Ladies and gentlemen, The Jonstones

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By Kelly A. McCoy

The Jonstones are a rarity in local music. Part band, part long-time friends, the four Omaha guys have been playing together since the summer of ’96.

Although the band came together at Millard North High School, singer Andy Pane and guitarist TJ Kiernan have known each other since seventh grade.

“From the very beginning of this, the goal was to have fun,” Pane says. “We’d just get together and play, just four good friends.”

The lines between band, business and buddies become rather ambiguous in talking to them. Every idea is bounced around the room, every sentence is finished by someone else, until a full theory is developed. Similarly, their music takes on a democratic sense of development.

“As a singer, I write songs surrounding lyrics, ideas, you know and try to write a guitar part that fits that idea and what I would like to accomplish,” Pane says. “And then I bring it to the band and it completely changes, develops and gets good.”

The Jonstones spent a week last May in Minneapolis recording for the new album, *Stuck for All Time*. The third recorded project as a band, *Stuck* illustrates the growth the guys have experienced together as musicians.

Drummer Rob Anaya says: “These are the best songs we’ve written to date. Again, there’s always room for improvement, but certainly it’s an excellent documentation of where we are and where we were at the time.”

The band members take their progression and growth as artists seriously.

Bassist Sid Hutfles says: “Recording is a big part of the progression too, because not only do we get to learn from what we did … but we also basically have gotten these songs out of our system now and we can go on and write new things and take what was learned and write bigger and better things.”

Kiernan agrees, saying of the new album, “We’re even already progressing a little bit past this stage, but it’s definitely a good snapshot.”

Pane bounced off the same vein, saying, “Everything that we’ve recorded is a step forward from the last thing and there’s always room for improvement … but I think this is a strong album. I mean, especially if you look at the grand scheme of things … the sound quality is right there, there’s a lot of emotion.”

After more than five years of playing together, the band has learned to balance play and work.

Anaya says: “You kind of have different dynamics going. You have the friendship and you also have the co-worker camaraderie as well, which is nice. And to a point you also have the brother dynamic happening as well, you know, the family thing.”

With that continual internal influence, the band believes it has its own unique sound to contribute to the Omaha scene. That sound, the members say, continues to grow as they do.

“We’ve grown so close as musicians that a lot of this progression has just been natural,” Pane says. “I mean, there’s just little points we hit every fifth or sixth song that just take us to the next level. And we discover a whole new sound, a whole new capability of the band. I think the progression has been real natural.”

Having started out as a high school band playing the basement circuit, The Jonstones hope this new album will illustrate the band’s progression and potential to the Omaha scene.

The band will be playing a CD release party at Sokol Underground Jan. 26. You can get more information about the new album at the band’s Web site, www.thejonstones.com.

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