Apr 11, 2012 08:15 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Drinking the Kool-Aid with Jonestown
Morgantown, four-piece band Jonestown has a dark, playful style with its alternative country, power pop sound on the new album, Cast of Idiots, recorded at Zone 8 Studios in Granville.
Reminiscent of the Jonestown tragedy where cult leader Jim Jones’ followers ingested cyanide-laced grape Kool-Aid, the cover of the latest CD shows friends of the band holding drinks. “There are exactly 39 humans and 1 animal on the cover. Everyone is drinking grape Kool-Aid except me. In the tradition of Jim Jones, who opted not to drink the grape Kool-Aid on that fateful day in Guyana, I have a can of RC in the photo. This ties in to a song on the CD with the same name. ‘RC’ is one of my personal favorites on the album,” says guitarist and vocalist Evan Jones.
Jonestown formed in 2005 with Dilip Chandran on bass; Evan on guitar and lead vocals; Adam Jones (Evan’s son) on drums and percussion; and Kim Monday on 12-string electric guitar, accordion, cello, and harmony vocals.
“I have always been somewhat fascinated with the whole Jonestown debacle, and with two members with the last name ‘Jones,’ it seemed like a normal tie-in to the band,” Evan says. “The song on the album called ‘Jim’ is a sing-along based on the history of Jim Jones and his rise and fall in the Peoples’ Temple. The verses are from the perspective of me speaking for Jim Jones, and the choruses are the people yelling back at him.”
When it comes to songwriting, Evan says his comfort zone is a mix of pop, folk, and punk. “I am most appreciative to have found musicians willing to play the songs I write. Although I write the songs and arrange them, all the band members bring their respective styles to the sound, especially the 12-string electric guitar and accordion parts played by Kim Monday. Kim is a phenomenal musician who really helps shape the sound of the band. He also keeps things loose and requires me to calm down and have fun. Dilip and Adam round things out and are about the ideal backing musicians for a singer-songwriter,” Evan says.
Cast of Idiots includes 13 songs and one hidden track, and the album is for sale on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, CD Universe, as well as on Jonestown’s Facebook page.
Additional Morgantown musicians who appear on Jonestown’s new album include Billy Matheny on mandolin, lap steel, and banjo; Haley Slagle singing harmony vocals; Mark Poole on guitar; and Raj Chandran on backing vocals.
Jonestown is currently setting up shows CD release parties in Morgantown, Elkins, and possibly Clarksburg. April, May, and June dates will be posted on the band’s Facebook and Reverb Nation pages.