Today is the birthday of the famous and controversial German composer, Richard…
- Posted on Mar 18th 2013 12:59PM by Aaron Brophy
Andy Sheppard, Redferns
Molina had been out of the spotlight since late 2009 when he ceased touring due to health problems brought on by severe alcoholism. It's believed that complications from his addiction factored in his death from organ failure.
In 2011, his family had solicited friends to help pay for Molina's time in rehab. A hard-living touring musician, he had no health care. Last May, Molina updated everyone on his progress on the Magnolia Electric Co website:
Dear friends and family.
It has been a long hospital year. You all have done so much and given so much to further my cause on this planet that I feel compelled to give you a little note. The response towards my medical fund and other support has been better than I could have ever imagined. I spent my time on the farm which was more like the opposite of a tour of duty, but it was good in its way. I have been moved around quite a bit too, Chicago, England, Indiana, West Virginia and back and forth to each. For the time being I am doing well, still in recovery and still in treatment until probably the summer does its thing. I've been writing a lot of music and eagerly anticipate the new 10" with Will Schaff's book, word is that end of May we might finally get them. It is slow going, but it is going. I did write about 500 letters to many of you who sent me good wishes and more, oddly the facility I was in decided to keep them all instead of sending them. I'll start re-collecting post box information when I am in a place for any length of time. Treatment is good, getting to deal with a lot of things that even the music didn't want to. I have not given up because you, my friends have not given up on me. I do still need your support however that takes shape, good vibes are worth more than you might think. Finally, there are actually some musical projects on the distant radar screen, but for those who understand, I am taking this in much smaller steps than I'm used to. Keep the lamps trimmed and burning!
5 May 2012
News of Molina's death broke early Monday morning on the Chunklet website. Molina, who was incredibly prolific up until his illness and enforced retreat, had recorded a promotional single for the humor zine in 2004.
"What many of us were slow to find out is that Molina had a pretty significant drinking problem," the Chunklet post said. "This disease, which snuffed out his life, controlled Jason for most of the last decade."
In a release posted Monday afternoon, Secretly Canadian -- also home to the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Suuns, Yeasayer and The War on Drugs -- called Molina "the cornerstone" of the label.
"Without him there would be no us -- plain and simple," the post reads. "His singular, stirring body of work is the foundation upon which all else has been constructed. After hearing and falling in love with the mysterious voice on his debut single 'Soul' in early 1996, we approached him about releasing a single on our newly formed label. For some reason he said yes. We drove from Indiana to New York to meet him in person, and he handed us what would become the first of many JMo master tapes.
"Each Songs: Ohia album to follow proved a new, haunting thesis statement from a prodigal songwriter whose voice and soul burned far beyond that of the average twenty-something."
Molina left behind a celebrated discography. Depending on how you count, he recorded 10 albums as Song: Ohia, another five as Magnolia Electric Co. (including a three album + one EP box set), multiple solo albums and a series of EPs and singles, including splits with the likes of My Morning Jacket, Glen Hansard and Scout Niblett. He was also a favorite in the tape-trader community for his ever-shifting live performances and ability to effortlessly switch from solo performer to Crazy Horse-style band leader with Magnolia.
The result was a startling body of work for a musician who crossed the road far too soon.