Ideal Cleaners | Aperture Needle

by Eric Gonzalez

Aperture Needle exposes what lies beneath the artist’s skin. This week’s subject is musician Dan Jenkins, guitarist/vocalist for Lincoln rock band Ideal Cleaners. The photoshoot was done over both of our lunch break at the Nebraska State Capital, but given my awkward nature, we didn't end up having lunch together. Per Ideal Cleaner’s (recently and unfortunately hacked) website, their next scheduled play show is May 21 in Lincoln.

Ideal Cleaners

EG: Why don't you ever play shows with Pharmacy Spirits?
DJ: Who?
The last two shows you had scheduled with PS, over the past 7 years, you canceled. Why?
Oh, that Pharmacy Spirits!
(Note to PS' Jim Reilly: If I remember correctly, and I'm pretty sure I don't, we cancelled those shows out of puckish shenaniganery. We're just messing with you. In fact, I was going to contact you to see if you wanted to set up a show for late spring. Or maybe early summer would be best — that'd give us plenty of time to come up with an excuse for us to cancel. Have your people call my people and let's get this party started.)
Which of your tattoos was the first?
My first tattoo is actually covered up by my third tattoo. It wasn't a bad tattoo or anything, it was just a little small to justify the prime real estate it was taking up on my left shoulder. The squid vs. whale was designed in such a way as to completely cover the other one. My second tattoo was the one I've dubbed "Che Ape," which is Cornelius from "Planet of the Apes," on my right shoulder. Next was squid vs. whale, and the last was the record spindle on the inside of my left arm. 

Ideal Cleaners - Portrait

What do they each mean to you?
The record spindle comes from my love of music and dedication to the vinyl format. I love the ritual of playing records — taking them out of their sleeves, putting the needle on the record. It's as if the time involved amps up the importance of what I'm doing, even though I'm just sitting around listening to music. Maybe it's artificial, but I think the vinyl format adds some value and personality to the music. I really like my iPod but I have zero emotional connection to it. Not so for my records. They are my friends.
Che Ape encompasses my sense of humor and some sweet, sweet memories of my youth (like) running home after grade school to catch "Planet of the Apes Week" or "Godzilla Week" on television. It's completely ridiculous, like so many other things that make me smile. 
Squid vs. whale is my favorite, and works for me on many levels: my life-long fascination with squid and my early college dreams of being a marine biologist — epic struggles that may or may not even really exist; Walt Whitman's quote about containing multitudes and accepting my inherent contradictions. But all that is probably secondary to the fact that I like the way it looks. Side note: there is an Ideal Cleaners song called "Squid vs. Whale" — the tattoo came first.

Ideal Cleaners - Whale and Squid

Can you name the city and if you can remember the name of the shop and artist?

All tattoos were acquired in Lincoln. The first one, the one that is now covered, was done by Ray, who used to have a shop on 9th street, just north of what was once a pawn shop. The second, Che Ape, was done by a man who briefly had an upstairs shop down by the Mill in the Haymarket. I don't remember his name but I'm pretty sure we talked about his time in prison. Tattoos three and four were expertly done by Tyson at Iron Brush
You have been playing music for more than 20 years. You have a faithful Nebraska fan-base. Do you regret not touring more before you had the responsibility of raising children?
I didn't become a dad until three days before my 30th birthday. That added responsibility had no affect on what I could have done in the way of touring during my 20s. My 20s were wasted years in so many ways, the least of which was not touring with a band. I suppose it would have been nice to have used those years more effectively, but that's just not the way it turned out. But regret is a such a strong word, and it implies that I would change something, which in turn would have affected the way things are now, and that would break my cold, cold heart. I'm in an awesome band and I have an awesome family — best of both worlds. Touring aside, sometimes it's a struggle to be both family man and rock 'n; roll superstar. But I do what I can to enjoy and appreciate what both worlds have to offer, even when they clash. Squid vs. whale, man.

Ideal Cleaners - El Che/Planet of the Apes

You're dancing: Are you listening to Abba or Kesha?

I don't know who/what Kesha is, so definitely Abba. Plus, I love Swedish furniture. The shelves that hold my records are IKEA.
Eric Gonzalez found his way to Nebraska via Washington State as a mail-order bride. However, he doesn’t enjoy talking about it much. He’s a fanatic of vintage cameras, stereography, photographers with a flair for composition, and artists who have the aptitude to create their own style. Send him an email and any leads on where to find Fuji Pro 160C to

Jake enjoys coding. Coding coding coding. Oh boy, here comes some more....code! ...................