Jason Falkner: Free At Last!

by Pat Lewis
(First appeared in BAM magazine, Nov. 15, 1996)

It took singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jason Falkner nine years and three miserable experiences as a member of the Three o'Clock, Jellyfish, and the Grays before he finally realized that being in a band - and particularly one not centered around his material and vocals - just wasn't where he wanted to be.

"It was like being at a shotgun wedding to three people of the same sex, and that's just not my idea of the way life's supposed to be," quips Jason Falkner, who, despite the different spelling, claims to be a distant relative of the famous novelist William Faulkner. ("I've always been told that he's a cousin of my great-grandfather's," states Falkner.)

After the break-up of his last band, the Grays, in 1994, Falkner finally decided to pursue a solo career. And interestingly, even though he'd been signed - and dropped - by three different major labels, he still found it relatively easy to find a label, namely Elektra, that would give him another shot.

Without a doubt, Falkner's record deal clearly demonstrates his persuasive abilities. Not only did Elektra give him complete creative control, but they even included a provision that allows him to release 7-inch singles on the Seattle-based indie Sub Pop. "What it means is that I don't have to put all of my energy and stock into the one record and then work it for so long and not have any other output," explains Falkner.

In the winter of '95, Falkner entered the Chick Corea-owned Mad Hatter Studios in LA to record his debut album, Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown. But he didn't hire a band or even a producer. Instead, he did what he'd always dreamt of doing - recording a heavily pop-oriented album entirely by himself. Other than a guest appearance by guitarist Alain Johannes and a string section arranged by Charley Barnett, Falkner is solely responsible for everything heard on the new album.

Because he played all of the instruments himself, it was a painstakingly slow process in the studio, tracking one instrument at a time. And it took him well over two months to complete. While his new album may have a "lo-fi" quality, it nevertheless will keep the fans of his Beatlesque-sounding material content. "I've just always really loved the process of no intervention - nobody throwing in anything - and just completely trying to reproduce and put on two-inch tape what I have inside my head," concludes Falkner. "And that's the most satisfying thing that I could do in the world, really."

� 1996 Pat Lewis

Falk Speaks