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Old War Shirt's Jonny Cournoyer

By Monk Turner
Published: Tuesday, September 01, 2009, at 10:11AM
Jonny Cournoyer Monk Turner [Flickr]

Old War Shirt's Jonny Cournoyer stone cold chillin' outside the Garden Party.

These days, the Downtown Art Walk is the place to be every second Thursday of the month. When things start to wind down on Gallery Row, the night owls flock to the Garden Party for a night cap and some socializing. Recently, Is Good Music became a partner in the after party and has been hosting local indie music acts such as Old War Shirt.

On the night I popped in, Old War Shirt's Jonny Cournoyer had an easy commute to his gig. A resident of the Downtown community, he shared a little bit about his background and what life is like as a musician in Downtown L.A.

MONK TURNER: So where are you originally from?

JONNY COURNOYER: I was born in Sarasota, Florida and I grew up splitting my time between the beach there and where my father is from in the plains of South Dakota.

MT: I used to live in Sarasota.

JC: Are you serious?

MT: Yeah.. I was living there when Pewee Herman got busted. [laughter]

JC: You were.. wow I think I was I was living there too. Amazing. That is like the one fact. [laughter]

MT: Yeah. So what brought you to Los Angeles?

JC: I was in New Mexico working for a famous feminist artist out in the desert for about four years. I had an amazing time but it is a little wagon train pace out there. I had come out to LA a few times to work and I really wanted to focus on music again because I barely touched the guitar in the four year I was in New Mexico. I just loved LA and got sucked into the whole city. I came out and I've been here since 2003 I think.

MT: ...and what brought you to downtown?

JC: I was a Venetian when I first moved here and I thoroughly enjoyed that lifestyle. Though I don't surf or lay on the beach, I love the fog and the neighborhoods out there. I ended up moving in with my now-wife in Silverlake which I love as well. We just wanted to try the downtown thing about a year and a half ago. It was before the economy changed and we were thinking about buying a loft but we wanted to try it out first.

MT: Can you talk a little bit about your band Old War Shirt?

JC: This is a band that has been in the works since I moved here. The two members in the band are David Pope, who is a drummer I knew in Florida, and Dustin Poulton who is his step brother. Wait. No that's not right. What would he be? David is married to his sister. Wait no. It is complicated.

MT: As long as there isn't any incest going on. [laughter]

JC: Nothing inappropriate but they are linked in a family way. They are also in a band called Slings on their own which is an amazing band. We are part of a collective which has their own projects and we also take part in this thing called the Hootenanny All Stars. We're also in the Niche Makers. We all have our separate projects and Old War Shirt is my own. They are all my songs that I've been writing since I moved here and have a small, tiny library of them now. Usually when I record, it is just up in my downtown loft. A lot of the recordings that I put out are solo recordings but when we play live these guys back me up and they are incredible.

MT: Can people catch you guys playing downtown regularly?

JC: This is the first time we've ever played downtown.

MT: But you're hoping to play here more often?

JC: Yeah. Hope to. I mean art walk is crazy now. It has really taken off and I live right in the heart of it. There are all kinds of bands playing there and they are loud and keep me up at night. Hopefully I'll be part of that one day.

Best place to find out where Old War Shirt will be playing is to check their myspace page at:

Is Good music can be found here:

If you live downtown or perform here regularly, we want to interview you! Also welcome are producers, songwriters, booking agents, etc. Contact Monk Turner at


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