The Hottest Record of the Year 2022 – This album is all about collaboration. It is the largest collaboration that I have done so far. Half the songs have co-writers and all the songs have collaborators other than my band that span 4 states and all kinds of other boundaries. The cover art is a collaboration with my 9 year old son, some former students of mine collaborate with me as well as some mentors and some other people that I met through doing the project. It’s not perfect, nothing is. It’s not permanent either for the same reason. It was a way for me to cope and connect and build community when all of that was impossible. There are sad songs, funny songs, and weird ones. I hope you listen and it makes you smile and feel connected to something, anything. We are all adrift right now so lets make a bigger raft.
The Legend of Astro Gary (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 2021 – Back in in 2018, I was approached by a movie producer for Monkey Lizards to write and record a soundtrack to a science fiction movie. The movie was about a man who falls in love with a woman who turns out to ba an alien. She is a time-travelling, shape shifter who reveals herself to him as such. She proves it to him by taking him on a space flight that takes them back in time. He is thrilled but terrified and a little angry that she isn’t who he thought she was. Not only was she not human but then not even an alien like he first thought. She actually is from Earth but from from a time so far in the future that humans have long been buried under rocks.
Her species of highly intelligent shape-shifters actually evolved from our banana slugs that we have in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California. He is pretty freaked out by all of this and decides to reject her which leaves him scarred and empty inside. He ends up realizing that he never even knew who he was or what humans were even doing on Earth and goes on a quest to find meaning. In the end he finds a kind of enlightenment and asks her to take him back and she does. She then shows him that the way two people in her species join together is a kind of melting together to become one. She is able to do this with him and can be a literal part of him which leads him to joke that he is just a shell of a human, but has the guts of a mollusk (banana slugs are indeed mollusks).
The movie was never finished but the album was and then shelved along with the movie. Monkey Lizards finally got the rights and recordings back in their possession to release at the end of 2021, in the hopes that if the movie can’t one day see the light of day and become the cult classic that it deserves to be, then perhaps the album will.
Everything New Under the Sun (2021) – An acoustic solo album with 8 songs and one bonus track if you buy the album. Some songs about love, parenting, life, never getting a skateboarding trick in Thrasher, and a 9 minute long story about a local totem pole.
Border Town (2007 – 2021) – This album is a love letter to New Mexico and a reflection of all of the borders we have in our lives. It was originally released in 2007 but has been completely re-recorded and reimagined with two new songs and new versions of all the old ones. All of the proceeds to this album go directly to the organization, “Al Otro Lado” which provides holistic legal and humanitarian support to indigent refugees, deportees, and other migrants in the US and Tijuana through a multidisciplinary, client-centered, harm reduction-based practice.
What Scales With Sky (2020) – We worked really hard on these songs. Recording them took over a year easy due to our schedules. Some of them had to be recorded remotely due to COVID. Crazy times but I think you’ll love the result. I worked really hard writing some of these songs, others were just gifts. Definitely one of my best albums. Find it on Spotify or Apple music or anywhere.
Once We Get to Where We Are (solo album 2019) – This is a mellow album of original folk songs. Probably the most zen thing John has ever done. Like he learned how to live inside a campfire existing solely off smores and singalongs. Characters include Astro Gary, Tom Hanks, alien abductors, Amelia Earhart’s husband, and an actor who plays a gardener only to give up acting to become an actual gardener.
Magic Ride (2018) This album has been a year in the making. Actually more than that. The title track was started about 10 years ago at a hipster cafe in Albuquerque, NM. I wrote the initial lyrics with a friend of mine, Su Avasti and it was a tongue-n-cheek number using the Albuquerque transit system as a metaphor for God. Back then it was
called “Climb on in” and was a blues song, “Climb on in, to the Rapid Ride.” Now the song has been made more universal and is called “The Magic Ride.” It is a song about letting everyone on the bus, no matter who they are. Kind of the opposite sentiment to much of what is represented nowadays in our country’s exceptionally dismal mode of discourse. I also co-wrote another song with my then 6-year old song. It’s a song about the game “Minecraft.” I’ll let you figure out which one. The other songs were were written when I was at the beach over the summer of 2017, so that’s how they sound to me. One of the songs is just a surfing song. So stop asking if it’s right, hurry up and get inside, and climb on board the magic ride!
Monkey Lizards (2017) All new songs and their first album. They tell stories about Kylo Ren, sunglasses that fight fascists, finding your parallel self somewhere out there in the multiverse, dying alone in the desert, and of course love.
Trash Richer Than Money (2014) John’s last album written and recorded in Albuquerque, NM. Songs about moving, roots, midlife crisis, and Trash. Nate Watson plays cajón.
Feelin’ Pretty Free (2002) – I remastered this album recently and added 5 songs from back in that time period, this is my second “low-fi” album all done on my 4 track tape machine. 15 songs about love and protest. Available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, wherever.
This Sky and These Bones (2000) – 20 alt-folk songs all low-fi 4-track cassette recordings. I formerly called this album, “Tall Tales and Broke Dreams,” but went back and added 7 more songs to it from that time period. Available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, wherever.