Behind-the-scenes New York music scene mainstay Jon Haber has finally managed to achieve a goal he’s had since he was six years old, when he first picked up a guitar, with the release of his debut album, DEC3, through his own Raddist label on September 30th. The man who owns the successful New York-based Alto Music instrument retail chain has now come full circle and is back on the other side of the counter, as a musician, songwriter and producer, which Haber calls a lifelong dream come true.
“I was in bands when I was younger, but I never stopped writing songs,” says the 49-year-old Haber, who opened his first store when he was 24, temporarily putting an end to his playing career. “I didn’t want to look back when I was 70 and regret I hadn’t done it. I never had the opportunity to prove what I could do on this level.”
Haber, who played virtually every instrument on the album, as well as wrote and produced all the songs, is joined by two longtime collaborators, singer Chris Saulpaugh and drummer Mike Kalajian, whose births in three different decades give the band its name. Veteran keyboard wizard Shane Keister (Paul McCartney, Five for Fighting) and Coheed and Cambria’s Zach Cooper also make cameos on the album.
With influences that range from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Boston, Radiohead and Foreigner to the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel and The Police, DEC3 is music for people who grew up on rock ‘n’ roll and the diversity of AM/FM radio, says Haber.
The first single, “Red Line,” a song that tells the story of the Syrian civil war from the viewpoint of a citizen caught up in the massacre, in which hundreds of thousands have been killed, and who is rapidly losing hope, will be released with an accompanying video on August 6th.
As a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Haber has been an activist, who has lobbied Washington for more music education programs in schools. He also appeared in a national American Express Plum Card commercial for his Alto Music stores that stressed “putting instruments in the hands of more people.” His business subsequently mushroomed into a musical instrument distribution company and an international manufacturing company.
DEC3 is the culmination of a lifelong devotion to music.
“I’m doing this because I love it,” Haber continues. “This is a passion project.”