The Story of Fletcher C. Jonhson & Jesus
By Robin Ecoeur
"I was living in the pantry of an apartment in Boston. There’s was an apartment of girls that lived up the hill from me and they kept their back window unlocked so I could open it and sneak in to watch TV in their living room whenever I wanted. It was winter and I was pretty depressed most of the time. I watched a lot of young adult programing. There was a guy who lived in my apartment that we called Jesus because he worked as a carpenter and couldn’t say a bad thing about anyone. He hung a surfboard from the ceiling of our living room and we never knew why. Jesus would have to leave the city for days at a time for construction jobs, or maybe he was doing outdoorsy stuff, I don’t remember. I never knew him too well. Anyway, every time he left it was great for me because I could sit in his room and record music on a cassette 4-track recorder I used for all my music up through the first Fletcher C Johnson record. Sometimes I recorded stuff in the pantry but there was a girl who lived just off the kitchen and she didn’t want to live with us and she hated my sound. One day she moved out and we didn’t realize until two months later! But it was really nice sitting in Jesus’ bedroom and recording some folk tracks. He also had the internet so I masturbated in there regularly. I guess that’s one of my sex and rock n roll stories".
Right after work, I started to dig into Fletcher's back catalogue. His début record It Rained Something Wicked, recorded on a cassette 4-tracks recorder in his flatmate's room/masturbation palace. Knowing this definitely changes the way you listen to the album...say what?! There are songs which are the most simple, but best songs we've ever heard. Recorded in 2010, I wonder why it took six years for a record label to release Fletcher's record over here in the UK. But then you find out what this guy has done and it becomes clear...
"I played in a Ska band, then a Punk band, then Grind Core, then some Indie bands, then I started to rock a bit, then there was Folk, then Country, then I rocked a little bit more, then this band. I hope to play most other genres of music before I die".
Thank god Super Fan 99 is here to save us with the discovery of Fletch. In the earlier days, his voice presented itself with a more mellow and soft touch, the sounds very much associated with classic American DIY. It was intensely pure, fresh and cool. Take Just Your Kiss from the début record as an example, it's a stripped down acoustic guitar with endless depths of sound and nuances which win your heart over. It must be something to do with the way he hears and engages with his music, before relating it over to our ears, but his love of music is portrayed with every note on this first record and has continued since...
"That cosmic sound that keeps ringing out during the title track [of the new record] was the end of a guitar note that began before I hit record. I got that strange sound, I looped it and I laid on this van seat I had in my living room and listened to it as loud as I could on headphones for an hour. I think my ears are still ringing but I love that sound".
Fletcher is back with a new album Lesson In Tenderness and it's first release Wilder Than Me. His imagination is still vivid, the voice more unique and the guitars extra skewed. The chorus offers a mesmerising simplicity where you kick yourself for not thinking of it first. The moment Fletcher hits out the words "Wilder Than Me", well; you’re fucking hooked. It's a lesson in Pop, for someone who uses the same three chords and still sounds original is someone who has talent. The new album was three years in the making but this really feels like the first time Fletcher has sincerely churned out a masterpiece.