Jason Anderson

Artist Info
K Records' Jason Anderson is a whirlwind of energy, and life-affirming gospel / rock and roll. He presents here a long out-of-print tour EP, featuring a Van Morrison cover. And he reflects on his move from New Hampshire to NYC in the interview.


(tss) You recently moved to NYC from New Hampshire. So, how's life in the big city?
(JA) So far, so good. Lots of awesome vegan food, my roommate is really nice, and I just watched all three seasons of Lost in eleven days or something. Definitely missing New England, but I sincerely love what I'm doing here.
What is being an inner city music teacher like? Seems like it could be one of the most rewarding jobs out there.

Well, I work in Park Slope and the Upper East Side--two of the, um, richer parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively--so it's not exactly 'Dangerous Minds'.

But, yes, the jobs are totally amazing in every way. All I do is hang out with adorable kids and we go nuts over music and life! A dream come true, really.

Do you remember a moment when you knew you wanted to play music?

Great question. What initially comes to mind is my little brother and I putting on concerts--the term is used generously--for our parents. We'd wear pre-hipster aviator sunglasses and painter's caps, singing--well, mostly lip syncing, actually--to the Beach Boys Greatest Hits on cassette. We'd even make tickets and, yes, charge. I think that's where it started, though, this love of entertaining and making people happy. And, apparently, making money.

Also, in eighth grade I sat outside the Snack Shack--which Mark Suplee had just done a monumental Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mural on--playing a very emotional, instrumental version of Extreme's 'More Than Words' as the girls soccer team just sort of slowly gathered round. One of the better moments of my life.

For an older guy like me your shows bring back memories of all ages shows when I was a kid. What was a 16 year old Jason Anderson doing for live music back in the day? Where were you able to see shows?

There wasn't too much happening in central New Hampshire. Once this group I had played an open mic at some bar in Concord. Our parents had to be there because we were all fifteen and sixteen. Nobody came. It ruled. Every year we had a talent show and battle of the bands at our high school, though. I can still remember when Chris Neri's band Radioactive Mushrooms did 'Out There' by Dinosaur, Jr. The guitar solo pretty much blew my mind. Maybe once every three months I would take the bus to Boston, exclusively visiting Harvard Square, Newbury Comics and Au Bon Pain, subsequently feeling incredibly street. Oh, my dad took me to Lollapalooza II at Great Woods. God bless him for sitting through Ministry.

One of the things I think that makes your shows appealing is the way you get the audience involved and make them part of the show themselves. How important do you think this is and do you think that importance has been lost in a lot of the performers of today?
Well, I personally think it's important, but I also know there's more than one way to enjoy a show. I guess I love the idea that an evening can only get more fun, more exciting, more alive with every single person who's on board to make it so. Sure, at the end of the day it's only a rock show, but, man, it can be so good sometimes! And I live for those sometimes.
There is an obvious Springsteen vibe that runs through Tonight, your most recent release, was that something you were going for or something that just kind of happened as the album took shape?

I don't know. I grew up with the Boss, that's for sure. In second or third grade, my Aunt Carol Jean--who was sort of the cool, rebel aunt on my dad's side--was obsessed with him, and got me obsessed, trumping my previous obsession with the Superbowl Shuffle. On 'Tonight' we were essentially trying to record the live show.

I see what you're saying, though. There're not a ton of rock bands actively blasting sax solos, a sound that's always going to conjure E Street images. And Springsteen certainly forged my love of high energy showmanship, no denying that. I've also been influenced by Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, the J Geils Band and My Morning Jacket when it comes to what makes for an amazing live experience. Truthfully, anything that is passionate and soulful is going to get me pumped!

Tell me about playing with a band versus playing solo shows.
I totally love both, and feel lucky to be so psyched about both. I also feel extremely lucky to have so many awesome friends who are awesome musicians, too. They make it work.
What's next for Jason Anderson? What are you working on?
I have some records coming out, and some shows. I'm excited for both, but mostly excited to have this balance in my life. I feel new. And inspired.
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