Count Green River Ordinance guitarist Joshua Wilkerson among those who feel that video and music make for a perfect marriage.
Like so many other acts in recent years, his Texas-bred rock band has gone prime-time by having its songs featured in various television series. In GRO’s case, the TV placement of tunes from the album Out of My Hands led to a recent spike in visits to the Green River Ordinance MySpace page, according to the band’s label, EMI/Virgin Records.
Wilkerson recently spoke about his band’s television exposure, what he and his bandmates are listening to as they travel from gig to gig and other topics.
Medleyville.us: Your band recently began a tour with singer and One Tree Hill star Kate Voegele. Do you think touring with a TV star will bring a different sort of audience to the shows?
Joshua Wilkerson: “It seems to be a younger crowd, which makes for a really fun show. It’s basically made up of a lot of younger girls, some who watch One Tree Hill and some who don’t. Either way, they’re a great group of people who are into music and aren’t afraid to get loud and rowdy.”
Speaking of TV: GRO songs have been featured on The Hills and So You Think You Can Dance. With the music industry on shaky ground the past few years, is that type of exposure more important than radio airplay?
Wilkerson: “Well, I’m not really sure if anyone knows what works best and what doesn’t when it comes to the music industry nowadays. The way I see it, being on national television shows is amazing! What makes it so great is that it gets your song in front of massive amounts of people at once but also sets the song up with a scene. For most people, myself included, music and video just make sense together. When you see a scene and the music fits perfectly, you end up liking what you saw and what you heard even more than you would have like them alone. Like scent can trigger certain memories, music can bring a sense of nostalgia with it.
“However, radio play definitely still plays a huge role for the music industry. When a person hears a song 4-5 times over the course of a week, it’s easier for them to determine whether they like it or not. For instance, I listened to the last Jimmy Eat World CD two times through and didn’t really care for it much. I listened to it a few more times and decided that I loved it. The same thing has happened with songs that I’ve heard on the radio.”
Was it a no-brainer for the band to sign with Virgin Records, or did some of the members want to stay independent for one reason or another?
Wilkerson: “Well, we’d worked on getting signed for about a year and a half. We had talked with Atlantic and Universal Republic as well as Virgin/Capitol. When we were offered a deal with Virgin/Capitol, it was pretty much a no-brainer for us. We’ve heard horror stories about major labels, but we’ve actually been extremely blessed to have all of the hard-working people at the label. They’ve been nothing but great to us.”
Talk about breaking the record for most CDs sold at a performance at Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York.
Wilkerson: “Playing at Nokia in Times Square was a really cool experience for us. We loved playing with the David Cook boys, and that was just a great show. All of our families came out and made an New York City trip out of it, so we got to see all of them after a few months of touring.
“The show sold out, and the crowd was great. After the show, we just went out to the merchandise booth and realized that there was a huge line of people buying CDs. We stuck around and signed stuff until everyone left and we realized that we’d sold 455 CDs. The manager we settled up with at the end of the night was shocked and told us that a band hadn’t ever sold that many CDs there before. We didn’t ask who held the previous record, but there have been a lot of huge bands that have played there, so we were really excited about it.”
What is the band’s mode of transportation these days, and what are you guys listening to on your way from gig to gig?
Wilkerson: “We’re still in our first van we purchased and dubbed Lambchop. It’s a big 15-passenger van and trailer that we bought new in the winter of ’06 and have put 150,000 miles on it since then.
“We just got Sirius recently, so we’ve been listening to that a lot. Other than that, we’ve been jammin’ Safetysuit, Collective Soul, NeedtoBreathe and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. Those are the new ones at least. You can always count on us listening to U2, Tom Petty, Sigur Ros and plenty of other music that’s been around for a while.”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Green River Ordinance on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Oct. 21: Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom — Little Rock, Ark.
* Oct. 22: Diamond Ballroom — Oklahoma City, Okla.
* Oct. 23: The White Rabbit — San Antonio
* Oct. 24: Buddha Mansion — McAllen, Texas
* Oct. 26: Stubb’s — Austin, Texas
* Oct. 28: Take II — El Paso, Texas
* Oct. 29: Launchpad — Albuquerque, N.M.
* Oct. 30: Mesa Arts Center — Mesa, Ariz.
* Nov. 1: Club Congress — Tucson, Ariz.