More from my phone interview with Tim Jones, the Indiana-born singer/songwriter who came to find semi-fame with the Bloomington band Old Pike before they splintered in 2000 and he moved to LA. Now, he's back with a new band (Truth & Salvage Co.) and is happier than ever.
NUVO: Your live show has some of those elusive "moments of magic" that happen during the the best concerts
Tim Jones: We hope that people have enjoyed some experience with us where they say, "I had such a good time at that show. It changed my life." It's like you still remember Bruce Springsteen at Silverdome even if there were 50,000 people (I had mentioned to him before we started the interview that I had seen Bruce back in '85 in the last row of the upper deck in Detroit - and it was still a killer show) . He probably made you feel that you're right there with him. And I think that's the experience any concert goer wants... You know when I go to a concert I really wants to get my doors blown off, whether I know the music or not. And there's times that I've seen a singer/songwriter with ten people there, and have had blown my doors off.
I mean that's what we live for, playing too. If you want to find those moments of magic, especially when you're the opening band "Oh, do these people like us? Do they not like us?" You know, "Are we playing good? Are we not playing good?" You finally forget about all that stuff and you're just playing. And that is the magic moment. And then everybody else was like "Aha! There it is" 'cause the band really forgot everything else just started playing. I just think that you want that community spirit. You want that thing where it is, everybody is like pulling to the band and the band pulling for everybody. And then it's the closest thing to a church that I'll get to anytime soon.
NUVO: What is success for you and this band?
TJ: I feel pretty successful already that we're able to even put it together, I mean how many guys in their 30's that have been playing music for most of their lives that can all come together and make a record and go on tour? And put aside everything else for the greater good? But in terms of what our ultimate goals, I don't think there' anybody in the band that doesn't want be the biggest band in the world. I would like to change the face of what popular music is. I think it's first real band that I've been in since Old Pike. And the best thing that I have even been in.
NUVO: It's a good gig for you to open for the Avett Brothers, because they're about as hot as it gets right now for an Americana band.
TJ: I told my sister to buy their record when it had come out earlier, I think it was May or June last year. She just loved it and passed it on to a couple other people. It's just really the way that music should be played and listened to. Where it's not like somebody in Myspace-ing you 20 times a day, to like, "buy my record."; it's "I love this song so much you need to hear this." And then you create genuinely passionate fans that do the work for you; they just want other people to like what they like.
NUVO: What's the Indiana influence, both in your band and in music in general?
TJ: I was just reading your Henry Lee Summer article and I remember "Hey Baby" and "Wish I Had A Girl ." To me, there was something that was distinctly Indiana about that. I think there's a work ethic in it... Whether it's Mellencamp or Henry Lee or even the Why Store. An earnestness, I think, to the vocals and it's the sincerity and kind of like a Midwestern work ethic, where it's like nobody is gonna do this for me, so I'm gonna give it my all, and believe it with conviction. It's not as world weary from other places; still really hopeful and earnest but also realistic.
NUVO: What have your learned about music, and life in music, in the past twenty years?
TJ: There is definitely a kind of tipping point in Old Pike that was like "Well, this probably isn't working" And even though I was hopeful the whole time, there was a part of it that it was just not really working. And I was just 21, 22, 23 years old then and I thought that I knew everything and knew better than everybody else. By being older. I know that I know a lot less than most everybody else. And then I'm really just kind of willing to take everything in stride and be excited about every possibility that comes up. But also using the experience and the education that I've gotten over the last 20 years playing music and to really putting forth what I believe is the best effort that I ever made musically.
NUVO: The new band seems like a group of guys who get along, and can take on different roles within a show.
TJ: I never wanted to be the front man again especially after Old Pike. So I'm so happy to be involved in a community of musicians and to be one of a part of a whole than to be the main focus that people want to see. I mean. it's overwhelming in a way when you think that we have six guys who are all working everyday, we're trying to all do phoners and trying to just stay on the computer and get in touch with people and let people know. Just all in different ways that we can to promote our band. And then actually all write songs and rehearse every night, play shows. It's just a lot of work that goes all into it and we're all really dedicated.
NUVO: Do you come back to Indiana at all?
TJ: Yeah, I was actually back kind of a lot in the last year. I'm always home for Christmas and every once while Thanksgiving. I always like to come home in the fall to check that out. I got home in May for the race. I went home for the AFC Championship game, because my dad has great tickets to all the Colts games. And I got to share that moment with him, which is pretty incredible. And then, yeah, I was just home because my sister lives in New York, so whenever she comes home my mom tries to... But I love being there. There's so many different memories that I have whenever I come home at a certain... I love being home in May just because I like the smell of spring and so many race and other things that are associated with it. . In the fall, of course, and there's not a lot of places in the country or in the world more beautiful than Indiana in October.
NUVO: Being in a band that I think has a chance to be heard by a lot of people- what's that feel like to you?
TJ: Getting the taste for isuccess at that early age and then going through basically a huge dry spell in between when I was 25 and when I was 30. And then getting to be back in it for the last few years is... I mean, most of you don't ever get a first chance. And nobody ever gets a second chance. And so for me to be part of that, to be actually be a person that does get a second chance is just great.
I think that a lot of people in Nashville would love our record. But they don't know yet because they've kind of been fed this steady diet of nothing. I like country music. But I think there is a missing element to country music. When you listen to what was really popular in the 70's , from Jennings to Willie Nelson and to the Highwaymen, to Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Jerry Jeff Walker, there was a depth to it that is missing from today's music.
Human dreams are really hard to come by. Like that Butler (NCAA Finals) game - If that half court shot at the end of the game would have gone in, it would have made everybody believe in magic again for a couple of minutes. People would have freaked out. To me, it was magical that they got there; I believe in magic and I want everybody else to as well. So I think it's pretty magical what we're doing and all that stuff that is happening. Hopefully, people will see that too.