Professional surfer, cinematographer
and singer-songwriter it-boy Jack Johnson is in the
radio.wazee spotlight this week with his song "Flake."
Influenced by poet-musicians like Ben Harper, Paul
Simon, G-Love and Elliot Smith, "Flake"
is from his Universal Records debut "Brushfire
Jack Hody Johnson was born the youngest
of the three Johnson boys on May 18, 1975. The family
lived in the town of Hauula on the east side of the
Hawaiian island of Oahu, and all the Johnson
brothers grew up surfing practically from the time
they could walk. Jack cut his teeth one of the world's
most respected, feared and photographed waves: Pipeline.
With guys like Tom Curren and Kelly Slater surfing
his local break and his own performances unknowingly
turning up in magazines and movies, the pro world
became inevitable for Jack to avoid. However, Jack
preferred spending time on the guitar and his first
band, Limber Chicken. He didnít neglect his surfing,
though--Jack made the finals of the Pipe trials at
17, becoming the youngest invitee for the world's
most prestigious surfing event. His high-profile performances
were enough to earn him a pro contract with Quiksilver
before leaving high school.
Older brothers Trent and Petey had
both gone to college in California, at UCLA and USC,
respectively, and Jack thought he might do the same.
After a bad surfing accident at the Pipeline left
17-year-old Jack with 100 stitches in his face, a
skull fracture and without his front teeth, college
was definitely in the cards. Jack entered the University
of California at Santa Barbara the following fall,
starting out as a mathematics major. He quickly realized
that making movies was much more fun than studying
statistics, and transferred to the film department.
Jack and some friends also formed Soil, a popular
party band on the local scene, and before long, he
was writing all of Soil's lyrics. Meanwhile, Taylor
Steele and Chris Malloy, whom Jack befriended years
before in Hawaii, recruited his cinematography services
for the surf film "All For One." That's
when Jack was introduced to Emmett Malloy, Chris's
cousin, an aspiring film editor and creative director
with access to state-of-the-art equipment. Jackís
first crowds as a solo artist were literally captive
audiences on the surf tours he was shooting. Word
spread like wildfire within surfing circles, and Jack's
bootlegs became must-haves for everyone on tour.
The critically-acclaimed surf film
"Thicker Than Water" spotlighted Jack as
a talented cinematographer as well as a burgeoning
singer/songwriter, and before it was even released,
Jack was introduced to fellow surfer Garrett Dutton
(G-Love). After a jam session, G-Love was so impressed
with Jack's song "Rodeo Clowns," he asked
him to come in and record it. The song made G-Loveís
album (1999ís "Philadelphonic") and immediately
hit the radio waves. For the next few months, Emmett
Malloy, acting as Jack's manager, fielded calls from
every major record label. Donít think that Jack Johnson
the surfer has been totally replaced by Jack Johnson
the rock star, though. "[Surfing] will always
be there," he says. "[It] balances me out.
Nothing else I do sets me straight, mentally and physically,
like it can."