Some three years back, local musicians Dan Jones and Peter Wilde hatched the idea of making one of those 7-inch split singles just like the punks used to do. As Jones puts it, “I think, well, I’ll choose a song of mine, record it, he’ll record his, we’ll slap them together, and have awesome Christmas presents.” Alas, the Yuletide bells tolled, time rolled on and the quaint project grew ever more ambitious and collaborative. Bringing in Chris Funk from the Decemberists to produce at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, Wilde and Jones decided to record everything in one session with the same band. And once guitarist Lewi Longmire, bassist Adam East and drummer Jivan Valpey were hauled aboard, Jones thought, “Let’s do two songs each,” and put them out on a 12-inch, 45-rpm slice of clear vinyl. Hence was born My Name is John Smith, a big old bite of turntable nostalgia.The music contained in the grooves of this four-song EP is driven by a throwback innocence and energy that rummages through the vintage closet of ’60s pop. Jones kicks off side one with “Don’t Be Afraid of Love,” a three-chord rocker that channels early Who, and Wilde’s flipside opener, “Two People in Love,” is a laid-back ballad that floats on a swell of Hammond organ and pedal steel. Long live DIY and the crackle of static. Dan Jones & Peter Wilde play with Yeltsin, Dan Jones & the Golden Motors at 9:30 pm Friday, Oct. 29, at Sam Bond’s. 21+. $5. — Rick Levin
Kind words from Serena Markstrom at The Register Guard:
By Serena Markstrom
Appeared in print: Friday, Oct 29, 2010
Cooperation is the new selfish.
OK, maybe that is overstating things. But for one gloriously concise recording by two of Eugene’s most precious songwriting assets, the declaration holds true.
Peter Wilde and Dan Jones have teamed up to put out a four-song record, “My Name Is John Smith.” They release it tonight at Sam Bond’s Garage.
And it really is a record.
They each recorded two songs, sharing a band and singing backup on each other’s songs, on 2-inch analog tape. Then they pressed the results onto clear 12-inch vinyl, which plays at 45 rpm.
“We didn’t write them together, but in a synchronistic way the themes came together,” said Jones, whose new band, the Golden Motors, also will play the show tonight. Buying the vinyl also gets you free downloads of a Dan Jones and the Squids’ live album, Wilde’s anthology “Super Taco” and the four songs on the vinyl.
“The format that kind of excites me is the shorter vinyl format with the digital bonuses,” Jones said. He noted that the easy access to digital recording technology has increased democracy in music, but that some artists could use an editor.
Jones is doing the screen printing for the album jackets, which feature artwork by Jen Drake. The first batch sold out right away.
Doing the project on vinyl was not necessarily a plot to sell more units, and they only plan to do a limited run with the original artwork. Some of those copies are available at CD World, and Jones said he plans to get some to House of Records soon.
In addition to the shared band, the project finds cohesion in the common themes of love, trust and working through the tough times in relationships.
Jones said his two songs, “Don’t Be Afraid of Love” and “Real Cool Couple,” fit on this project more than they would on the forthcoming Golden Motors recording because they are “rootsier.”
The title character of record, Mr. Smith, isn’t afraid of love. And the Golden Motors aren’t afraid of loud electric guitars.
There are plenty of signature Jones guitar parts on this project. But really, it is centered on the songwriting rather than a big rock sound, so Jones tones it down some.
Outstanding sidemen add life to Jones’ and Wilde’s stories. Lewi Longmire plays guitars, organs and pianos, Adam East plays bass, and Jivan Valpey is on drums.
Valpey’s band, Yeltsin, is also on the bill today. In fact, he will be behind the kit all night.
Jones and Wilde recorded at Type Foundry, with Chris Funk as producer. Funk also used to work at Sam Bond’s Garage, booking bands, and he still plays there frequently with all of his musical projects (all considerably less famous than his Decemberists), including the relatively new Black Prairie.
Funk plays acoustic guitars, banjo, pedal and lap steel. And he provides some percussion on the record, which is being released on Jones’ label, Daily Records.
The new record is, Jones said, “just kind of about friendship and having fun and hopefully not ending up with a bunch of them in the carport.”