Oklahoma is not exactly a haven for jam oriented music. The Sooner State is usually one that you drive through on your travels or on your way to see live music in places like Denver, Austin and St. Louis.
Not any more. Oklahoma’s own Green Lemon# (Wayne Allen-guitar, vocals, Jesse Fioravanti-bass, vocals, Chris Cox-percussion, Jon Cordero-keys, vocals and Steve Schaben-guitar, vocals) are helping to place a state best known for its cowboys and Wild West shows on the national music map.
Their story began one summer in New England, where a group of fellow rowers met. "Everyone but our drummer were on the same rowing team," Green Lemon bassist Jesse Fioravanti explained. "He (Chris Cox) was on the North Dunbury rowing team and was a bitter rival in the field until we met him."
After joining together that summer, the members of Green Lemon returned to their hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma to begin their musical voyage. Starting a band in Oklahoma wasn’t exactly the easiest.
"Oklahoma is probably one of the more difficult music scenes in the entire Midwest. There is not much of a music scene there to begin with," Fioravanti stated.
Combining elements of reggae, electronic, rock and funk with whimsical vocals and a barrage of energy, their sound borders popular music and jam music. Merging island sounds with Midwestern backgrounds and college aged party spirit, Green Lemon offers a fresh interpretation of American and Caribbean styles.
"We used to be reggadelic conceptual impro-jam, but nowadays it seems we are more into electronic universe reggae, disco Jupiter rock. There have been so many descriptions," Fioravanti admitted. "They can lump us wherever they like," Fioravanti said. "We personally think that we belong in the disco Jupiter, booty rock genre, but that is such a limited crowd. The label jamband’ is a bland way of describing so many different kinds of music. We like the original meaning of the term; it means you as a band would create an original experience for your audience rather than one you created for so many others. But now it has turned into a descriptive term for just about everything indescribable."
For a young band, Green Lemon possesses a knack for playing live and getting their name out to the public. Recently, they did an extended trek throughout the southern parts of the country, hitting major markets in Nashville, Atlanta and Raleigh, as well as stops in South Carolina and Alabama. The band will be touring hard for the next few months, hitting places throughout the western half of the country and landing an opening gig for fellow Midwest band, Umphrey’s McGee at the end of March in Tulsa.
With one album under their belts, the band is looking forward to making another later this year. While their freshman album seems mostly representative of the Green Lemon sound, one can’t help but wonder what kind of album the future may hold for the Oklahoma youngsters.
"We have so much new music that is ready for the studio that we play live. The problem is that, when we play live, people that own our CD recognize only the songs from it. These days more than half our set lists are music that is not on any recording so people don’t recognize it unless they attend a lot of shows," Fioravanti said.
Their repertoire, through constant song writing and extensive touring, has continued to grow exponentially, but much of the band’s material anxiously waits being put to use in the studio.
"It is actually very hard to get the original music from one of our heads on to tape," Fioravanti explained. "Many of the original compositions we have in our heads are sometimes beyond our skill level. So, since we don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend just trying to nail that one riff, we sometimes have to simplify things we don’t want to."
With dates scheduled through the end of May, Green Lemon will be exposing many more audiences throughout most areas of the country to their disco Jupiter rock. This is a band that has the potential to do big things, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
"The beauty of being up-and-coming is that you have this original energy and life that many older, more experienced bands lose. The ugly (part) about it is that you’re not there yet. It is the hardest part of a band’s existence; full of the most sacrifice and the least money, but the dream is still bright in our heads," Fioravanti said.