Green River Ordinance to rock the riverfront on Aug. 5Written by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Green River Ordinance is headlining Smoke on The Water – Ribs for the Red Cross on Aug. 5, and lead singer Josh Jenkins can’t wait to try some ribs.
“One of the coolest things about being in a band is getting to see all the different places, being a part of cool events and meeting cool people,” he said. “We’re excited. We love meeting new people and playing new places. We’re from the South, so we love ribs. Barbecue of any sort is important.”
Jenkins plans to maintain some self-control when eating the ribs, otherwise his performance could become stationary.
“We’ve done a lot of fairs and summertime events where they have amazing food,” Jenkins said. “If you can play a show with awesome food, it’s pretty incredible. It also provides a little trouble because you eat a lot and try to play the show. You don’t feel like moving around at all at that point.”
The band is made up of Jenkins on vocals, guitar and piano, Joshua Wilkerson on guitar, Denton Hunker on drums, Jamey Ice on guitar and his brother Geoff Ice on bass.
Jenkins met the Ice brothers through mutual friends in 2000 and joined their blues rock band. He recruited his classmate Wilkerson shortly after. Hunker joined the band in college while it played at a few college campuses in Texas.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long,” Jenkins said. “It’s crazy. It’s wild to think about and look back on the growing process. We went to school for a few years while we were doing the band full-time. We would play on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We’d get back to Ft. Worth at 2 or 3 in the morning and wake up for an 8 o’clock class. It got to a point where we couldn’t do that anymore.”
Jenkins planned to transfer to Texas Christian University after earning an associate degree from Tarrant County College, but the band decided to pursue music full-time.
“We had to pick one or the other, and we picked the band,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d have said 11 years ago if you asked if we’d still be doing it, but it’s been cool to see the process continue to grow.”
Part of that growth has come from recording EPs, where the band sometimes strays from its pop rock sound.
“Anytime you can just explore and have fun while playing, writing and recording music, I think that’s how it’s meant to be,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes you end up getting cornered with your style. We started as a blues rock band and transitioned to a pop rock band. You can easily get cornered into a comfort zone you operate in.”
The band released both the “Wait A Minute More EP” and “The Morning Passengers EP” in 2010.
“‘The ‘Morning Passengers EP’ was an EP where we wanted to write music and record it in a way we’ve never done before,” Jenkins said. “We just feel like we’re not one-dimensional. We love pop, we love rock ‘n’ roll, we love acoustic, and we love folk. We love it all. We wanted to make the EP to convey some of that.”
Green River Ordinance experimented with several new instruments on the EP, including banjo, mandolin, harmonica and an old Hammond organ.
“You dive into that stuff and apply what you know,” Jenkins said. “We just got in a room and were exploring. I wouldn’t say we’re avid, amazing banjo or mandolin players but the beauty of creating is you can just explore it and stumble across some cool stuff.”
Jenkins said Green River Ordinance likes to give fans all the music it makes, whether through an EP or releasing songs online. The band uses the extra songs to propel its charity website TheHopeGROs.com by selling songs with all proceeds going to charity.
“One of our main passions as a band is to use our music for more than just ourselves,” Jenkins said. “The reason we are in music is to help push back the darkness and help the world shine a light. We tried to think of how we could use the music we’ve released to engage the fan base we have and share causes we are passionate about. Hope GROs was born out of that idea. We’re always thinking of how to use Green River Ordinance to help people. That’s kind of our mission statement as a band. We want to be more than just musicians playing music.”
Each member of the band chooses a charity for the website, and fans select which charity their purchases will go toward.
Jenkins chose International Justice Mission, an organization rescuing victims of individual human rights abuse around the world.
“We live in a place where liberty and justice is something we feel we’re entitled to,” Jenkins said. “There are places in the world that don’t get that. In certain areas, there are things such as sex trafficking and slave trade. The reality of that happening on a daily basis across the globe is overwhelming. IJM partners with law enforcement to help bring some of these perpetrators to justice. They are really good at it. They know the ins and outs of these places. It’s a long-term effort to bring about justice in some of the darkest places in the world.”
The band launched the charity in April 2010 after the success of 2009’s “Out of My Hands,” its first album for Virgin Records. The album reached No. 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart with two singles making the Billboard Adult Top 40. “Out of My Hands” drew comparisons to bands like Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty.
“We love pop rock,” Jenkins said. “We are a product of the ’90s. We grew up during that age. We love Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty. We love that style. We grew up on Tom Petty and James Taylor. We like mixing all that with some U2 and modern stuff. We’ve kind of transitioned and progressed into more of a Southern soul kind of rock.”
The success of the album has led to the band having songs featured on more than 20 TV shows.
“It’s one of those things that is always interesting to see where they put the song,” Jenkins said. “It’s really cool to write something then someone uses it in a scene and it helps propel an emotion. They just used our song ‘Rise Up’ on the show ‘MasterChef.’ I thought it was pretty cool. It’s a song we wrote for an AT&T commercial for the Olympics. It’s been used for ‘The Hills’ and all sorts of MTV shows, shows that I don’t watch.”
The band is finishing its latest full-length album this month, which should be released in early 2012 by Virgin Records America.
Green River Ordinance will perform at Smoke on the Water — Ribs for the Red Cross on Aug. 5. The event will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 5-6, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 7. Admission is $5 for adults, while kids 12 and younger get in free. Call (419) 329-2619 for presale tickets. For more information, visit www.ribs4redcross.com.