As part of a series called “Remembering Jason Molina,” I’m collecting stories about Jason and his impact on songwriters, musicians, and music writers. These are all individual tributes, on how Jason has affected their music, their perception of music, or just anecdotes on meeting him or seeing him live. Each story is being posted to surround and promote the new album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, which not only celebrates Jason’s music, but will also help the Molina family and MusiCares with its proceeds.
Today we have Viking Moses discussing the first time he met Jason and the generosity that helped his career. Jason’s kindness comes as no surprise for those who knew him. He was a passionate man who was loyal and warm. And, as Viking Moses explains, it is this devotion as well as his commitment to songwriting that can be heard throughout his songs.
I met Jason Molina in December 2000 at a show we played together at The Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Virginia. He was traveling solo supporting the release of Ghost Tropic. I was traveling via Amtrak.
After the Galaxy Hut show Jason offered me a lift to Philadelphia, and he gave me a generous portion of the cash from the show — completely unexpected!
He was driving this swanky rented town car. He seemed mortified, declaring that he’d never opt for a luxury sedan, that the rental company forced the upgrade since they didn’t have the economy model he’d reserved.
On the car ride he asked me to reach down and grab the binder from under the passenger seat. It was his tour itinerary. He welcomed me to stay along and open up as many of the shows as I wished. Each night he’d put me on stage after the scheduled support acts, and right before his own set, the choicest spot to be exposed to new audiences.
I remember there being only one cd in the car: Lovers Rock by Sade. We listened to this on repeat for days and days through the wintery white landscapes of Northeastern United States.
I felt very close to him the years following. We were living nearby one another in Chicago. We took several more road trips. He helped me record a few albums. He introduced me to his label Secretly Canadian who at the time were a 3-man outfit operating out of their house in Bloomington, Indiana. He constantly had a record or a book for me to absorb, a friend of his in town I should meet for dinner, a show I should head to. He opened countless doors of insight, friendship, and action for me.
I chose to record “The Lioness” for this tribute, firstly, because it’s one of the most beautiful and powerful love songs I’ve ever encountered, and secondly, I feel it’s a perfect example of Jason’s dedication to others… “if you can’t get here fast enough, I will swim to you.”
Didn’t It Rain, and Magnolia Electric Company are his works to which I feel closest, however, because this time we shared so closely and briefly was the time he was composing and recording these albums. For me, they are embodiments of selfless generosity, guidance, courage, and above all else, friendship.
-Brendon Massei of Viking Moses, Ferrara Italia, 19 April 2014.
Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Viking Moses: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Bandcamp