Student band creates album

INDIE One-man band “Lawrence, Jennifer” seeks to fundraise for new album.

Album art for “Girls Just Want to Have Gun,” the debut album of UND student Joshua Thornton’s band. Submitted photo. 

People say music is their way of expressing what they are feeling, but not many on campus can say they truly expose their emotions to the world through their own musical album.

That is the case for UND senior Joshua Thornton and his one-man band — “Lawrence, Jennifer.” Creating his own one-man band and releasing an album, Thornton has done what many don’t: put his emotions into a public form of artistic expression. In the music world, “Rodney Youngblood” is Thornton’s alter-ego — the part of him through which music flows.

The band

Thornton wanted both the name of his band and his music to tell his story.

“While flipping through a Rolling Stones magazine, I saw a picture of Jennifer Lawrence,” Thornton said. “I flipped the name around and added a comma because she is incredibly famous, and I am just an anti-celebrity.”

Thornton is far from famous, but he is trying to make a name for himself on campus. He said the college feel and culture constantly influence the music he plays, adding to the emotions he portrays in his songs.

“Lawerence, Jennifer’s” debut performance was at the “Why Not Minot” music festival this summer. Thornton’s next show will be after the Zombie Music Festival on Oct. 5 at Ojata Records.

The showcase will consist mostly of songs off his new split album, “Girls Just Want to Have Gun,” which was released with another band called “Nora and the Janitors”. The album was self-recorded, which, Thornton said, gives it the raw feel of human imperfection.

“One weekend I just went for it,” Thornton said. “I set up all my instruments and hashed out the whole album in two days.”

Thornton is operating a Kickstarter page to fund the process of pressing his album into vinyl. With almost $1,000 pledged by backers as of Sunday night, the initiative has five days to raise another $1,500 to become fully funded.

The music

Following in the punk rock footsteps of Ramones and The Clash, Lawrence, Jennifer adds a twist to the hard music with a prairie feel. The beats rely heavily on crashing drums, ringing cymbals and the gritty tone of the electric guitar.

Among the instruments, Thornton’s voice shines through, screaming self-written music about his personal life.

His first original song, “Ex-Girlfriend’s Pretending to Have Cancer,” exposes his own past experiences with relationships.

Another song, “Josh Thornton Also Rises” is littered with ‘Dark Knight’ references.

“It was a very distinct part of my life,” said Thornton when asked about this song. “I claim to be suffering from post-trilogy stress disorder in the song due to Christopher Nolan’s (Batman trilogy) ending. It made me realize my time in college is coming to an end as well.”

The lyrics of the songs slowly let listeners peel back the layers of Rodney Youngblood and see the person underneath that often gets buried in the hustle and bustle of college life.

Erin Cheever is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at