Jack Johnson Biography
Johnson was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The son of well-known surfer Jeff Johnson, he took an interest in the sport from a young age - he began surfing at the age of 5. At 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu's north shore. One week later, however, his brief stint as a professional surfer ended when he suffered a surfing accident at the Pipeline that put over 150 stitches in his forehead and knocked a few of his teeth out.
Jack Johnson graduated from Kahuku High School on the North Shore of Oahu. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated with a degree in film.
While in college, he developed his passion for music, and played rhythm guitar for the party band Soil (not to be confused with the Heavy Metal band Soil). Johnson credits his songwriting influences as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Otis Redding, G. Love and Special Sauce, Nick Drake, Ben Harper, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Johnson's professional career began after befriending G. Love on a day of surfing. G. Love would later record Johnson's song "Rodeo Clowns" for his 1999 album Philadelphonic. Johnson sang and played on the track, and it became the first single from the album.
Johnson then co-directed Thicker Than Water, a documentary surf film released in 2000. He also composed the accompanying soundtrack.
Johnson's four-track music demo soon caught the ear of Ben Harper's producer, J. P. Plunier, who worked with Johnson on his debut album Brushfire Fairytales in early 2001 with Harper and his Weissenborn lap steel guitar making a guest appearance. Brushfire Fairytales was released on February 1, 2001.
In 2002, Johnson, along with his wife Kim and friend Emmett Malloy, created Brushfire Records (originally as The Moonshine Conspiracy Records) to release soundtracks for surf films made by The Moonshine Conspiracy (now Woodshed Films), of which Johnson was a part.
He directed and starred in the surf film The September Sessions, released in December 2002. The soundtrack also featured Johnson.
Johnson went back into the studio with Adam Topol (drums, percussion) and Merlo Podlewski (bass), who played on Brushfire Fairytales, and Mario Caldato Jr on production duties, to record his second full-length album On and On. It was the first album to be recorded at Johnson's Mango Tree Studio in Johnson's home town of North Shore, Oahu, and the first to be released through The Moonshine Conspiracy Records. On and On was released on May 6, 2003. Johnson credits most of his inspiration for this album from childhood friend Andrew Brown Johnson starred in the 2004 surf film A Brokedown Melody.
In October 2004, Johnson returned to the Mango Tree Studio with Topol and Podlewski along with Zach Gill (of Animal Liberation Orchestra) playing accordion, melodica and piano, to record his follow-up to 2003's On and On. In Between Dreams was released on March 1, 2005.
Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a soundtrack album by Johnson, released on February 7, 2006. The album also features Adam Topol, Ben Harper, G. Love, Kawika Kahiapo, Matt Costa, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. It was the first soundtrack to make it to number 1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in August 2003 and was the first soundtrack for an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack in July 1995.
Johnson enlisted J.P. Plunier to produce his fourth full-length studio album, Sleep Through the Static. It was recorded using 100% solar energy at the Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio in Los Angeles. The album featured Gill (keys), Podlewski (bass) and Topol (drums, percussion). Sleep Through the Static was released on February 1, 2008 and was followed by a world tour.
A live album and DVD of Johnson's 2008 world tour, entitled En Concert, was released on October 27, 2009. The DVD was directed by Emmett Malloy.
Johnson produced Animal Liberation Orchestra's fifth studio album, Man of the World, which was released February 9, 2010. The album also features vocals from Johnson.
On 1 February 2010, Johnson's official website announced that his fifth studio album, To the Sea, was in the recording process at the Mango Tree Studio, with a planned worldwide release during the first week of June 2010. The website also announced an accompanying European, Australian and New Zealand tour to coincide with the album's release on midnight 31 May.
The first single from his To the Sea album is "You and Your Heart", released on April 6, 2010.
While speaking with New Zealand radio station ZM, Johnson said he is constantly aiming to build relationships with local pro-environment, non-profit groups. "We try to raise money for a lot of these groups who are doing positive things in the community. We try to focus mostly on environmental education, just trying to get kids out into nature, supporting local farms and things like that."