Mantis Groove (Artist Project)
My first band (Children@Play) pivoted “styles” and later became a band called “Mantis Groove”. When it disbanded (with the members eventually going their separate ways), I continued the project alone. I Recorded, Produced, and Mixed everything myself. Ryan Smith played Chorus guitars on “Date A Stripper”, and most guitars on Approach. I played drums, bass, keyboards, and additional guitars on everything else (as well as all the vocals). Kevin Sorensen played additional bass on “Approach”. All words and music by me, except “Approach”, where I wrote all the music and the words were written by myself and Jimmy Pleasants.
“Approach” — Mantis Groove
This song was written for Rachel. She was a girl I met at one of our early performances after moving our band to Nashville. There was something about her that made me both really like her and terrified to even say hi at the same time. This went beyond my normal neurosis and ended out dragging painfully out over quite a while. This is actually the first of two songs I ended up writing about her (the other being “Learning” on the solo songwriting stuff below). Luckily (unlike the disaster of my crush), this song came out really well. I wrote the Pre-Chorus and Chorus lyrics, and our frontman Jimmy actually wrote the rap verses quite authentically from my perspective and captured a lot of how I felt.
“Date A Stripper” — Mantis Groove
This song has a funny story. It’s actually written about a stripper I met (and developed an enormous crush on), later befriended, and then introduced to my best friend pushing them to date (I didn’t like either of their previous partners and really thought they both needed to be with a good person for once). They actually ended up marrying, having a kid, and are still together after… I think they’ve been married now for more than 13, and dating even longer. Anyway, this song was obviously written in the “enormous crush”, pre-their relationship “phase”.
“Big Fat Daddy (Interlude)” — Mantis Groove
“Your Type (remix excerpt)” — Mantis Groove
“Fuck You (demo clip)” — Mantis Groove
Mantis Groove (Live Concert Recordings)
“Approach (Live)” — Mantis Groove
“Clown (Live)” — Mantis Groove
“Even Up The Score (Live)” — Mantis Groove
“Not Popular (Live)” — Mantis Groove
“Like This (Live)” — Mantis Groove
Jon Michael Jewett (Solo Artist) — Pre-Production & Songwriting Demos
“I Am Here” — Jon Michael Jewett
Probably the pinnacle of my songwriting at that time of my life. I performed this song at a school-wide assembly at my high school (the year after I’d graduated, as my older sister was a teacher and responsible for music that day). I remember my high school counselor (and close friend/mentor) hearing it, and thinking “oh thank God he’s got it, he’s figured himself out”. Little did he know, knowing, and doing, were to be far from the same for me.
“Falling In Love” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written in… I’d say maybe 2002? I had recently moved back to Nashville from Los Angeles, and I met a girl named Laura, in a bar. She took me home with her, and I barely kissed her. We hung out a few more times, and she slept over at my house. Same, in fact, I don’t think I even kissed her. She reasonably lost interest fairly quickly, but that just made me “love” her more. Jesus don’t get me started on my dysfunction at that time… ridiculous.
“Learning” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written quickly in one night. After getting a phone call from Rachel (a girl I’d met not long before). As with much of my writing at the time, it follows the theme of being deeply depressed and flawed personally, and immediately “falling in love” so she can “fix” me right away.
I originally wrote and recorded this song on my old “Rough Sketches” demo. This version happened when I stopped at my friend Chad Carlson’s house (in Tempe, AZ at the time), on my way moving out to Los Angeles. I recorded the vocals and acoustic guitar quickly, then (as he was a multi-instrumentalist and in the process of becoming a Recording Engineer and Producer) he went back and played all the guitar and bass, put in some samples, and put this whole thing together.
Words and Music by Jon Michael Jewett. Acoustic Guitar and Vocals by Jon Michael Jewett. Electric Guitar, Bass, samples and arrangement, by Chad Carlson.
“Learning (acoustic)” — Jon Michael Jewett
This is how the song was originally written and conceived. The rock version (above) was all Chad Carlson’s awesome creation.
“I Will” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written for Kim. One of the more interesting girls I dated in my youth. Her bold, forward, and fearless attitude allowed us to actually date a little and give it a try on more than one occasion. She was of course no match for my neurosis and dysfunction, but she did better than most.
The song was written simply trying to put some of my feelings into words, and ending up as an expression of willingness for selfless sacrifice.
Recorded Live. From old “Rough Sketches” demo. Words and Music by Jon Michael Jewett. Piano and Vocals by Jon Micheal Jewett.
“For Me” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written right after my band (Mantis Groove) broke up, and I was producing a demo for a singer-songwriter named Kevin Johnson. He was a great singer, and a good songwriter (there’s a song near the bottom of this page). He had talked me into performing at a songwriter’s night at the Hard Rock downtown, and I’d just written this a few days before, and I was pushing myself to allow myself to be more vulnerable in my songwriting, and so I did. The song was lyrically scary for me (musically scary on the bridge, but that’s a different story), and the performance terrified me. But it was also fairly pivotal in my development. Both musically and personally.
“You’ve Got A Friend” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written during the summer before my senior year in high school. I had vaguely befriended a girl named Ashley. She was very attractive (and kind, and cool, and also a little depressed) so naturally, I fell into a codependent, neurotic, one-sided facsimile of “love”. Nothing ever happened there (except her dating one of my best friends… but that happened all the time) though. The one good thing that came from it, however, was it was one of my first reasonably “proper” songwriting endeavors. I had performed in front of our school my senior year on piano, and guitar, and so I decided to get together another guitarist, and a few singer friends and I performed this song during our graduation ceremony while playing electric bass and with background singers. It was quite fun (and of course terrifying).
“Close To Me” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was while I was away at college, about someone I met the summer before my senior year. I met my older sister at Waffle House after she got off her shift at Cracker Barrel one night, and she brought a friend “Charla”. I was very quickly smitten. Charla ended up going to the same high school as me (a year behind), and after being away for a year, I still saw her here and there as she was in my younger sister’s class. Nothing ever happened of course, but this was one of my many experiences of pining.
“Wanting More Of You” — Jon Michael Jewett
I’m not sure these lyrics mean anything. All I remember is being in a phase of trying to establish myself as a multi-instrumentalist (wanting to be as good of a guitarist as I was a pianist), sitting around listening to Evan & Jaron, and or Hanson, and then just writing this all in one quick jag.
“You Did It For Me” — Jon Michael Jewett
Similar to “Without You” (below), this song’s lyrics are in an early, hardly finished being written yet stage. In this instance, the song was about my parents, the conservative religious school and church I was sent to, and is evidence of some very early seeds of my coming atheism. At the time it was mostly a rejection of some of the more crazy cultural and dogmatic views I just couldn’t help but reject.
“Love Me, True” — Jon Michael Jewett
This is another song that was not really formally written completely. It was just feelings, with some music, and the lyrics or idea just kind of came out haphazardly. I wrote this while holed up in the dormitory while away at my first year of college (I didn’t leave my room much). It starts as a (familiar) combination of depression and longing for some girl I supposedly love to “save” me. Then the chorus shifts into an also familiar blurring of an expression of how God loves me/us all, with what was really underneath the writing which was how I desperately wished someone (a girl, this girl, whatever) loved me. Overall fairly unremarkable. Oh, and I ripped off some of the better lyrical imagery from Nouveaux (a Christian rock band).
“Without You” — Jon Michael Jewett
This is one of those songs (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’re a songwriter) that had lyrics that were kind of just, whatever came out of my mouth that fit the phrasing and melody I was writing. Usually, we’ll go back and actually write them up properly after finishing the music. I never really got that far with this song as it was just part of a batch I was doing songwriting demos for and things never went further. The Chorus lyrics and general idea were about my mother, what it’s been like living without her, and how that affected my life growing up (and especially my social and romantic relationships.
“I’m So Alone” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written my junior year in high school. ‘Nothing particularly special about it other than it really captured how I was feeling at the time. If you haven’t noticed. Depression was a big part of my adolescence.
“To Know You” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written for Heather (one of several). I wrote it while away at college. At the time I was depressed, not going to classes, enamored by Michael W. Smith (trying to be him musically), and quite obsessively taken by Heather. She was pretty, nice, willing to talk to me, and very smart and talented as a musician. What more could you ask for?
“Here For You” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written for a girl who I met as a friend of Rachel (for whom “Learning” and “Approach” were written about above). We really had no relationship of any kind, and hardly knew each other. But my bottomless codependent “empathy”, felt and needed to reach out when I heard of someone very close to her dying.
“You Don’t Know Me” — Jon Michael Jewett
This song was written during the time my band (Mantis Groove) had just moved to Nashville and we were all living in an apartment together. Jimmy (our frontman) was probably my closest friend at the time, but he and I were very different. He was quite extroverted and fairly stable, and I was a neurotic mess. So obviously I became hurt and frustrated easily, and often me shutting down emotionally as a coping mechanism was (reasonably, but inaccurately) assumed as arrogance. This was a song about some of that frustration.
“Why?” — Jon Michael Jewett
This is probably the oldest song I’ve written (of those I’ve let see the light of day). I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school at the time. I was just learning to play the piano with any sort of acumen, and while pedestrian, it has a lot of really strong feelings still connected to it… about how I felt at the time.
“The Innocent Party” — Jon Michael Jewett
Another song, also written for Kim. One of many fairly embarrassing things posted on this site. I never recorded this song well, the performance was captured literally as I wrote the song while trying out a new computer-based recording rig (novel at the time). Speaking of it’s writing, I wrote this as she was on the way to my house to pick me up. One of our many attempts. I’m really glad she ended up in love and starting a beautiful family. Regardless of my neurosis, and what the words may say at points in the song, no one was to blame for things not working out between us other than me.
Recorded and performed haphazardly (warning!). Words and Music by Jon Michael Jewett. Guitar and Vocals by Jon Michael Jewett.
Saygoodbye (My Last Band) — Under These City Lights
“Never Goodbye” — Saygoodbye
Under The City Lights (Album):
This was my last (and best) band. I was the drummer, and I did the majority of all the background vocals, and piano. I Produced, Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered this album. I’m especially proud of that, as it came out the best of anything I’d ever worked on, and with the exception of the drum tracking, it was recorded completely with an old Mbox1 and a $200 mic, and then mixed on an old PowerMac G4. No gear or help, just over a year of blood, sweat, and tears (and fury from my band wondering when it would ever be done).
Children@Play (My First Band) — 3 Song Demo
“Not Popular” — Children@Play
“Even Up The Score” — Children@Play
“Carry” — Children@Play
This was my first real rock band. I was the drummer, and I additionally Produced, Recorded, and Mixed this 3 song demo. It came out surprisingly well considering it was literally recorded with a half dozen SM58 mics, a tiny sound mixer, an 8 track recorder, and 1 single multi-effects unit that everything got bounced back and forth through for any processing of any kind.
Once Again (Band I Produced) — 3 Song Demo
“First Passenger” — Once Again
“Yesterday’s Child” — Once Again
“You’re Not My Sunshine” — Once Again
I Produced, Recorded, and Mixed this 3 song demo. My equipment was unbelievably primitive, and I was just starting to learn how to produce and mix, but this came out as one of the first things I was really proud of what I’d done (as it transformed the band’s bare garage band sound into something at least picturable as commercial (in no small part due to their great songwriting of course).
11th Hour (Band I Produced) — 3 Song Demo
“Walk By Faith” — 11th Hour
“Hold On” — 11th Hour
“No Point” — 11th Hour
I Produced, Recorded, and Mixed a 3 song demo for this band. Additionally, I played drums on the first track and did additional vocals/samples/sound design all over.
Kevin Johnson (Artist/Songwriter I Produced) — Demo
“Flew South For The Winter” — Kevin Johnson
This song was written and sung by Kevin Johnson. The arrangement, guitars, and piano by Jon Jewett. Violin by Tim Jewett. Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Jon Jewett. I think this song I’d just started playing guitar more seriously, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually arrange and play both piano and a few guitar parts all myself. It also may have been inspired by an “all over the place” scratch track from the artist. But damn he can sing.
Blanket (Band I Produced) — Movin’ On Up Album
“Mrs. Appleton” — Blanket
“2nd Chance” — Blanket
“Movin’ On Up” — Blanket
I Produced, Recorded, and Mixed an album for this band. Additionally, I played piano and did background vocals on “Mrs. Appleton”, and did some additional vocals/sampling on the intro to 2nd Chance. All songs were written by Chad Carlson. This was the first time I felt comfortable writing my own piano part, vocal harmonies, and arrangements, and felt like I was actually contributing positively to the song rather than just trying to “play along”.