By Rob Oller
The Columbus Dispatch • FRIDAY MARCH 7, 2014 8:48 AM
One was born to be an indie musician. The other was born in Indy. That’s as close as the connection gets between folk-rock singer Jack Johnson and Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. But that still doesn’t stop people from confusing the two.
On Twitter, fans of Johnson the singer/songwriter (@jackjohnson) keep tweeting Johnson the NHL defenseman (@JackJohnson3), thinking he is the performer of such hits as Upside Down and Banana Pancakes.
“Probably about 99% of them. ‘@JackJohnson3 How many of your followers do you figure are actually looking for @jackjohnson?’”
“Come to a #CBJ game then! ‘@SommerTime1124: all I want is to see @JackJohnson3 at firefly this summer, but tickets of course have to be $300’”
“Singing and surfing, 2 things I can’t do. ‘@JackJohnson3 LOVE your music man. should surf in Hawaii together some time.’”
Rather than Johnson correcting the singer’s befuddled followers, he has fun with them.
“I just don’t tell people,” he said of the social media mix-ups. “The more followers, the better.”
So many misdirected tweets — “in the thousands” — hit Johnson’s account that he plays up the confusion rather than treat it as an identity crisis.
“This goes all the way back to high school,” he said. “The worst was always the first day of class, when people would ask, ‘Hey, can you sing?’”
The quick answer is: not a lick.
Unlike Jack Johnson, who is a 38-year-old Grammy-nominated high baritone, the Blue Jackets defenseman is more of a tenor — as in he should sing ten or 11 miles from the nearest audience.
“I don’t even sing in the shower because I’m not even enjoyable for myself to hear,” Johnson said. “I can lip sync, but if I’m going to sing, I turn it up loud enough so I can’t hear myself.”
Professional athletes often say they would love to switch places with rock stars for a night, to take the stage to the screams of a crowd that is 100 percent behind you. Johnson isn’t one of those.
“It’s so farfetched because I have no musical talent whatsoever,” he said, smiling. “So I’ve rarely entertained that thought. But it would be cool. I love music.”
Johnson’s tastes lean toward the oldies, including a particular affection for Elvis Presley, who was a favorite in the Indianapolis home where he was born, and later when his family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I’m kind of a nerd at music. I’ve got a vinyl record player at my place right now, got a bunch of Elvis Presley stuff,” he said, adding that his modern favorites include Imagine Dragons and Mumford & Sons.
What about his namesake’s music?
“I haven’t listened to a ton of his songs because I feel weird about it, because of having the same name, and hearing about it since high school,” he said. “But I think it would be cool to go to a concert, just to do it. And I’d like to connect with him because he pops up in my world a few times a week and I don’t even know the guy.”
The singing Johnson is from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, where he grew up surfing and strumming.
Five of his albums have gone platinum.
“I think I’ve definitely been riding his coattails for some of this, which I don’t mind,” the defenseman said. “Hopefully, he doesn’t either.”
The singer could not be reached for comment, but it would be surprising if such a laid-back islander would worry about sharing the Twitterverse with a guy who carries a stick instead of a six string. As for sharing anything else, don’t expect Johnson the hockey player to perform on anything but frozen water.
“I’ve never been to Hawaii, but would love to go there,” Johnson said. “I’ll stay on the beach and watch him surf. I’m scared of the ocean. I watch way too many Shark Weeks and don’t want to be the guy who keeps that show going. They don’t come on land. I don’t go in the water.”
Johnson likes it dry. Including his humor. Give him a follow.
No wonder he fits in in Columbus. They have the same terrible sense of humour as him. I am also not surprised by the whole loving the oldies thing because he's clearly from the '50s. JMFJ being scared of the ocean amuses me.