We’ve been meaning to do a Jason Manns post for a while now – he’s one of our favorite people, and even better, one of our collaborators on Fangasm.
One of the great things about fandom is that it expands your horizons, taking you places you never thought you’d go. We probably would never have discovered the music of Jason Manns or Steve Carlson if we hadn’t fallen for Supernatural – and what a shame that would be!
We first met Jason at the start of our roadtrip through fandom, introduced by mutual friends in LA. He was intrigued that we were writing a book on fandom — in fact, he’d written a song to express his appreciation for the fans’ support called “I Do It For You”, which seemed like a perfect fit for our book. We decided to offer it as an exclusive digital download. Voila, collaborators!
We knew he was a talented musician, but we’ve since had a chance to get to know Jason better as a person too. Much like practically everyone else we’ve met in connection with Supernatural, he’s a genuinely nice guy. What is it with this show? It’s not like the entire television production world is full of nice guys, after all!
Becoming involved with the Supernatural fandom brought Jason a whole new group of fans, a fact for which he is still grateful, and still somewhat surprised. The first time we sat down with Jason, chatting with him while he signed cd’s and autographs for fans at the Eyecon Supernatural convention in Florida, he talked about writing “I Do It For You.”
Jason: “I just wanted to write it as a sort of thank you to the fans. They have been unbelievable, and I have a pretty unique perspective because most guests come to a convention after they’re already famous, and I’m not famous yet, but it’s grown so that people are calling me and asking me to be part of the conventions as a separate entity, and it’s because of the fans.”
Of course, most of you know that the guy we have “in common” with Jason is Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles, one of Manns’ best buddies. Sometimes we forget that not everyone thinks the world revolves around SPN, as we found out at Jason’s show at the Tin Angel in Philly last year. Jason introduced us and our friend Kyle to two of his friends, Nico and Jon, and we sat with them to watch the show and chat between sets. Talk eventually turned to how we knew Jason, as might be expected. We mention we’re writing a book on fans. Jon chimes in with some of his own fan stories, since it turns out he’s the longsnapper with the Philadelphia Eagles. Between requests for autographs and pictures from the Eagles fans in the house, we ask Jon how he knows Jason – do they share a little known football past?
Jon: “Oh, no, we have a good buddy who’s a mutual friend, so we met through him.”
Lynn: (distracted by her attempts to help fans take pictures) “Oh, who?”
Jon: “Oh, you’ve probably never heard of him — a guy named Jensen Ackles.”
Kyle: (falls off chair laughing)
Lynn: “Uh, you know that book on fans we told you about?”
Small world, huh? Jon is a great guy too. We had some interesting discussions about the differences between sports fans and media fans and the plans for his wedding. He was a bit dumbfounded that we were writing a book on fans, let alone doing some of our research on fans of Supernatural. I’m not sure he realized there were that many of us. Surprise!
So, speaking of the guy we all seem to have in common — how did Jason meet Jensen?
Jason: “When I first moved to LA in 2002, I did a radio thing that Ryan Seacrest hosted, like a radio version of American Idol. A buddy of mine had sent some of the songs I’d recorded in, and they were like, you’re a finalist. I was like, what are you talking about??! I mean, it was Ryan Seacrest! So literally the day I moved to LA for good I was hearing my voice come out of other people’s car radios. They flew us out to Vegas and we chilled with one of Seacrest’s buddies, Brady. One night Brady and I were hanging and he said oh, a buddy of mine is having a party, you should come. And the party was at Jensen’s. I met Chris Dowling there too (of The Plight of Clownana fame – if you haven’t seen it, oh boy, you’re in for a treat! Jensen’s first production credit too) Just about everyone I know in LA I met through that party.”
Kathy: “Steve (Carlson) told us that sometimes Jensen just starts harmonizing, and that’s how some of their musical collaborations came to be. Is that how you guys started playing together?”
Jason: “That’s exactly what happened. When I met Jensen the first time, he had guitars laying around so I played ‘Crazy Love’, the song that had won the contest. And in a lot of ways, that was kind of the basis for our friendship because we started jamming, and then he said, you should come over tomorrow and we should jam. I was like yeah sure, and we just jammed out and had fun, and played Xbox or whatever. Jensen had a roommate and I had my brother with me, and it became like an every weekend deal. Then a friend asked us to sing ‘Crazy Love’ at this wedding, and one of our friends put it up on his MySpace page.”
(The video soon made it to Youtube, as many of you undoubtedly know – which, amusingly, Jason was unaware of before he went to the Asylum Supernatural convention in the UK with Jensen.)
Jason: “Jensen and I sang that song together, and when we were at Asylum I was just going to make a joke about it, because in the video we’re singing this super lovey dovey song, and there are these big huge football players behind us honestly trying not to laugh because we were singing this together, and it was a beautiful gorgeous day, and when I saw us singing on the video, everyone is cracking up behind us and it was like, oh….so I started talking about it at Asylum and the crowd went crazy, and I looked over at Jensen and he was like, okayyyyy.”
Kathy and Lynn: “The fandom wholeheartedly thanks you.”
Jason: “So billions of emails later, I told Jensen, I get emails every day saying you two should record this, so he was down and was like yeah, let’s do it, so we went down to the studio and recorded it.”
We asked Jason how he ended up performing at Supernatural conventions, and getting pulled into the fandom family.
Jason: “I didn’t anticipate that happening, but I’m very glad it did. The first convention Jensen did was the first Asylum, and he was telling me about it. I had seen Kane (Christian) play music at one for Buffy/Angel , and he had me open for one at the Whiskey, so that was my first introduction to a lot of the fans. There’s a lot of crossover in the fandoms – I love Joss Whedon.”
Lynn and Kathy: “We knew we liked you.”
Jason: “So Jensen was telling me about it and I asked, do you need music at these, and he was like, I don’t know, but I’ll ask.”
And the rest is fandom history.
We caught up with Jason recently at another Philly club, the NorthStar Bar, and he answered some questions about his new CD, titled ‘Soul’. How was the process of writing and producing this one different?
Jason: “It was a bit more collaborative than the first album….there are still love songs on this one, of course, but there are also some darker, more reaching songs. On the first album I just recorded whatever songs I had, whereas on this one, there was a bit more thought put into style and subject matter.”
The new CD includes a cover of one of our favorite songs, ‘Hallelujah’, which Jason has been performing live for some time. He had been reluctant to record it, since there are hundreds of versions all over the place, but eventually his opinion changed.
Jason: “I realized a good song is a good song. That song has such power, I just got addicted to singing it, so I recorded it, and then the response I got from family and friends encouraged me to put it on the album.”
Jason’s favorite cut is “Soul,” which was a joint effort with his brother, Henry O’Connor and the incredibly talented Jonah Dolan. It’s different, illustrating Jason’s growth as an artist, but still accessible to fans of the first album. Jason’s voice is in fine form on this new cd, particularly gorgeous on the title cut and the Hallelujah cover, in our humble opinions.
We asked him if he had a good time at his CD release party at King King in LA – we sure did, especially when so many of Jason’s musician buddies took the stage to back him up.
Jason: “So fun! That’s the best part of the show, when all the musicians get up there and jam out, and people are playing off each other and there’s multiple personalities having fun on stage. It’s an energy that’s difficult to recreate anywhere else.”
And how much fun did he have with that guy we have in common at the Rome SPN con last summer?
Jason: “It was an amazing experience. The fans were amazing. I think Rome was just one of those times when everything seems to conspire to give you the best possible trip. The weather, the time of year, the show, the fans, the city, hanging with the fellas. It was just a really fun trip.”
We asked Jason if he and Jensen were nervous about performing together for the fans at the Rome con.
Jason: “We really didn’t have time to be nervous, because it was completely impromptu! We really had already talked about it and weren’t going to sing anything. When the fans went crazy and Jensen acquiesced, I thought we’d just sing ‘Crazy Love’. He said “nah, they’ve already heard that one, how about, ‘The Weight’?” I told him I didn’t know the guitar part for the chorus, and just handed the guitar over! We really hadn’t rehearsed that one at all!”
Awww for Jensen not wanting to sing something the fans had already heard. Not that they wouldn’t have been ecstatic with a rendition of the phone book set to music, but still…..so sweet. Jensen, Jared, Jim, Jason, and just about everyone else we’ve interviewed (even those whose names don’t start with J…) all have the same appreciation and consideration when it comes to fans.
Jason: “I wrote ‘I Do It For You’ a while ago, in the midst of a few SPN conventions, and I had just started going over to the UK to play. It’s really just a song for the fans. I’m just thankful to the people who come out and support, and buy the albums, because literally without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love.”
What else has Jason been up to? He just finished up a tour of Germany, and the film he and some buddies made last year, Rock Slyde, is now out on DVD (available on www.rockslydethemovie.com ).
Jason: “Even if you’ve already seen the film, you should still get the DVD, because there are some behind the scenes things that are pretty entertaining. It’s actually kind of funny what happens when a few buddies make a tiny little movie for fun. We used 1% of a Hollywood comedy budget, and still had some good folks in it – Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, Jason Alexander, and Eric Roberts, to name a few.”
We’ll save the rest of our conversations with Jason for Fangasm the book, including his eyewitness account of Jensen and the infamous ‘flying fangirl’ at Asylum and his close encounters with fanfiction. Jason, like so many of the other people we’ve interviewed for Fangasm, never fails to impress us with his insightful thoughts on fandom, fame and friendship, and his gratitude for everything that’s come his way through the support of the fans. Until you can buy Fangasm the book for all the friends on your list, here are some great ideas for holiday gift giving –
Jason’s fabulous new CD Soul is available at www.cdbaby.com
Jason’s quirky indie film Rock Slyde is available on DVD at www.rockslydethemovie.com
Happy shopping! And for more information and upcoming performances, check out Jason’s websites at:
27 thoughts on “Jason Manns Does It For You – CDs, DVDs and Duets with Jensen Ackles”
I’ve been waiting for this one. Jason is a truly sweet guy, with the most incredible voice. I get really saddened when people claim he’s riding Jensen’s coat tails, because without him we wouldn’t have had the few instances we do have of Jensen singing.
And I’d love to know where the exclusive download of “I do it for you” is. I really liked that song, and he ain’t exaggerating. He came up to play a gig in Vancouver last year, and it must have cost him more to get there than he was paid for the gig, but he played for hours, and I think he sang every song he knows, and it was the best gig ever! I love Jason.
So agreed!! The digital download of ‘I Do It For You’, which is an awesome song, will be available exclusively with Fangasm the book when it comes out (which we hope will be soon!) 🙂
Great article; what a small world this is indeed! 😀
When will your book be published?
Soon! (although that’s a relative term in publishing sometimes) Glad you enjoyed the interview, and we’ll keep you posted 🙂
awesome – thank you! 😀
Awww Jason is such a sweet guy! I’ve only gotten to see him perform once and I didn’t know his music at the time, but it was such a great show! His performance and Q&A time made me want to know his music better. Time to put his new CD on my wish list. 😉
And speaking of wish lists…when the heck is Fangasm the book coming out?! Forget buying it for friends and family – I wanna buy it for myself! And that digital download will be quite awesome too.
And PS on a Jensen note…I’d love to smack the heck out of that flying fangirl for giving us all a bad name and for scaring the crap out of Jensen. That would have scared the freaking crap right out of me too!
Haha! yeay I agree on everything. But mostly, Jensen seems to be some sort of a beacon for talented people to come and love him…
We’re so grateful we got to know Jason and his music – one of the great things about fandom, how it expands your horizons in so many ways. We also can’t wait for Fangasm to finally come out, so we can share more of the stories – good, bad, and just plain hysterical 🙂
I don’t see what is so special about this guy? The only reason why he has a fanbase is because of his association with Jensen. If they’d never met, he’d still be a struggling musician. Frankly, he has absolutely nothing to do with Supernatural and if the fans could get past that Jensen connection, they’d see he’s not all that great either. He’s doing nothing but riding on his coattails.
Sometimes fame is in part about who you know, you’re right, but sometimes you discover things you end up loving that you wouldn’t have found any other way, and for that we’re grateful. The SPN fandom in particular loves to adopt people into its fold, which is one of the things we like about it – it is a bit unusual in that respect tho!
I want your book and now!!! 😀
Nice interview, it never stops amazing me how NICE everyone seems to be. I hope I get to go to a convention sometime, ’cause you know… awesomeness. *sigh*
I Love Steve Carlson!
We hope you get to a convention too – the chance to connect with other fans, as well as the truly nice people who make SPN, is wonderful. Keep your fingers crossed for Fangasm sooner rather than later 🙂
I met him at A5, he was beyond awesome. Really hope he comes to A6 too <3 His show in the evening on saturday was soooo good, that was after the meet & greet of course, fondest memory of that was getting hit on the head with a penguin biscuit bar by Jason, getting a hug from him cos of it, and then flailing with my friend over this, AND getting odd looks off Misha because of it LOL. (He instigated the whole sweet/food fight hehe)
Ohhhh A5 was so good… had to get a signed CD off Jason too, on the sunday, Siv lent me the money to get it cos the cash machine at the Hilton had run out XD. Ohhhh my god he better come back, I wanna see if he remembers me lol.
Sounds like you had a blast! LOL Sounds quite memorable too, so we’re betting Jason will remember. 🙂
Thanks for the up-close and personal with Jason; I really enjoyed it! So – when do we get to see the book , hmm? I think I want to get my copy autographed by everyone in it … *grin*
I think everyone should get their copy autographed – every time we see Jared or Jensen, they immediately ask, when’s the book coming out?! So clearly they’re dying to read it — and sign it too 🙂
I loved this! Jason is such a sweet guy and was so easy to talk to when I met him at a con. I’ve seen him play a few times and am always blown away. I was singing his songs for days after the convention!
So looking forward to reading more of this. When will the book be released? *waiting on the edge of my seat*
Totally agreed, his songs get stuck in my head and put a smile on my face for days 🙂 Keep your fingers crossed for Fangasm the book to be out soon, so we can finally share the rest of our SPN roadtripping stories — even the embarrassing ones 🙂
I couldn’t agree more. As much as I fell out of love with this fandom and eventually with the show as a whole, I will always be thankful that through it, I was introduced to Steve’s and Jason’s talent.
We call it ‘fandom bleed’ in the book, that phenomenon where you discover something through fandom and end up loving it on its own merits, sometimes long after the original thing you fanned no longer exists. (Though we confess to a rather striking ongoing love for this particular Show. As you may have noticed. LOL)
Great interview as usual ladies. I really enjoy “Soul”, though my favorite song is “Rooftop Rendevous” (yeah, Hallelujah’s okay too……. LOL)
And I’m not sure it’s been asked enough yet, so When is the book coming out????
NEVER asked enough!!!!!!! From your words to the publishers’ ears 🙂
Thank you for such a wonderful article.
Jason is such a lovely person and talented musician.
And, a lifesaver, (whose name means Healer), who will always have a special and warm place in my heart. 🙂
I look forward to the hardcopy of the book when it is published.
Jason really has been a lifesaver — you can testify to that! And we totally agree, both about his musical talent and the fact that he’s simply a great guy 🙂
Thanks – I always love reading your interviews:p Will your book be sold internationally (i.e. Australia)? I just cannot wait to read it:)