Posts Tagged ‘Jack Johnson’


My Hero: Jack Johnson

jack-johnson2 What attributes does your hero have? Would your hero be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Have a special “Spidey sense” to know when trouble is afoot? Dress up like a big bat and fight crime? Know when microwave popcorn is done without being burned? Be able to steal and feel no remorse?

Fortunately for me, my hero exists in the real world. His name is Jack Johnson. He is a singer/songwriter. You may have even heard some of his songs.

Jack grew up in Hawaii. He loved to surf. After high school he went to college, but not any old boring institution for higher learning. He went to school in Santa Barbara to be a filmmaker so he could make surfing documentaries of his friends. After college he bummed around with his friend, G Love. G Love put Jack on one of his songs and it was a hit. Then Jack made an album of his own: Brushfire Fairytales. It was also a hit. Now Jack and his other good buddy Ben Harper write songs, hang out, surf, and talk about saving the environment.

Jack, who is not related to the boxer, is supremely mellow. He is also tall, and awesome. Every one of his albums sound relaxing. Some people – naive and petty people – say all his albums sound the same. Do not believe their lies. While I’d happily put on a Jack Johnson album at a chill party or a BBQ, I would most likely opt for In Between Dreams or his newest, Sleep Through the Static. That’s just the way I roll. Other people may prefer Brushfire Fairytales or the Curious George Soundtrack (which features G Love and Ben Harper). I don’t think anyone likes On and On. Sorry, Jack.

One theory, put forward by my mother, states Jack is the Jimmy Buffet of my generation. He’s mellow, makes you feel good, and has a kind of island-vibe. I agree with that, although I also think Jack is a more dedicated artist than Jimmy. Jimmy is fine, but sometimes he tries too hard to sound laid back. Jack is the real deal.

While I’m not out to convert anyone (Jack would totally oppose proselytizing), I do think that Jack Johnson is worth checking out if you haven’t heard anything beyond “Flake.” I’ll be the first to admit I used to be a Jack naysayer. Then I liked him ironically. Now, I just like him.

Hats (and shoes) off to Jack Johnson: singer, songwriter, surfer, filmmaker. Saving the environment one album at a time.jack-johnson


Friday Robots

If Friday Robots ever cut an album, this would be the front and back cover design.
Jack Johnson would be featured on at least one song.
I hope he knows how to play ukulele.friday-robot-4-24-9


my jack johnson documentary

2010-02-26-falling-rock-national-park  Ken Burns made a documentary on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion.johnson4248
Ken, I love your work, but I’m calling dibs on the other Jack Johnson.jack-johnson-on-stage
The thing about Jack Johnson is, you can’t put him in a box. You can call him a free spirit, if you’re so intent on putting labels on every freaking thing, but I prefer to think of him as just a guy with a song to sing. A song and dance man. A man with a song in his heart and a gift for writing passionate lyrics about banana pancakes.

What makes white Jack Johnson as good a documentary subject as black Jack Johnson? It’s his internal contradictions. His poetry. His album of songs about Curious George. His life as a surfer, then a filmmaker, then a musician. It’s a life filled with twists and turns, trials and tribulations, all of it permeated by the intoxicating odor of those funny-smelling cigarettes.

My documentary will include details such as:
Jack Johnson’s home life in Hawai’i
Jack Johnson’s favorite flavor of shave ice
Jack Johnson’s favorite kind of music (mellow)
Jack Johnson’s favorite place to relax
Jack Johnson’s friends telling us what an awesome, chill guy Jack is
Footage of Jack Johnson surfing, playing the guitar, smoking doobies
A plea to make Jack Johnson’s childhood home into a National Historic Site

My Jack Johnson documentary would also focus on his protege, Mason Jennings. Though not as laid back as Jack, Mason is still awesome. He’s made some of my favorite albums that are not Jack Johnson albums.

So look out, Ken Burns, because I have a feeling my Jack Johnson documentary will rival your Jack Johnson documentary in terms of showing everybody a true American icon. Mine will also have color photos, which yours did not.