It’s a typical Friday night and the Aardvark is packed. More than 500 people have paid to squeeze themselves into the sold-out show in a hot, poorly lit club while another 50 or so stand outside and lean against ledges to see the main attraction. In this stuffy atmosphere, wearing suit jackets paired with loose denim jeans, tuxedo vests with white cotton shirts, the members of Green River Ordinance look like most would the morning after prom.”We feel like it’s this huge party every time we get to be on stage,” guitarist Jamey Ice said. “We’re just grateful that people actually come and listen to us. We enjoy it more than anyone else does.”
GRO kept busy this summer with a plan that has been in the works for months. On Friday, GRO signed a five-album contract with Capitol/ Virgin Records.
“We thought that signing would be a lot quicker than it has actually been,” lead vocalist Josh Jenkins said. “We had to find the record company that was our perfect fit, one that’s a little conservative when it comes to signing artists, but sticks by its artists and is really focused on them.”
Jenkins, 21, said when the band finally found its record company, arriving at the perfect contract took an additional four to six months.
“We’ve gone through six different contract drafts,” the 22-year-old Ice said. “There’s been a lot of negotiating to get to a kind of compromise with the label. We didn’t realize how much goes into the whole process of signing.”
Paul Steele, GRO manager, said the band was not at liberty to say how much the contract was for; however, he said it was a good deal.
Capitol Records is also the label of Coldplay and Radiohead, two of the band’s major influences.
“Capitol is really passionate about their artists,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said Capitol/ Virgin signs fewer artists per year than other record labels.
“There are really no bad labels, but Capitol is able to give more attention and focus to their groups,” Jenkins said.
Ice and Jenkins said that fans won’t have to worry about GRO becoming so-called sellouts – the band plans to continue to operate out of Fort Worth, only going to Los Angeles and New York when necessary.
“Musically, I don’t think we could ever be sellouts,” Jenkins said. “We have lots of Texas pride and I think that we keep our songs a little southern. Wherever we are, it’s never like Texas.”
Jenkins recalled a show GRO recently performed in Nashville, Tenn. for what he said was a large crowd.
“They just stood there with their arms crossed and listened quietly, and we thought, ‘Why can’t you be more like Fort Worth and dance?'” Jenkins said.
The band wrote in an e-mail to fans it will begin recording a full-length album November in Los Angeles. The band hopes the album will be released next summer.
In April, GRO reported that they would be doing humanitarian work in Kenya and Uganda during the summer. Delays kept the band in the U.S. this year, but Steele said the band is looking forward to working with organizations like the Mocha Club, founded upon the idea of contributing the cost of two mochas, or $7, a month to the needs of Africa.
“(Invisible Children) we were involved in last year,” Steele said. “But after looking at the numbers and what money went where, we decided to focus a bit more on Mocha Club.”
Steele said the Mocha Club gives a large percentage of the money directly to Africa and allows contributors to be more involved in deciding where the money goes.
Kara Williams, a senior finance major, said she predicts that after signing, the band will become huge.
“(GRO) plays great music that you can’t help but sing along to,” Williams said. “They are down-to-earth and loyal to their fans. They can only get bigger from here.”
Steele attributes the band’s success to its relationship and accessibility to its fans.
“They are just five real, normal people,” Steele said, “and they plan to stay that way. They know they aren’t ‘cooler’ than anybody else. They have gotten where they are at because they truly care about people. They are the guys that will stay for an hour talking to people after a show, even if there are only 10 people there.”
For your info
Free CD Download
GRO’s debut album, “The Beauty of Letting Go,” is available to download for free at www.freegro.net.