Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy
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Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"4 out of 5 Stars!"

**** out of *****

Last spring, I interviewed an ambitious young man on a mission to become the next Pink Floyd. Well, sort of.

The person in question was Jake Dilley. His project: creating a new soundtrack to the childhood cult classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and then making it as renowned as the famous Dark Side of the Moon/The Wizard of Oz connection. Dilley debuted the performance piece in April, subsequently moved to Minneapolis, and signed to be represented by a college booking agency.

Now, the results are in - Dilley released a set CD and DVD of the project, titled The Color Pharmacy. The musician will return to Iowa City tonight to perform it once more - and seeing it live would be the best possible way to partake of what Pharmacy offers. Though the CD alone is solid, with quite a number of remarkable tracks, the presentation is what really matters. Even the DVD, which depicts a guitar-strumming Dilley playing before a video screen showing Willy Wonka and four other screens running the artist's own abstract footage, doesn't seem to quite capture the psychedelic experience of seeing the show live.

Dilley's main influence here - go figure - is Pink Floyd, a band I've never quite loved as much as everyone else in the world. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the album I found myself bobbing along to. Both "Screwtape" and "Buy the Ticket, Take The Ride" create great little guitar licks that'll stick to the inside of your brain for at least a day, and they got me to actually describing their sound as having "a groove," a word I don't use often. "The Holes of Moles and Rabbits" makes good on Dilley's earlier claim of throwing a little late-Beatles into his sound - fully transcendental, man, you know what I'm saying?

Pharmacy, Dilley has said, has a general narrative of adult children returning home for their parents' funerals. This can certainly be seen in many of the slower numbers, the best of which are "We Dye Blue Shells (When We Make Up Our Mind)" and the following track, "The Highest Hill." In these, Dilley's typically quiet vocal gives a beautiful, gloomy feel to the songs, rendering them nothing if not funeral.

The main problems plaguing The Color Pharmacy are the massive blocks of instrumental noodling that precede and end almost every track on the album. It is here that seeing the show live - even though, unfortunately, the Wonka clips were forced to be discontinued, because of copyright issues - would prove beneficial. If you can watch something else going on live, you can forget that more than two minutes have gone by with nothing but bleeps to listen to. Not so much with the album.

The former Iowa City resident obviously knows how to craft a good pop song - "It Makes Me Smaller" sounds like it could be a Postal Service B-side - while remaining inventive with his sound. "Um" compiles a huge assortment of audio clips using the titular spoken placeholder and builds them into what's probably the high point of the album. Somehow, Dilley manages to croon the lyric "And we said um" in a way that sounds far less nonsensical than it is to type.

E-mail DI reporter Anna Wiegenstein at:
anna-wiegenstein@uiowa.edu - The Daily Iowan Newspaper

"UNI Show Preview"

Psychedelic rock opera at Mojo’s
Lindsey Ory
NI Assoc. Features Editor

Everyone has probably seen the 1971 version of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

So now try and imagine that classic movie’s scenes coming at you on two screens 6 feet high, 8 feet tall while original live music resounds through the bar and you quaff your drink with buddies.

This atmosphere can be experienced by all ages Saturday at Mojo’s while Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy put on their first unique show.

Jake Dilley, formerly of the Jake Dilley Band, and Duke Oursler, a studio art major at the University of Northern Iowa, are the duo behind the creative madness.

“It’s a 3-D video, live rock opera,” said Oursler. “It’s definitely an experience, like being inside of a person’s head with wicked awesome color.”

While Oursler helped Dilley format the show, Dilley stumbled upon the idea long before meeting his artistic counterpart.

“Some of my friends and I were watching ‘The Wizard of Oz’ one night while ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd played in the background. I noticed the music was matching up with the scenes,” said Dilley of his inspiration. “Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to do something like that.”

Dilley’s passion for music and art finally culminated upon meeting Oursler about a year ago.

“Jake was working on

scoring music for a show of his, and I was working on a project in which 3-D sculpture images dance around to music,” said Oursler. “We eventually combined our ideas.”

The result became known as Jake Dilley and

the Color Pharmacy.

After listening to the

show they had created, Dilley decided to turn it into his honor’s project in order to graduate from the University of Iowa.

The first showing of the compilation took place in Iowa City last April with four large screens, one on each side of Dilley, one behind him and one on the ceiling.

The screens displayed different scenes simultaneously from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” while Dilley sang his composition on stage.

“This show at Mojo’s will obviously be a little smaller than the first show because of space and the fact that the first one was funded by the U of I,” said Dilley, “but we’ll still have two screens. It will be impressive.”

For this first public showing, Dilley is planning on playing three different sets throughout the evening.

While this is the first, it will not be the last for Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy.

“This show will continue and will evolve,” said Dilley. “I’m working with a booking agency in Minnesota that schedules the show to play at different college campuses.”

The UNI campus gets to be the first stop this Saturday night. The show starts at 10 p.m.; Mojo’s will charge a $5 cover for this sonic & psychadelic extravaganza.

“I hope everyone comes out to watch,” said Oursler. “If you have ideas, give us feedback. This is about not only expressing ourselves, but also helping other people express themselves.”

To get a preview of what the show will be like, check out the Website for video and audio clips at myspace.com/jakedilley.
- The Northern Iowan Newspaper


Jake Dilley - For Emergency Use Only EP
-Released Spring 2002
-Track 4 "As I Was" #4 in 88.7 KWDM Top Ten


Jake Dilley Band - Nothing Good Ever Lasts EP
-Released Fall 2004
-Track 7 "Not There" Track of the Day on
garageband.com 16 Feb 2005
Track 3 "Platypus" Reviewer's Pick Award on
Track 9 "How Did You Sleep" in rotation at XRT


Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy EP
-Released Summer 2006
-4 out of 5 Stars- The Daily Iowan Newspaper
-Stream the entire record at


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 2002, then college freshman Jake Dilley watched "The Wizard of Oz" while listening to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". Three years, two successful college bands, and one Honors in Studio Art degree later, he has just completed "The Color Pharmacy," an original audio/visual recording which is meant to accompany the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Jake Dilley's performance features him playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and piano while singing to original pre-recorded audio tracks and standing in front of three screens that showcase his self-produced video footage. He is also developing a new project to the 1957 French film, "The Red Balloon," which should become part of the performance in 2007. Lucky audiences will receive a sneak preview of this work in progress, while others might hear classic TV show theme songs. Part conceptual art performance piece, part rock opera, Jake's Dilley and the Color Pharmacy is anything but ordinary.