Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 13, 2008

WEB EXTRA: Q&A with rising Andover rocker Martin Johnson

The Andover Townsman caught up with Martin Johnson, frontman for the band Boys Like Girls, for a Q+A:

What would you be doing right now, if you weren't in Boys Like Girls?

Either being on a street corner somewhere begging for money with a guitar, or doing what I do now. Some things are a stroke of luck, and I've been blessed with a lot of luck along the way. I can't picture my life without music in it.

What's the first thing you do when you come back to Andover for a visit?

I run directly to my front door and give my dad a hug. I miss him.

Then I drive straight to Harrison's (roast beef restaurant in North Andover) and order a roast beef with mayo and horse radish. Then I call my friends, Dan Gillan and Brian Ma, to get together.

What advice would you give to current Andover High students who want to make it in the music business?

If you have that passion, don't follow the norm. Don't get caught up in the expectations of our town. We have one of the most incredible towns in the universe to grow up in, but it's not perfect for allowing people to break out of the mold.

A kid like me that did not apply to college, but graduated with high honors, no one understands. There is such a blueprint for success of an Andoverite, and that's not necessarily everybody's blueprint.

I did my own thing, and I think that's important. I said, "I'm going to go get a record deal." It was hard, and I ate a lot of Ramen noodles.

How did you learn to play guitar?

My dad (Daniel Johnson) was in folk band in college, so I picked up his old guitar. I learned to play "Wild Thing" and "Louie and Louie," and from there on you couldn't break me away. I got my first guitar for Christmas at age 7, and now I own 23 guitars.

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