Jonah Matranga and his art are essentially unclassifiable. His music lies somewhere in between Elliott Smith, U2 and Cheap Trick, but it doesn't really fit into any genre.
Over the last 15 years, he's fronted hard rock bands (Far, Gratitude) and made classic indie records (onelinedrawing, New End Original). He's made records with budgets ranging from $300 to $300,000.
Jonah has influenced artists from Deftones to Blink-182, but he sounds nothing like either of them. He's toured with artists from The Weakerthans to Sepultura, and has respect from people all over the music world. He's recently turned up on hip-hop records from Fort Minor and Lupe Fiasco.
Jonah has played as many house shows as he has huge festivals, and he brings the same thing regardless of where he's playing -- accomplished, ambitious songwriting, an abundance of wit and honesty, and an interest in making something new every time.
There is no one quite like Jonah.
"In numbers: 15 years, 4 band names, 6-full lengths, 5 EPs, a few splits, several comps, 100+ songs, 1000+ shows. Sinead O'Connor meets Cheap Trick. Zeppelin are the rulers. Neil Young is a huge hero for the chances he's taken. Anyone that takes chances, be it Prince, PE, Fugazi, Sinead, Miles, Dylan... I love that, that is what inspires me. I am a mess of art-school ideals and populist sentiment, and I love that paradox. I'm okay with (and happy about) being considered influential in the context of post-hardcore, anti-macho rock, but I take no responsibility for McEmo as it generally manifests today. I deplore the commodification of sincerity, and big budgets to make people look/sound 'authentic'. If I go there, it's real, not a clever put-on. Bands have been a tough one. Far was a good growing up. New End and Gratitude were nightmares in many ways, though I'm really proud of the songs and the shows. It taught me finally that while I love rock, I can't do it in a traditional, 'band' way. I'm not good at it, and I don't like it. Nothing special about playing guitar, it's about what you put into it. I still love singing, and am overwhelmed regularly listening to music. I am an utter rock geek, an art idealist, and I absolutely believe in the transformative, transcendent power of rocking the fuck out. Rocking the fuck out is in no way tied to volume or mood, it's just letting go."
- Jonah, Jan2006, San Francisco.