Jack Johnson mistaken for being Canadian

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:27 PM ET

Attention world: Jack Johnson is not Canadian.

But we'd happily adopt the lifestyle of the Hawaiian surfer-turned-singer-songwriter, whose latest album, From Here To Now To You, recently bowed at No. 1 in Canada and the U.S.

"A lot of people think I have a Canadian accent for some reason," says Johnson, 38.

"I don't know what it is that I get that more when I travel than people thinking I'm from Hawaii ... So I must have some kind of connection to Canada."

Unlike most Canadians though, Johnson records in his two-car garage in his North Shore, Hawaiian home - dubbed Mango Tree Studio - pausing to swim and surf.

"It is the ideal way to make a record for us," says Johnson, a married father of three kids.

"The thing that's so great it there is that we're not paying for studio time so we can show up and then if we get a (wave) report, we can take a break and we can be back in the studio in an hour. Go down for a surf."

We caught up with Johnson recently.

Q. The new record is a return to your acoustic beginnings after exploring your more electric side on the last couple of albums but I was surprised to hear that Jimi Hendrix was such a guitar hero of yours?

A. Sure. I loved a lot of his sort of quieter songs too ... The way that he connects chords. Even when he does his really pretty stuff probably influenced me more than the lead guitar stuff. ... I think what influenced my music and what I ended up playing is a little more of those delicate things. And even lyrically, just the stories he tells. I like his albums, the way they have a lot of segues between songs.

Q. Your family inspired a lot of the new music but you generally don't talk about them in interviews?

A. That's the dichotomy of it. I think the songs are how much I choose to show about family. And I guess the way I feel is there's a truth about the relationship between a father and a son or a father and a daughter, but I don't really feel like I'm sharing anything too personal. But I think they feel personal because people can feel they come from a real place. But I always try to make sure to listen to them objectively before I put them out ... I don't know if I'm that private a person or else I wouldn't be doing this. But I got to draw the line somewhere. I got to find some privacy. I wanted to make sure our life feels pretty normal. I'm just dad to them. And so far it's been pretty good.

Q. You obviously have a sense of humour about Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg's take on you - hosting a skit called the Mellow Show - given you cast him in a 2010 video for your older song, At Me or With Me, in which you two have a knock down, drag out fight in a bar and onto the street?

A. It was funny for me to watch this 'mellow' thing grow and grow and grow. ... Hey, if there's going to be a projection of you out there, I don't mind mine. I think it's funny. And it's not too far from the truth but it's an exaggeration. All my friends at home would laugh. They think of me as competitive. They crack up about the mellow thing.

Q. What was meeting Samberg like?

A. If was funny the first time we got on the phone with each other, he was a little nervous 'cause he said, 'I just want you to know that I'm not teasing you. I'm just honoring your mellowness.' And I said, 'I'm going to kick your ass! I can't wait!"


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