‘Voice’ Folkies Midas Whale Talk Rock Operas, ‘Idol’ Origins, and Being “Baked”
When Jon Peter Lewis, the quirky singer fondly remembered as the "pen salesman" of "American Idol" Season 3, intriguingly tweeted a few weeks ago that he had tried out for "The Voice" this year, fans excitedly awaited his return to reality TV after nine long years. What JPL fans didn't know was Jon wouldn't be going it alone this time--this time around, he'd be auditioning as one-half of a brilliantly titled folk-rock duo named Midas Whale.
Jon and his bandmate Ryan Hayes's Blind Audition for "The Voice" inspired all four judges to spin around, and now that Midas Whale have joined Team Adam (a wise choice, fellas), they seem like the first duo in "Voice" history with a real shot at making it to the series' finals. Reality Rocks recently spoke with the guys about their "Voice" experience, their rock opera (YES THEY HAVE A ROCK OPERA OMG), "Idol" versus "The Voice," and baking analogies. Good times ensued. Jon's sharp sense of humor hasn't dulled since the last time he was on TV, and while Ryan is definitely the Quiet One in Midas Whale, it's still up for debate whether or not he's the Cute One, as you will soon find out if you read on…
YAHOO! MUSIC: So Jon, it was 2004 when you were first part of this whole TV singing-show whirlwind on "Idol." What made you want to jump back into the fray now? Did you have any trepidation?
JON: There were a lot of things that played through my mind. At first I was hesitant when friends suggested that I audition for "The Voice," because of my history on "Idol" and just kind of thinking, "I don't know if that's a bad move for me or not. What if the judges don't turn around for me? That would make me look really bad." But then the more I thought about it, I thought it could be a really cool thing--especially when I found out that they have a lot of duos, because Ryan and I had been working on a rock opera together and I had been looking for an excuse to actually form a duo with Ryan. Also, there were a lot of things, looking back on my experience from "Idol," where I thought, "I could have done this, I could have done that." It's kind of like I'm getting an opportunity to replay some of these lessons I've learned in hindsight. And all of these things culminated into it being a very attractive idea, and me calling Ryan and asking him if he wanted to have an adventure. Those were my exact words: I said, "You wanna have an adventure?" And he said, "Might as well!"
YAHOO! MUSIC: How long had you guys been Midas Whale before auditioning?
JON: We've collaborated in the last maybe three years on the rock opera that Ryan wrote, but as far as actually playing music as a duo together, it's a new project that we kind of did for this particular show.
YAHOO! MUSIC: Wait, a ROCK OPERA??? Tell me more, please! I'm fascinated.
JON: It's called Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera, and Ryan wrote it after he had gone through some personal trauma in his life. He came to me with it about three-and-a-half years ago and he first said, "I want to write a rock opera." And I said, "Good luck with that!" Because I thought that's just a huge thing, a big undertaking, and I'm always kind of skeptical when people tell me that they're going to do something really big like that. Anyway, so he comes back to me six months later and he has me listen to the songs, and I thought they were phenomenal. I immediately wanted to be part of it. Fortunately, in the same breath, he asked me if I wanted to be part of it and I said yes, and since then we've been doing it together. It's basically: Imagine a rock concert in a graveyard in the 1800s, and that's pretty much what this show is.