From its humble beginnings as a super indie record being written and demo’d in a three-thousand square foot macadamia nut factory in Hawai’i – complete with chickens and power tools in the background – to its completion, New York-based rock ‘n’ roll band Jonny Lives!’s sophomore full-length, Revolution For Free has been an island-to-island journey which culminated in the release of the record September 27, 2011 via a joint venture between Los Angeles, CA-based indie Long Live Crime records, +front man Jonny Dubowsky’s own Rock ‘N Renew Records. Recent performances on Late Night W/ Conan O'Brien, The CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, and Good Day Live along with performances w/ Meatloaf, Blondie, Everclear, The Strokes, The Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs+ many other amazing bands have solidified Jonny Lives! place in the spotlight, even if the spotlight brings them from the shores of Guernsey in the U.k where the band just opened for The Buzzcocks, to Dubowsky's part-time home on the Big Island of Hawai'i.
“When I started writing what became [Revolution For Free], I was living in the mountains of Hawai’i, and spending early mornings in the ocean +afternoons teaching students how to grow their own food. And, then, hopping on airplanes to travel to schools around the country to continue building a program that connects art, music, and environmental healing,” details Dubowsky. “That was obviously a very different scene than the 3am nights on Ave A, which is where I was when I wrote our debut record. Revolution For Free shows both growth in Dubowsky’s lyricism +song writing abilities, expanding on the Brit-grit +Lower East Side rock from their debut, Get Steady (11/7/Warner Bros), & delivering a record chock-full of pop-hooks, melodic rock anthems, shimmering guitar tones, & a powerful rhythm section.
All this is very clear on Revolution For Free, an album that effortlessly moves from the classic AM pop of “Vagabond Lovers.” The guitar-rock crunch of “It’s Not Your Fault,” & the swooning, slightly psychedelic pop-rock of “We Will Not Die Quietly,” the last building & building until it ends with gorgeous vocal harmonies A cappella.
Other album highlights include the garage-rock of “Don’t Throw It Away,” the hook-laden, Beatles-esque raved-up “Your Money Or Your Life,” or the could-have-been ’90s radio hit vibe of “Parking Lot.”
Jonny Lives! pulls no punches with Revolution For Free, speaking out for the environment, while never losing sight of having fun, crafting sing-along melodies, & writing pop songs that make the listener want to smile. No soapboxes, just cranked amps.
“In the title track, and across the entire record, I’m talking about the kind of revolution that we had in the 60s with the civil rights movement, an awakening that we can demand certain things, certain human rights,” explains Dubowsky. “A quality of life. For me, music has always been the soundtrack to that process. There’s definitely a story across this record of someone waking up to their power to change things for the better.”
In the mid 2000′s, during 25,000 plus mile touring schedules, Dubowsky started thinking about how to be more environmentally sustainable, while on the road. This got him researching how to pull it off for the band, and led to him realizing awareness wasn’t as high as it could be.
His solution: blend music and environmentalism, two of his passions , and thus Rock ‘n Renew was born.
Jonny Lives! began fueling their touring vehicle with bio-diesel + waste-veggie-oil (French-fry grease) & also began pulling up to schools in each city to teach students about sustainability before each show. Gaining the support of Debbie Harry, Art Alexakis from Everclear, Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar, House), Fountains Of Wayne, Modest Mouse, The Kaiser Chiefs, and many other artists, Dubowsky suddenly had a huge platform to work on making environmental restoration programs as cool as the bands on Rock ‘n Renew’s roster.
From this initial phase, Rock ’n Renew has grown into a multi-faceted non-profit organization with the resources& connections to make real environmental change happen. It is also still a major part of Jonny Lives! tours. Rock ‘n Renew has programs in over thirty cities and has helped over 100,000 students and their communities to restore their local ecosystem.
Moving back to NYC, Dubowsky finished up the album. The drums were tracked in New York City by Claudio Rochat-Felix, while other Jonny Lives! band members and special guests tracked parts in L.A., Australia, and Seattle.
“I was involved in every single aspect of this record, from start to finish,” proclaims Dubowsky. “I co-produced the record with friends Brian Boland [the original bassist for Jonny Lives!] and Danny Madorsky [who has worked with Blues Explosion, Chris Whitley, and Luscious Jackson], with Boland and Madorsky splitting the mixing duties on the record.”
The introduction to Jonny Lives! is incomplete until you've seen them perform live. Their live show has been described by the NME Magazines own Mark Beaumont as “unbridled, anthemic rock that manages to turn even the smallest of clubs into an arena. Jonny Lives! are so pant-droppingly brilliant that you owe it to yourself to see them." After a 2 year hiatus from touring while Dubowsky was off saving the planet, the band has recently made NYC their home-base once again and will set out on a U.S tour during the summer of 2014 with dates in the U.k in early Spring. With producer/bassist Boland living in L.A and drummer Rochat-Felix in San Fransisco, the band has reunited with bassist Mikki James who co-produced their first album "Get Steady" and is featured on a few songs on "Revolution For Free". Drummer Pete Landi of The Glazzies is equal parts Dave Grohl and Keith Moon as he brings the bands intensity to a maximum, and Guitarist/Vocalist Marco Argiro (The Killing Floor) rounds out the new band with Joe Strummer's energy adding The Kinks vocals. Not to be missed!