Johnny, not Jenny

Scottish-American folk troubador <b>Johnathan Rice</b> has teamed up with his girlfriend (Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis). They're called <strong>Jenny and Johnny</strong> (very cute) and this, in Johnny's words, is their story

Feature by Paul Mitchell | 24 Nov 2010
  • Jenny and Johnny

On why Jenny hasn't taken up our gracious offer for a chat...

As fun as it is to sit and talk, we'd like to see Europe as well so we're splitting stuff up. If you don't divvy it up you'll just be sitting in a dark room somewhere talking all day long.

On constantly being asked about their romantic relationship...

We don't really mind. We've been playing together since 2005 so we're used to it now. It becomes your life and doesn't feel like work.

On whether the band name puts the relationship firmly in the spotlight...

I don't know if it even implies that. The way we think of it, well, the way Jenny thinks of it at least, is that any girl can be a Jenny and any guy can be a Johnny, like mannequins. Or X and Y. We had lots of different ideas of what to call the band and we googled them but they were all taken. We could have called it Boyfriend and Girlfriend.

On the album title I'm Having Fun Now...

It's based on a bumper sticker on the back of a car. I bought a station wagon at an estate sale, things that happen when somebody dies. So we looked in a neighbourhood in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. A lot of elderly people live there and a lot of them have been in the film business and different aspects of Hollywood. So when they die, a lot of times there's all these interesting things for sale in their houses. I bought it for 900 dollars. We just really liked that phrase.

On their lyrical themes of love, politics and economics...

There's politics and all different things in the lyrics, but if you get the newspaper in the morning there are going to be all different things to have a conversation about. We're just writing about life as we see it, I guess. I know there are global issues that are very complicated but as rock musicians we have the luxury of saying what we want, regardless of whether it's well-informed or not.

On the future of Jenny and Johnny (the band)...

We've not given it much thought because the album's only been out for such a short time. The only rule in this band is that there are no rules at all. We've been writing together for years, it's just that these particular songs were the most inherently collaborative that we'd ever done. They're very vocally and lyrically involved with one another so we felt that it warranted the making of a new band. But I may, in the coming months or years write songs that are clearly my own and have to be delivered by me, and vice versa for Jenny. But it's exciting for me to sing with Jenny, it makes me feel good.

Jenny and Johnny play Òran Mór, Glasgow on 27 Nov, Fat Sam's, Dundee on 29 Nov and Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on 30 Nov

I'm Having Fun Now is out now on Warner

 

http://www.jennyandjohnnymusic.com/