he loved music, and we had talked about playing together. So he came to sit in and jam with us, and that kind of formed that. Then we met Tim in college.
Cool. So how long have you guys been together now?
Josh Jenkins: It’s been about 6 years with this line-up. I’ve been in the band since I was 16, so it’s been a few years. I’m 23 now, but Jamie and Geoff have been in the band since they were 14 or 15, so they had been in it for a long time. As far as the line-up we have now, it’s been about 5 or 6 years.
Now how would you describe the band’s musical evolvement since the beginning of the band?
Josh Jenkins: I think it started as a definite blues rock band and I had never really ever… I was never really into blues/rock. When I joined the band I always drew from a different well. I liked old school country, pop, and pop rock so that kind of fused into what they were doing and kind of took the direction that it is now… which I think is melodic pop/rock.
Can you elaborate a little bit about the song writing process and why it’s so important to you to keep it in house?
Josh Jenkins: That’s the cool part about being in a band. Making your own stuff and being proud of it that way. To mess around with something so long, and you’re so invested in it. Over the years we always tried to challenge what we were doing and look up to bands… To see what we can learn from bands. We’ve always really loved to write our own stuff. However, it starts with me or Joshua, then we bring it to the band, and work it out that way. It’s just such a cool process to call your own. To have your own stuff and to be invested in it… and be far beyond playing it. In the creation of it and over the last couple of years, we just sort of tried to challenge our writing and take the songs we have and keep challenging them.
What would you say is the most personal or meaningful song to you that you guys have either written on this album or your previous work?
Josh Jenkins: On this album there are a few. The one that hits close to home… I think you could probably ask us all and we’ll have a different answer for it. But a song “Out of My Hands” is something that feels close to home in the sense where you feel kind of autobiographical in some sense. And then a song called “On Your Own” where a song is written about a friend and stuff like that where you feel there is personal investment, because not every song you write is a song that is personal. So some of these songs become or start out very personal.
What is your vision for what the band wants to accomplish musically? Or what is the band’s vision I guess?
Josh Jenkins: We’re just extremely grateful to call music a job. We want to play music that makes… that has a wide array of emotions and what the message is- is always some songs are happy and uplifting and some are just honest and not happy. I think with our music we always just want to be honest and be hopeful. We’re all fairly happy guys. The fact that you wake up in the morning is a gift from God, and that we are here and we get to play music for a living…. So with our music we just want our shows to be fun. We want our music to be honest but uplifting. We all experience the same things. We’re all the same. From a human level, we all experience highs and lows, and we just want our music to convey that, but not leave you feeling that even in those low times there isn’t hope.
I know you guys have opened for a number of huge bands. Have any of them given you any really good advice or words of wisdom?
Josh Jenkins: Absolutely! Absolutely! I think we’ve had the opportunity to write with some great people. Collective Soul is the band that comes to mind. Ed Roland has become a friend of ours and the rest of those guys. I think when you’re a young band, like we’re still a young band, and we’re always planning… and we’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years. I think you look up to those people. Just watching them… how they play and how they interact with the crowd. Even listening to their music and how their songs are written. I think from a standpoint you learn so much by being around those people. A band from Fort Worth named Flicker Stick allowed us to play a few shows with them. I think it’s just observing and learning a lot and challenging ourselves to continually grow as a band.
Kind of expanding upon that a little bit what would you say is the most memorable moment you’ve had with the band since it started?
Josh Jenkins: Recently, we just heard our song on the radio for the first time ever. Some radio station in San Diego has been playing it. We’re out on a radio tour right now, and all these places have been playing our music and it’s just… it was kind of surreal being with the band driving from San Diego to Los Angeles, and they were playing our song. I don’t know it’s just pretty weird to hear your stuff, like on the radio.
Awhile back we got a chance to open up for Bon Jovi which is still one of the highlights of our existence as a band. Of late, I would say it’s just, it’s been going into these radio stations and seeing people that we’ve never met playing our song and people singing our music. It’s like when you create something in your room or from an emotion that you’re feeling or some crappy situation, then you get together with your friends, and you make it into a song… It means something to all of you and then it goes from that point to being recorded, to going to radio, to you going to the radio station, and people singing it and coming up to you. It’s such a special and cool feeling, ya know? That I would say that’s the one, as of late. The coolest things that I’ve ever experienced personally.
Do you do any covers at your shows?
Josh Jenkins: We do. Every now and again we’ll throw in a Tom Petty song or stuff like that. Or we’ll throw in the Rolling Stones songs in the middle of one of our songs… or a Beyonce song. We’ll do “Single Ladies” in the middle of our set. It happens randomly. We just covered a Graham Nash song out here on the road. Graham Nash from Crosby, Stills, and Nash, so we cover that.
What do you guys do to kill time when you’re on the road?
Josh Jenkins: You have your shows that you get into. Like a lot of catching up because we miss a lot of Lost. A few of us are Lost fans or The Office fans. I catch up on The Office online. There is a lot of reading for sure…. Just a lot of random stuff, each person is probably different.
What are you guys working on now and what’s next for you guys?
Josh Jenkins: We are just out here doing radio for the next, I would say for the next few days. We’re out here, and then we head back home. We’ll do some shows around Texas, and then we head back out after that. So I would say the next year of our lives is going to be us just kind of ground working, playing shows, going to radio stations, and hoping that people pick up the song.
Interview By: Emma Loggins