punk globe logo


By Kim Acrylic

Johnny Lilac

Johnny Lilac

Punk Globe: Thank you for taking time to do this interview,you're quite amazing, I must say. Your music is very folksy,who are your influences?

Johnny Lilac: Thank you for giving me the chance to do this interview. I thank you for listening to my music. I would have to say my biggest musical influences are old timers such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan; but there is one band that I look up to a lot and go to their shows as often as I can and that would be Two Gallants. They are a very hard folk (ha if that's even a genre). Their music helps me tremendously when stuck on a song.

Punk Globe: If you could, which old time musician would you want to get advice from?

Johnny Lilac: Oh, if I could go back in time, I would definitely go talk to Pete Seeger. Seeger to me is like Woody to Bob Dylan. I listen to his music every single day. His lyrics are so simple yet elegant. I would love to question him on song writing.

Punk Globe: Are you political at all?

Johnny Lilac: I would say that I am very political. Politics play a role in almost every song that I write. This is where the Seeger and Dylan come out in me. My lyrics talk about the ongoing war and our current government. This election has stirred up some new songs as well. I will be hitting the studio for those very soon. I think that politics are a very important issue in our world today and I don't believe enough young people are involved or care about what's going on. I hope that with my songs, they will ingrain the message in them that this is our world to change and we need to step up and make that change happen.

Punk Globe: How important was the election to you this year(2008)?

Johnny Lilac: The election was very important. As I just mentioned, it inspired a few new songs, but these songs will have a bit of a different feel to them. Some of my past political songs have been very angry. Just full of angst and frustration. These new ones have a happier, brighter feel. You can tell that they are full of hope. This is the first election that I have been able to vote in, so I don't have much ground to stand on, but from history books I have read, I believe this is one of the most important elections in the history of the United States of America.

Punk Globe: Whats the biggest challenge in the music business for you?

Johnny Lilac: The biggest challenge, I think for any young musician out there, is exposure. I live in North Orange County (roughly 30 miles from Hollywood), so there are a lot of musicians. I mean on one hand it has been a blessing being born and raised in the Mecca of entertainment, but on the other hand, there is so much competition out there that is extremely difficult to stand out.

Punk Globe: Do you believe in prayer or rituals before a show?

Johnny Lilac: I don't do anything in particular before shows, no. Usually before I go on stage, I watch the other band(s) that are on before I am and just enjoy. I try to keep my mind off of the audience behind me and just keep my mind on the music. It's like a fog rolls over me and all I can see, think, and hear is music.

Punk Globe: Most amazing fan story?

Johnny Lilac: Ha, I was playing the Blue Cafe in Huntington Beach, which is a bar. As my set wore on, I could see this guy in the crowd just into the music. I could also see drink after drink go down. As he got more and more drunk, he got louder and louder and he started singing my lyrics. By the last song in my set, he was against the stage singing along with me so loudly that I could hardly hear the back monitors. It was awesome.

Punk Globe: Best compliment you've been given?

Johnny Lilac

Johnny Lilac: I would say that the best compliment I have ever been given was by a homeless man in San Fransisco. I wish I knew his name, but he disappeared so quickly I couldn't ask him. Anyways, I was playing with a group of people in Golden Gate Park. We were all just jamming. Making everything up on spot. This homeless guy came and sat right next to me and just got lost in the music. He was dancing and singing and overall just having a great time. After a while, he came to, leaned over to me, and said, "I haven't felt this good since my acid trip at Woodstock. Thanks for keeping the music alive, brother."

Punk Globe: Do you think your music will make a huge mark for more than just a few decades?

Johnny Lilac: I would like to think that my music helps change things forever. As I've said before, a lot of my music promotes change in this world. If people take from my music the message that I am trying to spread and apply it to their everyday life, the world will be a better place.

Punk Globe: Who are your personal legends?

Johnny Lilac: Definitely Seeger, Guthrie and Dylan. I would have to say Jim Morrison, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, and John Lennon, too, though. In listening to their lyrics and music, they have so much to say. Such amazing talent.

Punk Globe: Worst fear?

Johnny Lilac: In the days leading up to a show, I have this recurring dream that as I'm playing my set on stage, I puke on everyone in the audience. Come the night of the show its still running through my head. Its not until I start watching the other musicians that I forget about it.

Punk Globe: Most embarrassing moment?

Johnny Lilac: It was one of my first gigs ever. I was playing a backyard party and in the middle of my set, everything in my head went blank. I couldn't think of what chords I was supposed to play. I even forgot the lyrics. I had to end my set in the middle of a song and like three songs early. I thought I was going to throw up.

Punk Globe: If you were a rock star in a past life,who would you be?

Johnny Lilac: I think I relate most to John Lennon. Especially post-Beatles Lennon. So many of his songs relay the message of peace and change throughout our world.

Punk Globe: Whats the most important message you want to relay through your songs?

Johnny Lilac: Change. Change with our government, change within wars, change for the hungry. I want to raise awareness to issues such as these within our world and promote change. If we all work together, this world would be a more beautiful place to live.

Punk Globe: Just how personal are your lyrics?

Johnny Lilac: My lyrics are me. Everything that I write about are direct reflection of my feelings inside. I am not here to write songs that are just for making money. I write what I feel. If I had to compare my lyrics to anything, I would say they are excerpts from my diary. It doesn't get anymore personal than that.

Punk Globe: Whats the best concert you've been to in your life?

Johnny Lilac: Damien Rice. I saw him about a year and a half ago at the Greek Theatre in L.A.

His performance was amazingly beautiful. There were times that I wanted to cry because of the emotions that were stirred up by watching him.

Johnny Lilac

Punk Globe: Has that inspired your stage presence?

Johnny Lilac: Oh, most definitely. Every show that I've played since, I picture him in my head. Because it was such an amazing performance, I try to take as many aspects from it that I can to beautify my performance.

Punk Globe: How long have you know this is what you want to do with your life?

Johnny Lilac: Well, I've always loved music. I got my first guitar for my fifth birthday from my father, but it didn't really enter my head that I would love to do this for a living up until about two and a half years ago. I was reading a biography on Bob Dylan and fell in love with the idea. He started from nothing and look at him now. It gave me the hope that I can actually do whatever I please to do with my life.

Punk Globe: What was the first concert you've ever been to?

Johnny Lilac: The first that I remember was a reggae festival in Long Beach, commemorating the life of Bob Marley. I was probably four or five, and went with my mom and her friend. I remember being enthralled by the lights and big sounds. Also, all of the people dancing and the energy running through the crowd grasped me. It took me to a higher level of consciousness that I have never forgotten.

Punk Globe: What band or artist do you find under rated or over rated?

Johnny Lilac: I think the bands Two Gallants and The Mountain Goats are very underrated. Both of them have tremendous talent, but far too few people have even heard of them. They definitely deserve more attention.

Punk Globe: You mention Hitler and Charles Manson as influences, care to explain?

Johnny Lilac: Both of these figures have such a big part in our history. Obviously though, they are not admirable people. As I said earlier, a lot of my lyrics are full of angst and frustration. These two figures release these emotions in me. When I think of the acts of either of these men, it reminds me of the black marks on our society and helps funnel my thoughts into a song. This is why both of these men influence me.

Punk Globe: Your vocals are very Dylan and Guthrie, How much did Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie truly inspire you?

Johnny Lilac: I'm not sure a day goes by in which I do not listen to Dylan, Guthrie (Arlo or Woody), or Seeger. Their music and thoughts contain so much that I can't help pick up a guitar after listening to them. I think every song that I have written has been after listening to one, if not all three, of them. They help me think straight, even if my emotions are crooked.

Punk Globe: Any message to me or our Punk Globe readers?

Johnny Lilac: This world is ours. Let's not let other people tell us how it should be run. Get up, use your voice, and make a change. Even if you just make people smile everyday, this world will be more beautiful. Do what you want. Don't let anybody slow you down. Life is short, experience it well. "The core of every man's existence is defined through experiences." -Chris McCandless

Punk Globe: Well that's it for now.Thanks so much for you time,luv.

-- interview by Kim Acrylic from Punk Globe magazine 2008

back to homepage