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Jonny Polonsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jonny Polonsky
Jonny Polonsky video still (cropped).jpg
Background information
Born (1973-07-10) July 10, 1973 (age 47)
OriginChicago, Illinois, United states
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, drums, piano, organ, synthesizer, Wurlitzer, Howitzer, pump organ, quagmire, glass armonica, clavinet, mellotron, harmonium, melodica, ukulele, lap steel, dobro, mandolin, mandocello, banjo, harmonica, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, flute, recorder, finch, straw, oud, sax, balalaika, sitar, bajo sexto, ondes martenot, toy piano
Years active1996–present

Jonny Polonsky (born July 10, 1973) is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.


Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, Polonsky began writing, recording and self-releasing homemade cassettes as a teenager, under the name The Amazing Jonny Polonsky. Titles included Aw, Blow it Out Yer Ass!, Premium White American, and I Like Porn. Polonsky handed these tapes out to friends, and to musicians he admired. Using the 411 public phone records, Polonsky was able to reach and befriend musical heroes of his such as guitarists Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), Zander Schloss (Joe Strummer, Circle Jerks), Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie, Tin Machine), and Pixies singer Frank Black/Black Francis.

Marc Ribot introduced legendary New York composer John Zorn to these early tapes, and Zorn invited Polonsky to play his New Jewish Music festival in 1992 at CBGB's Gallery. Polonsky's band featured Marc Ribot on guitar, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) on bass, and Sim Cain (Rollins Band) on drums. Of that performance, singer Jeff Buckley (who was in attendance) was later quoted as saying, "He came to CBGB's Gallery and ripped it up...He killed 'em...The charm of it is that he's brought it into his own thing. It's a nice miniature. He does it with soul; you can tell the difference between someone who just slips into The Beatles or something and someone like him."[1]

A year later Reeves Gabrels introduced Polonsky to Frank Black, who became an immediate fan. In 1994, original Pixies manager Ken Goes began representing Polonsky, and Frank Black produced a demo for him. On the strength of this demo recording, iconic record producer Rick Rubin signed Polonsky as a solo artist to his label American Recordings.[2]

The Frank Black-produced demos were eventually scrapped, and Polonsky decided to rerecord the songs in his childhood home in Wilmette, using digital home recording equipment. He produced, recorded and performed everything himself on his debut record for American. Hi My Name is Jonny was mixed by super-producer/mixer Brendan O'Brien (Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine) and was released by American Recordings on January 16, 1996. It received a great critical reception from international news outlets, from The New York Times[3] to MTV.[4]

Immediately after the record's release, Polonsky and his live band toured as the main support act for Frank Black for twelve weeks in North America.[5] They also performed on the Second Stage for the 1996 Lollapalooza summer tour.[6]

Polonsky then disappeared from recording and touring as a solo artist. He reemerged as a touring musician in the late 1990s and into the new millennium with Local H[7] and Pete Yorn,[8] among others.

In 2004 Polonsky released The Power of Sound, and he and his band supported Audioslave on their five-week North American club tour in the spring of 2005.[9]

In 2006, Polonsky formed the short-lived band Big Nose with Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.[10] Big Nose collaborated on two songs with Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan. Keenan ended up using the two songs, Sour Grapes and Momma Sed, for his music/art project Puscifer.[11] Polonsky wrote, recorded and toured with Puscifer[12] from 2007 to 2010.

Since that time, he has also recorded and/or performed with Johnny Cash.,[13] Neil Diamond,[13] and Dixie Chicks[13]

In 2012, Polonsky released his third full length, Intergalactic Messenger of Divine Light and Love as an internet only digital release. It was recorded in Rick Rubin's recording studio, Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, and mixed by Tom Petty/Slayer mix engineer Jim Scott.

In 2015, The Other Side of Midnight was released. It was performed, produced and recorded by Polonsky, and mixed by Dean Hurley at David Lynch's Asymmetrical Studios.

Polonsky's fifth full length record, Fresh Flesh was released in January 2018. It was recorded with his live band in two days at Rick Rubin's studio, Shangri La Studios, in Malibu CA. It features guest performances by vocalist Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age), and drummer Kevin Haskins of Bauhaus (band), Love and Rockets (band), and Tones on Tail.

Kingdom of Sleep, Polonsky’s sixth full length studio album was released on March 6, 2020 to an overwhelming critical reception. Cedric Bixler-Zavala, singer of The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In contributed vocals to the record.



  • Kingdom of Sleep (2020) Ghostworks Recordings
  • UNRELEASHED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018 (2018) Jett Plastic Recordings
  • Fresh Flesh (2018) Sound Science Industries
  • The Other Side of Midnight (2015) Sound Science Industries
  • Vision (EP) (2014) self-released
  • Intergalactic Messenger of Divine Light and Love (2012) self-released
  • The Power of Sound (2004) Loveless Records
  • Touched by Genius: The Ultimate TAJP Collection (2003) self-released
  • There Is Something Wrong With You (EP) (2001) eggBERT Records
  • Hi My Name is Jonny (1996) American Recordings

Appearances as instrumentalist


  1. ^ "Kingdom for a Kiss – Jeff Buckley in Words: DoubleTake Interview". Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Me, Big – Chicago Tribune". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "THE POP LIFE;Selling the Return of the Beatles, Part 2 – Page 2 – New York Times". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Jonny Polonsky: We Like Him, We Really Like Him! - Music, Celebrity, Artist News –". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Polonsky And His Music: A Less-traveled Path -". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Lollapalooza '96 Schedule – Los Angeles Times". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ten Questions for Jonny Polonsky". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "Live Review: Pete Yorn – No Depression Americana and Roots Music". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  9. ^ "Audioslave Readies Spring North American Tour – Billboard". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  10. ^ "Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax Set to Release 'Surf's Up' (Music From The Ocean Picture) on Tuesday, June 5". May 17, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2014 – via PRNewswire.
  11. ^ "V Is for Vagina – Puscifer – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards – AllMusic". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Phil and Tony Bonyata. "Puscifer concert review, Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee, WI March 30, 2010". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "Jonny Polonsky – Credits – AllMusic". Retrieved January 11, 2014.

External links and references

This page was last edited on 23 April 2020, at 23:53
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