Being privy to the creation of Johnny’s solo tour from the get go has created a bit of a social media conundrum. That which is hidden will be revealed. But should it be? Archive, or Curate? What am I doing here?
The compulsive collector side is strong. I often dream of being in a huge used bookstore where every book is under a dollar, compelled to look at every single title, then pondering whether holding the books tightly will enable me to take them out of the dream when I wake. So, there will be archiving.
On the other hand, got to respect the artist. Even though Johnny never fails to engage, entertain or, at worst/best, terrify when seen live, some nights are tighter than others. Is a glimpse of the man behind the mask reason enough to plaster a minute and a half of him changing guitars all over the internet?
Johnny practically writes songs on the fly as he performs live. Watching in real time as songs evolve, some that were so raw and powerful they had to be toned down, some that didn’t engage at first be ramped up and re-aimed. Multiple versions of ostensibly the same tune, each with their own ambiance. And let’s not forget the priceless inter-tune comments and poems. It seems a story to be told.
But it may not be the story John wants to tell. Maybe to him it’s just rough drafts, and he’d trash them if he could. Maybe some of the older stuff doesn’t represent him any more, as a person or a musician, because he’s the kind of performer that has to reinvent himself. Whether you like his latest work, or some incarnation in the past, if you are a fan, it’s because Johnny always puts something real on the table. Maybe even everything. And if it’s real, it’s brand, fucking new, because that’s what it means to be a living,breathing human being.
Okay, I’ve talked myself around. Somewhere there will be archives: photos taken, words spoken,cues missed. But where I am on public display, I will try to expose a bit of myself as well, by making some real choices of my own. Hope you like them, but mostly, I hope you can tell what it is about John that has inspired me.
Thanks for listening.
-text by Jiff, photos by JadeyB