We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Frahm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Working a little outside of the lines has always been a part of who I am—even literally! As soon as I could scribble in a coloring book, my aim was to draw out of bounds and make my own creation. My parents were great at throwing things at a wall with me and seeing what stuck, and even early on that was working out little story ideas into homemade comics made of three hole-punched construction paper and pipe cleaners.
My sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Paxton, offered the biggest catalyst to harvest my creativity. A one-off assignment to write a story became a semester-long one, and ‘Rocket 2032’ became my first published book at age 14. This wouldn’t have ever happened without her help, or my parents, or late-night conversations with my sister and my best friends about how to keep the story going.
My sister, Jacqueline, is a creative herself. She’s a makeup artist who runs a successful beauty blog called JmarieOnline. Her artistic intuition guided her to make this brand for herself, and I wanted to follow suit with something that I was passionate about. Because of this, I began writing about music in local papers. This has now springboarded itself into everything I’m doing now!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to. Something I’ve had to come to grips with is that even some of the biggest names on the indie circuit still have day jobs. So, I have my day job and that is a major part of what allows me to take care of myself and my loved ones. What still keeps me going, though—and what keeps my sleep schedule way out of whack, most days—is what I’m doing creatively. Sometimes this manifests itself into a bunch of reads or likes or views, which I’m grateful for. What I’ve learned most, though, is this: for as many reasons that I write about music or write fiction, or take part in podcasts or interviews, or organize shows at local venues for touring acts, or what-have-you… I mostly do it for myself. Because there can be so little traditional payoff in this business (read: money), the sheer preservation of who I really am is what fuels my art and freelance or volunteer work—the work that I’m most proud of. My Papa said to always do your best, no matter what it’s at, and I do give my day job my all and enjoy it for what it is. I just also know where my heart’s really at.
So, what I want to communicate most with people who read this piece is just that: I do this because I have to, because it’s where my heart is really at and always will be. If you see my name in a byline or on a marquee, it’s because it represents a slice of what I’m most passionate about.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When we were in high school, Trevor would travel from Roseville, CA to Tucson multiple times to visit. Some of the best memories I’ll ever keep were from these times spent with my dear, oldest friend. But, heck, now we’re older and need that redux. He’ll bring his soon-to-be wife along with him and we’ll hit all of the usual haunts for a great, music (and food) driven time out in the Old Pueblo.
There’s the BioSphere 2 out near Oracle that’s essential for anyone even remotely interested in biology and Mission San Xavier del Bac near Green Valley or the Presidio Museum in Downtown Tucson for those who want a walk through history. We’ll almost definitely hit Monterey Court to catch a folk show from the likes of Liz & Pete or the Whiskeypalians. It’s something of our own Hotel Cafe or Caffe Lena, but in a cool, outdoor setting made out of an old motor court. Of course, Club Congress, the Rialto, Fox, and 191 Toole in Downtown Tucson are some other fantastic music venues. We’re also bound to hit the Folk Shop, which is one of the coolest acoustic instrument stores I’ve ever been to, and Bookman’s—Arizona’s own huge local thrift chain. Raging Sage has the best Italian sodas and lemon bars, so we’re hitting that spot, too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yeah! Besides my family and teachers, I’d like to thank all of the friends I’ve made along the way. From my childhood best pals, Trevor and Jose, to the folks I’d met through middle and high school and beyond—including my podcast co-host, Lister Potter III, Jake, and Eric.
The Tucson music scene is a special place, and I can’t help any one person or organization for helping to harvest what we have here. This goes out to my buddies, and amazing artists: Petie Ronstadt, Don Armstrong, Matt & Rebekah Rolland, John Goraj, Wally Lawder, and all of my associates at the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, Monterey Court and more who have made life out here even more worth the livin’.
Jack Frahm JmarieOnline Patrick McKenzie Jack Frahm John Altschiller Nicholas Horner TKMA