Jonas Martin - Just Like My Dad | Sofar Denton
In the words of Jonas Martin:
“Daddy” was my first word. That fact says more about me than any song ever could. My dad was the smartest man I ever met. He was a weirdo and proud of it. And he loved other weirdos. He was curious about everything and loved to share the new things he learned with anyone who would listen. He was a huge science-fiction nerd (to this day, my favorite show of all time is ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’). He wrote poetry and love notes for my mom and never stopped working on his sci-fi novel. He love-love-loved movies. He was involved with the internet before most people had a computer and worked as a web-designer for decades. He loved animals. At any given point in my childhood, we had at least eight pets in the house. He loved music and he made a career out of that love.
Most people, at least at my age or older, got some of their first real exposure to music by listening to their local DJ play songs on the radio. My dad was that guy. When I was young, I would hear my dad's voice coming out of the radios of all the parent’s cars as they picked up their kids from school and of course the stereo would blast at home. Especially on the weekend. So when I say that my father exposed me to music, I’m not talking about any old enthusiast. He was a legitimate expert in the field. He was as old as Rock ‘N Roll and had been broadcasting on the air since he was in his teens. He sang in his high school rock band and learned bass in his middle years. He encouraged me to learn instruments at an early age and by the grace of a higher power, I did. When I was a kid, I mostly ignored his kind of music and only listened to crap that other kids were listening to. And my dad would let me listen to pretty much whatever I liked. But when I actually started to get seriously interested in The Beatles in my teens, I know that it was the greatest gift I ever gave him.
Finally being able to share his knowledge of the history of Rock with a starry-eyed son was a huge deal for him. It created a new and incredibly deep bond between us. And it definitely didn’t stop at The Beatles. We would talk about music constantly and he got me into everything from Jethro Tull to Prince. He started telling me stories about “playing hippie” (as he called it) in the 60s and 70s. Smoking grass for the first time at a Zeppelin concert. Driving a stranger, that he met at a $3 Rolling Stones concert, from Dallas to L.A. just because the guy asked. His mom dropping him off at the highway so he could hitchhike to San Francisco when he was 17. Subsequently living on a commune in San Jose. Hanging out backstage with the 13th Floor Elevators. Being told to “Fuck off” by Grace Slick. Playing volleyball with with The Eagles! Ha! So to me, music became equal to love and adventure.
When I started to play in bands, my dad was always my biggest fan and most trusted advisor. Our relationship was strained at times but music could always bring us together and I think one of the major subconscious reasons I became a musician was to seek his approval. Not that I needed to, I know he was proud. One of the many times he told me so was the night before he died. We were in the garage, talking about my first solo album, that I had just finished, and about music in general while I sifted through stacks of his old vinyl, hoping I could talk him into giving me one or two. Later that week, I would take all of them. When a parent dies suddenly, things change pretty intensely. Things become more black and white. Life becomes a lot heavier. It’s as if part of the vibrant color of the world, the kind you grew up with, has been stolen from you forever.
I’ve learned a lot about myself since my father died and this album is an expression of that. It’s not just dedicated to my dad. It’s about everything he taught me, alive and after death. It’s about taking a hold of my life while I’m still here. If you aren’t living, then you might as well be dead. If you aren’t giving everything you have to give, you don’t deserve to speak. My father was a compassionate man. He cared about people and would always lend a hand to anybody that needed it. He gave me everything and without him here, the world is gray. But I think I have the ability to put that color back. I’m living my life all the way now. I’m expressing my love and risking it all. I’m working as hard as I can to take it all in and to let it all out. This album is the product of that. This album is about that. This album is for you, dad.