John­son’s Blues­fest re­turn

Jack ready to bring party favourites back to By­ron stage

Tweed Daily News - - PULSE | ENTERTAINER - Seanna Cronin

JACK John­son has never been tempted by the trap­pings of the mu­sic in­dus­try.

The laid-back singer-song­writer, surfer and film­maker shuns celebrity and many of the perks of be­ing a chart-top­ping artist with more than 25 mil­lion record sales to his name.

The 43-year-old now spends just as much time on his en­vi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties and ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the John­son Ohana Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion and the Kokua Hawaii Foun­da­tion, as he does on mu­sic.

“For me, it’s nice to feel like that makes this ca­reer worth do­ing,” he says.

“I feel so darn lucky to share my songs and play mu­sic for peo­ple that it doesn’t feel like a real job.

“I hang out with a lot of peo­ple through the non-prof­its. Those con­ver­sa­tions and real ex­pe­ri­ences are what con­trib­ute to songs. If you end up hang­ing out with a bunch of celebri­ties, life can get a lit­tle weird.”

The Oahu na­tive re­veals his ef­forts to live sus­tain­ably al­most re­sulted in him giv­ing up tour­ing al­to­gether.

“In the very be­gin­ning, it was three of us and we could all fit in one van,” he says.

“I was liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia – I’d just fin­ished col­lege over there – and it was easy to jump in a van and drive your­self to shows. There wasn’t much of an en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print all.

“But then it grew and at some point you look around and you’ve got buses and trucks and you’re fly­ing in air­planes. We re­ally con­sid­ered if we should just stop tour­ing al­to­gether or if we should try to work within the in­dus­try to try to im­prove it. We al­ways do car­bon off­set but that’s just mit­i­gat­ing the neg­a­tive.

“We try to ex­pand on the pos­i­tive. The money from the shows al­ways goes to non-profit groups and as much as we can, we try to get rid of the sin­gle-use plas­tics at the shows.

“It feels bet­ter to be part of the in­dus­try and to try to im­prove it than just bail.”

Luck­ily for his fans, John­son is still will­ing to hop on a plane for the right gig. He re­turns to our shores to play an ex­clu­sive show at Blues­fest in By­ron Bay next year.

It’s his first time on the fes­ti­val’s bill since 2014, but John­son reg­u­larly at­tends with his wife Kim and three chil­dren.

“I’ve been back to Blues­fest a few times. I go with the fam­ily a lot to check out dif­fer­ent bands,” he says.

“Liv­ing in Hawaii, it’s not that far away. So when we need to es­cape, that’s where we go.”

Since his last Aus­tralian shows, John­son re­leased his sev­enth stu­dio al­bum, All

The Light Above it Too and, more re­cently, his great­est hits al­bum Jack John­son: The Essen­tials.

“It’s hard for me to say what we might play,” he says.

“There are cer­tain songs we al­ways play like Bet­ter To­gether, Ba­nana Pan­cakes and Bub­ble Toes. Those are the party songs. Even though they are the songs I’d never just play around my house any­more, it’s more fun with peo­ple to get them danc­ing.”

John­son may have a few new songs up his sleeve for By­ron.

“I’m on an in­hale at the mo­ment,” he says.

“The metaphor I look at is in­hal­ing and ex­hal­ing – song­writ­ing is the ex­hale. If you try to ex­hale all the time, then you get out of breath.”

Jack John­son plays By­ron Bay Blues­fest on Sun­day, April 21. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to blues­fest.com.au

PHOTO: MARC STAPEL­BERG

AL­WAYS ON SONG: Amer­i­can singer-song­writer, record pro­ducer and for­mer pro­fes­sional surfer Jack John­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.