SURFER TURNED musician, Jack Johnson was born in 1975 in Hawaii. Over the years, the music usually associated with surfing has been either Beach Boys styled pop or hard core punk. However, Jack proves to be an exception to the rule. His relaxed, expansive and largely acoustic based music has earned steady acknowledgement and acclaim from all areas of the music industry.
Being brought up on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, naturally led Jack into an interest in surfing at a young age. In his early years he was one of the most talented up-and-coming surfers on the island and, as he entered his teenage years, Johnson began competing in the renowned Masters Tournament.
However, it was his near fatal wipe out on one of those monster waves that immortalised him, and his battered face became an indelible image in the surfing world. It goes without saying that his accident put his surfing career on hold.
While recovering, he tested his other creative talents – one being film, the other music. It was during his college years as a film student at the University of California at Santa Barbara when Johnson began writing songs. Johnson’s musical break came when friend and recording artist, Garrett Dutton III of Glove and Special Sauce quickly took notice of his lazy blues styling, moulding folk and hip-hop with a modern rock twist, and recorded one of Johnson’s original compositions, Rodeo Clowns.
Johnson wrote and performed on Rodeo Clowns, which became Glove’s first single off the 1999 album, Philadelphonic, which experienced tremendous radio success. Johnson was also involved as a surf film director, photographer, producer and score composer and soon released a pair of surf documentaries. They came out a year apart from each other, 1999’s Thicker Than Water, which spotlighted Johnson as a talented cinematographer as well as a burgeoning singer/songwriter, was followed by 2000’s, The September Session.
His peers in and around the surf circuit praised his work and Thicker Than Water received Surfer Magazine’s Video of the Year award during 2000. The September Sessions also earned praise and the Adobe Highlight Award at the ESPN Film Festival that same year.
After graduating with a degree in film, Johnson stuck with music – something that would soon earn him additional honours. Jack began travelling the world and his music is inspired from the experiences he has had on his trips around the globe. He is a true singer/songwriter, his songs are a reflection of his life and what he has seen along the way.
Working with Ben Harper’s long time producer, J P Plunier must have been mind blowing for Johnson, for Harper’s college rock mainstay Fight for Your Mind was one of his favourites and has remained an inspiration. Johnson issued his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, in early 2001, with Harper making a guest appearance. The album proved to be a steady seller, particularly popular on the college circuit and eventually attained platinum sales. For the album’s subsequent tour, Adam Topol (drums) and Merlo Podlewski (bass) joined Johnson on stage. Another enjoyable collection, On and On, followed in 2003, with Johnson staying true to the feel-good vibe and relaxed, acoustic grooves that characterised his debut album. Johnson’s growing mainstream popularity was confirmed at the start of 2005 when his third album, In Between Dreams, reached the US top five.
Jack Johnson will be playing at Pavilhão Atlântico, Parque das Nações, Lisbon on March 13, 2006. Gates open at 6.30pm and the concert will begin at 8pm. Ticket prices start at 23 euros and are available at www.ticketline.pt, Fnac, El Corte Inglés, Pavilhão Atlântico and from multibanco machines.