Danica Johnson

An Indiana expatriate, Tim Jones is best known as the frontman of Old Pike. His current project, Chevy Downs, will be at the Patio Friday, Dec. 17 with Will Hoge.

Q: What's it like competing for attention as a singer/songwriter in L.A.?

When I went out there I thought everyone would be waiting for me with new record/publishing deals in hand ... that having already had a record deal put me in some special category. But as it turns out, there were 20 or 30 people just like me who had just lost their deals who were all looking for the same thing ... I've stopped competing for the most part. I just do what is natural, which inevitably sometimes is competing I guess.

Q: It's known that the ubiquitous Train single "Drops of Jupiter" was an Old Pike song that was lifted while you were touring with them. It's also known that you were compensated and gag ordered. Regarding this, what exactly are you able to legally say?

The matter was amicably resolved ...

Q: How does Old Pike's official death certificate read?

Death by asphyxiation ... and heartbreak.

Q: Has it affected your confidence to have been signed and dropped from a major label and now be doing solo work and another band?

We were actually never dropped ... politely asked to leave many a time and, begrudgingly, did so ... I'm naturally a tremendously confident person. My parents raised me to believe there wasn't anything I couldn't achieve, so it was probably actually a blessing that I got knocked down a little bit. In hindsight it was pretty crippling, but at the time I was just thinking about the next step.

Q: With your interest in being a commercial songwriter, will you be cashing in on any patriotic country or Christian songs in the future?

I'll write anything as long as there's a paycheck at the end of the week ... whooo wee ha ha. I look at a lot of that stuff as a challenge. I am really in love with songwriting and I'll try pretty much anything once. I've always written about spirituality and God, so that comes pretty naturally for me and my life mirrors a lot of classic country songs. I try to write a Christmas song every year. I've written wedding songs ... there's a world of stuff out there I haven't gotten to yet.

Q: Is integrity more important than success?

A lot of people on the business side of things hate words like integrity, pride, sincerity ... but every A&R guy wants a band that could give a shit less about getting signed. They love the attitude that you're going to play music and work your ass off with or without them, so if that is integrity then I guess it still means something, but they also love bands who will play the game here and there ...

Q: What's the story with Chevy Downs?

Chevy Downs started as the antithesis to the seriousness that killed Old Pike and Chamberlain [Dave Moore's old band]. Our first show was probably in 1998 with Dave and Seth from Chamberlain and me, Mike and Carl from OP. It was our way to blow off steam and play country music ... It is all about laughing and playing the wrong chords, and making sure the audience is having as good of a time as you are. I like to call us a blue-eyed, bluegrass, country soul band.


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