Jason Anderson is a singer-songwriter from central New Hampshire. He’s been touring the country (and some of the world) for a little while now, playing anywhere and everywhere. From parking lots to ice cream parlors, kitchens to campfires, Jason brings his cathartic, anthemic music to audiences large and small and very small. Follow his adventures and, if you like, join along here.
What was the process of becoming a musician like for you?
An early memory is lip syncing Beach Boys songs with my brother in the living room. Our (very patient) parents were required to purchase tickets for these “performances.” It’s been all downhill from there, as you might imagine. My grandmother taught me the piano when I was in third grade. In eighth grade I switched to the guitar (it seemed so much cooler) and sort of starting writing songs in high school (by “sort of” I mean I wrote one song that was a half-joking tribute to our iconic custodian, Don). I was also in a couple terrible grunge bands. In college I started writing more seriously. I lucked into seeing an early, intimate Elliott Smith gig and immediately started writing songs that pretended to sound like him (they were extremely bad). It’s been a (very) slow process of trying to find my own voice. I do love it, though. I love nothing more. I think life itself is a process of (gradual) growth and change, shedding skins and moving forward; my “artistic” aspirations have followed suit.
Who and what inspire you?
All sorts of things. Travel. My family, my friends. Sincerity. Passion. Lately I’ve been really into the music of Ximena Sarinana and Esperanza Spalding, and the books of Toni Morrison.
Beat Happening is one of my favorite bands. What was it like meeting Calvin Johnson?
Growing up in rural New Hampshire I was not exposed to a ton of underground music. I did know that Kurt Cobain had one tattoo and that it was the K Records logo. I met Calvin through mutual friends. He was always friendly and enthusiastic. Over the years we’ve been able to record and tour together with a couple different projects. One of my favorites was getting to be a part of Sons of the Soil, which toured on Calvin’s back catalog, re-imagining Beat Happening and Halo Benders material.
What was the transition like for you artistically from Wolf Colonel to your solo work?
I think the main transition was a personal one. The Wolf Colonel tag only started because I was too embarrassed to perform under my own name. I remember sitting in the library at Lewis & Clark College, making the flyer for my first show, and thinking it would be funny to bill myself under a stupid, heavy-metal-sounding moniker. “Won’t they be surprised when it’s just me and an acoustic guitar,” I thought. Well, no one was surprised, and it wasn’t very funny, but I kept using WC until I felt comfortable enough in my own skin to start playing as “Jason Anderson.” (There are certainly artistic parallels, too, as much of my earlier material was lyrically opaque. It is probably no wonder that the more comfortable I felt as a person, the more comfortable I felt sharing myself in song.)