John Sebastian Comes to The Center For The Arts
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and founder of the Lovin' Spoonful John Sebastian brings his timeless catalog and stories about seminal moments in music history to Pepperdine University's Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Thursday, January 10 at 8 p.m.
Tickets, priced starting at $20 for adults and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available now by calling (310) 506-4522 or visiting arts.pepperdine.edu. More information about Sebastian is available at johnbsebastian.com.
Over four decades the contributions of John Sebastian have become a permanent part of the American musical fabric. Born March 17, 1944 in New York City, Sebastian's father was a noted classical harmonica player and his mother a writer of radio programs. Regular visitors to the family's Greenwich Village home included Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie, so it was no surprise when young Sebastian became involved in the folk music revival that swept the nation in the late '50s. Making his debut as a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, his skills on guitar, harmonica, and autoharp soon made him a sought-after accompanist on the Village folk scene, working with Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, and many others.
As the lead singer/songwriter for the Lovin' Spoonful, Sebastian played a major role in the mid-'60s rock revolution; the group's first seven singles, including hits such as "Do You Believe in Magic?" "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," and "Daydream," made it into the Top 10, an unprecedented and utterly unthinkable feat at the height of Beatlemania. Inspired by a combination of older material from blues, country, and folkand jug band sources-what we now term "roots music"-and making it sound modern, Sebastian's original compositions helped carry the musical tradition into the future.
After leaving the group he founded, Sebastian bore witness to another turn of the musical zeitgeist with his performances at massive festivals like Woodstock and its English equivalent the Isle of Wight. He had been involved in music for films (most notably Francis Ford Coppola's You're A Big Boy Now and Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?) and Broadway, but when producers of a TV show called Welcome Back Kotter commissioned a theme song in 1976, Sebastian's "Welcome Back" became a chart-topping solo record.
Throughout the '70s and '80s he continued to record and tour, pleasing old fans and winning new ones. In 1993 he published the delightful children's book JB's Harmonica. The '90s also saw Sebastian return to the group format with the J-Band, a contemporary celebration of his jug band heritage. The acclaim the group received was gratifying, but bittersweet; the group's albums contain some of the last recorded performances of blues pioneer Yank Rachell and washtub/jug virtuoso Fritz Richmond.
Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, Sebastian continues to spread his gospel of American roots music a various venues and events. He is the subject of the PBS special Do You Believe In Magic: The Music of John Sebastian. He has also lent his music in support of social, environmental, and animal rights causes. Recently he joined a delegation of songwriters (including Lamont Dozier, Allen and Marilyn Bergman, and Mike Stoller) in Washington, DC to campaign on behalf of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA).
Sebastian's music continues to be a staple of the American consciousness, while Sebastian himself is also a welcome media presence; his commentary, insights, anecdotes, and stories are regularly featured in print, radio, TV, and film documentary projects. Sebastian is not only a master musician, writer and performer, he remains one of the best ambassadors American music has ever had.
The Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University provides high-quality activities for over 50,000 people from over 1,000 zip codes annually through performances, rehearsals, museum exhibitions, and master classes. Located on Pepperdine's breathtaking Malibu campus overlooking the Pacific, the Center serves as a hub for the arts, uniquely linking professional guest artists with Pepperdine students as well as patrons from surrounding Southern California communities. Facilities include the 450-seat Smothers Theatre, the 118-seat Raitt Recital Hall, the "black box" Helen E. Lindhurst Theatre, and the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art.
TICKETS: (310) 506-4522 or arts.pepperdine.edu