The Barons

The Barons


The band’s mix of influences – Queen, Muse, Radiohead, etc., mix together to create swirling, intense, songs with distorted guitars, martial drums, and driving bass, all centered around piano and a voice which can move from a pristine, lilting tenor to an incandescent howl in less than a heartbeat.


The Barons

$90. A killer song. Christmas lights. A garage.

Four things with seemingly nothing in common. But in the hands of a young, creative band like The Barons – with dreams as bold and big as the boundless sky in Texas where they call home – these four things can be transformed into a record deal.

Imagine you’re Jon Whitlock, 24-years old and about to play your very first show with your barely year-old band – in front of thousands. Imagine being raised in a Dallas suburb on a steady diet of Top 40 radio – 80’s and 90’s pop. Or growing up in choir and studying the way voices intermix and mingle into an immaculate wall of sound; and at age 14, falling in love with Broadway and the idea of performing onstage.

You didn’t know rock music until you heard Radiohead (Thom’s voice and the melodies blowing you away), The Smashing Pumpkins, and Sigur Ros for the first time, each compelling you to explore similar bands. Then after leaving your first band when it headed in a direction you didn’t agree with, you found yourself so heartbroken and disillusioned that you abandoned any hope in your connection with rock music. Instead, turning to musical theater with the goal of making it to Broadway while singing and dancing in performances at Six Flags Over Texas.

But then also imagine if every local band’s show you went to, every good record you listened to made you miss creating and performing your own music. So you began writing your own songs on the green room piano at Six Flags during the short and scattered bursts of time between performances. You’re inspired to resurrect your keyboard from the storage room and hole up in your grandmother’s Plano, TX garage to write more songs.

Two of those songs eventually get you there, onstage at Edgefest, north Texas’s largest concert alongside headliners The Killers, My Chemical Romance, AFI, and Muse. Imagine nailing your performance, hearing the cheers of new fans who in turn line up for autographed demo CDs after your set.

Then imagine how far you’ve come in such a brief period of time.

But this all really begins two years ago in that Plano, TX garage. Whitlock had left the band June two years earlier, in which he played keys and sang back up alongside his buddy Caleb Johnston on guitar and managed by Nathanael Phillips. But that nagging ache of missing music began to creep in so he set up that keyboard in Grandma’s garage to begin recording. One month later he’d completed his first two songs, the thundering, theatrical “Don’t Give Up” and the more delicate, slow-build-to-burn “Lover’s March.” Now all he needed was a band.

Whitlock turned back to Phillips first, who joined on as drummer, and then to Johnston for guitar. Austyn Williams rounded out the group on bass. The band’s mix of influences – Queen, The Killers, Yes, Radiohead, among others – mixed together to create swirling, intense, theatrical songs with distorted guitars, martial drums, and driving bass, all centered around Whitlock’s piano and voice, which can move from a pristine, lilting tenor to an incandescent howl in less than a heartbeat. With a name inspired by the Tori Amos song, “Not the Red Baron,” Dallas, TX’s The Barons were born.

After bunkering down and writing their first six songs, they decided to record their two best songs, “Don’t Give Up” and “Eternal Dawn.” Two finalized tracks in hand, The Barons posted the songs on their MySpace page, received nearly 1,000 plays a day, and found their new best friend: the Internet.

After a top three finish in the Pontiac/Jimmy Kimmel Live Countdown to One online competition, the band discovered Music Nation, an online, video-based music competition offering a record deal with Epic. The Barons had that killer song, “Eternal Dawn,” but no video. So on a budget of $90, the tenacious band set up shop in another garage (this time Phillips’s) to film, stringing together a simple set with thousands of tiny Christmas lights. In one week, the video was shot, edited and uploaded onto the Music Nation site. A week later, they were in the top 10 standings of the competition, where they stayed for weeks with the help of little to no fanbase.

Enter Original Signal Recordings, the label arm of Music Nation, hell-bent on changing the rules of the game through evenhanded artist deals – contracts to fit each artist’s needs – and shared revenue streams. The Barons caught the label’s attention with “Eternal Dawn,” the professional-quality video that belied its wee budget, and the song’s barreling piano lines, soaring vocals, and cascading, epic swells. Fast-forward four months, a few trips to Dallas, one trip to New York, one Edgefest booking, and cue The Barons as the first band signed to Original Signal Recordings.

Which leads us to a final question: what did you do with your last $90?


The Veil

Written By: Jon Whitlock

I feel like it's my turn.
I feel that fever burn.
I get that click inside my head
And my stomach starts to churn.

I've got a spot to claim.
Reserved inside your brain.
If nothing else you'll be aware
'Cause they all look the same.
I said they all look the same.
Don't you see that burning photograph?
I said they all look the same.

Well don't you see the veil
They pulled down over your eyes.
It's a massive tale,
One big clever disguise.
So you pull the hat back, give your eyes some slack, see the whole world's not so white and black.
And there's a man sitting next to you singing the blues.
How the world's gonna change but it's over for you.

He said, "You shot for the moon but you shot too soon"

Verse 2:
So i pack my things to go.
I gotta carry on with the show.
No matter what they say, no matter what they do,
I'm gonna take 'em on toe to toe.

You gotta know I'm gonna treat you right.
I'll guard you with all my might.
Come rain or shine, come day or night,
I'll never let you out my sight.
I said I'll never let you out my sight.
So don't you be so scared, they can't touch you now,
Cause i'll never let you out my sight.


He said, "Well I'm not just blue I'm blacker than the oil dripping from the trees!"

Verse 3:
You got bold tonight!
You got high tonight!
We'll beat you right back down
We'll beat you right back down
We'll beat you right back down to size.