I saw my first Rilo Kiley show almost exactly six years ago, when I was 17 years old. I had been listening to More Adventurous pretty much non-stop for several months beforehand, but there was something extraordinary, and particularly enduring in my memory, about seeing the band live. I still remember getting a little lost on the drive from the Valley to the Wiltern in Korea Town, the yellow dress that Jenny Lewis was wearing and Blake Sennett quintessentially rocking out from atop the speaker in the down right corner of the stage. Between Rilo Kiley’s next tour for Under the Blacklight, Jenny’s solo albums, and Jenny and Johnny, I have seen Jenny Lewis play live over a dozen times since.
For the April Music Issue of 944, I had the opportunity to interview Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice of Jenny and Johnny. While most of my other writing assignments feel pretty self-contained by the page they’re printed on, this one was understandably quite different. I had so much more to say, and still do, beyond the constraints of those two 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. While the print versus digital versus blogging debate can be an endless one in my field, this isn’t about that. My job as an editor is all about culling the best content and refining the text, and I take great pride in that, but there is also something to be said about feeling limitless, and simply put, sharing what I can’t share in the magazine with those who might find it as interesting as I do.
As that interview was my primary inspiration for the creation of this blog, I find it only fitting that I take its title from the title of Jenny and Johnny’s album, I’m Having Fun Now. It speaks for itself, really, but of course Jenny and Johnny captured its essence best in the interview:
Jenny Lewis: … It doesn’t imply that we weren’t having fun before, because we were indeed — but it’s kind of a good mantra. Keep it light.
Johnathan Rice: Yeah and the idea of Jenny and Johnny is we’re not like this institution, we’re not like here to stay or whatever, it’s not like the end of either one of our own careers, it’s just something we did because the songs existed and we felt like they deserved a new band just to try it. It’s like an experiment — Jenny and Johnny’s like our little experiment and it was extremely fun. And we’ve definitely done way more with it than we thought we would, so much so that we’re going out on more tours and doing all that stuff. Like we thought we were just going to do a tour and that would be it.
JL: You know, some couples, they buy matching Hawaiian shirts and they hang out in Waikiki, or some couples, they rent an RV and drive across the country. We made I’m Having Fun Now. It’s our retirement plan.
Ilana Berger: Well hopefully you’re not retiring yet.
JL: No, not yet. But we’re totally like, whatever comes along, we try to keep it fun and exciting.
So here’s to keeping it fun and exciting.