"My songs are vehicles for story telling, but they're also my way of taking something that is subjective and making it objective; allowing me to move beyond whatever hardship or pain might have been the reason for the song in the first place," says Oszajca (pronounced OH-ZSA-KUH, as in the French children's song "Frere Jacques"). "In contrast to my last two records (From There To Here – Interscope and First Sign Of Anything – Warner Bros.) which were both very tailored records, meaning they were very consciously crafted to project a very specific sound, my new record, ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD, is a return to what I have always done most naturally." When asked what that is; "specifically", a smiling Oszajca replied, "Listen to the record."
Indeed, ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD immediately strikes the listener as an emotionally honest and purging album, and as a celebration of John's life long country/folk influences such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Hank Williams, just to name a few. The albums first track, "The Day I Died", showcases John’s original blend of those classic American influences with that of Oszajca’s own modern message and sound, while "Baby Bye Bye", "Damn That Woman", and "Angalyne" vaunt a more Alt/Country sound that is both classic and refreshing with the first listen. Songs like "Sinkin’ In" boast a healthy dose of acoustic verve, while "No Turning Back" is hauntingly stripped bare. The album even contains a reprise of the much loved “Where’s Bob Dylan When You Need Him”, A song that John says he has “recorded so many times he could release it as a double album” but that it is on ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD that he “finally got it right”.
John began the road to making ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD in the fall of 2005 with a phone call to producer Dave Darling, founding member of the critically acclaimed group Boxing Ghandi's and producer of such artists as Brian Setzer, Meredith Brooks, Sprung Monkey, and Echo Brain. Frustrated with his major label experiences John wanted to return to what he felt he had always done best. “I began making music as a teenager, just making the kind of music that I love. That sort of roots/country/folk thing, but with contemporary lyrics and a more experimental sound…”Oh Brother Where Art Thou” on acid. At the time I didn’t even know who, if anyone, was gonna put the record out. But I knew I needed to record it. I felt like it was the record I should have always made. I scraped together my own money, called my producer Dave and asked him if he wanted to make a record. Three Weeks later Elephant Graveyard was born”. It must have been fate because when a major-label-weary Oszajca called a meeting with movie producer Ryan Page (Moog, Lords Of Chaos, What is it, and now founder of Dreamy Draw Music) with the secret plan of convincing Ryan to start a record label with him on which to release Johns passion project ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD, the first words out of Ryan’s mouth upon entering the meeting were, “say, did I tell you I started a record label?”
In the past Oszajca has been known for his wild stage antics, confetti guns, Mariachi bands, scantily dressed back-up singers. John even once had an impersonator perform on his behalf. But much in the way that ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD is a return to John's roots so too is his live performance in support of this new album. “The show will be much more intimate than some of the ones in the past. For the most part it will just be me and a drummer with the occasional accompaniment of perhaps an accordion or even a fiddle player. But one of my favorite things is to just be up on stage alone, just me and my guitar.”
When asked the meaning behind the albums title ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD, Oszajca explained, “According to popular myth, older elephants instinctively leave their group when they reach a certain age, and direct themselves toward a special area known as the Elephant Graveyard.” John laughs, “Then they die there alone, away from the group. In the case of my record, the title is certainly not intended to be a foreboding of any end but rather a personal acknowledgement, however cynical, that this record really represents who and what I am as a songwriter, as an artist. It suggests that if I only got to make one more album, ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD would be it.”