A Few Details on the Tragic Death of Jody Seabody’s Matt Johnson

I hate to have to even type this, honestly; what a tragic, crazy thing. As noted here a week or so ago, Jody Seabody and the Whirls bassist Matt Johnston died very unexpectedly back on November 9th, and while details were very sketchy then, I’ve since been able to get some more info from guitarist Bryce Perkins. It’s pretty damn heartbreaking.

Here goes:

Basically what happened was that Matt was born with a heart defect that was survivable under normal living conditions, but it finally caught up with him and his heart gave out. He had been sick for a few weeks and it just happened out of the blue. The coroner says that the results from the autopsy won’t be ready for another six weeks, which is unusually long, but we’ll see.

As far as continuing as Jody Seabody, we aren’t sure as of yet. We definitely want to continue making music together, but I think right now the consensus is to do something new. Matt isn’t replace-able to us, you know? There was an undeniable chemistry with him, and we’ve been playing with him since high school so it wouldn’t be ‘Jody Seabody and the Whirls’ anymore if we just threw someone else in there. Plus we all agree that it would be unfair for whoever would try to fill those shoes if he’s playing with us and we’re expecting him to do everything Matt did.

So with that said, we want to release the album [brand-new LP Summer Us] in his memory, have a release show and make it a benefit for his family, give all the proceeds to his wife, etc. There aren’t any plans for that show yet though, it’s mostly in the idea phase right now.

I would also like to let everyone know about a benefit that Matt’s family is putting together for his wife and kids that will be open to the public. It’s going to be on Saturday Dec. 17th at Pappas on the Lake in Montgomery. The address is 14632 Highway 105 West, Montgomery, Texas and it will be from 11 am to 5 pm.

What a shame — it blows my mind that Johnston was so young (younger than me, for crying out loud), and he’s gone so quickly. If you can help out his family, please, please do; his wife Megan is now a single parent taking care of a 2-year-old and a newborn — their youngest child was born October 13th, not even a full month before Johnston died.

The folks organizing the benefit have created a trust fund for the two kids, and there’ll be plenty of raffle prizes, a car show, a poker run, and lots of other stuff going on. Check out the event invite for more details, and then make plans to head up to Montgomery on December 17th.

Again, our hearts go out to Johnston’s family and the other guys in JSATW, and I do sincerely hope the guys continue on in some form, even if the Jody Seabody moniker is laid to rest with their friend and cohort. I’ll definitely post info on the Summer Us release show and benefit when I get it.

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5 Responses to “A Few Details on the Tragic Death of Jody Seabody’s Matt Johnson”

  1. jOn Black on December 7th, 2011 at 2:06 am

    He was a great dude.

  2. Megan Johnston on December 7th, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Well I wanted to email personally to you Jeremy Hart, but I wasn’t sure exactly how. I wanted you to know that Matt was so humble about his skills as a musician, really just a very humble person about everything. He loved seeing reviews on the band, and I am so glad he got to make the last album, Summer Us, with them. He was humble but so proud of his band members, together and each individually, I am still so proud of him and them as well. Of course he was also such a great father and husband and a best friend to many including myself. He loved music, and he loved people loving music, didn’t have a problem at all if it happened to be his music but was a statue on stage, as he didn’t seem to move while he grooved.

    There is also his art I am trying to get published, he would have liked that and also his beats he made through fruity loops that I am working on getting out to the public. I want to tell you how much I appreciated and was touched by your article. It made the world not stopping altogether a tad bit more okay for me. If there is some way you may be able to help in getting his artwork out there please let me know. I am on a mission and will find a way, but any help would be wonderful.
    And the band may not know this, but Matt asked me to marry him with one condition, that no matter the money issues or the many late night gigs or whatever, that he would be playing with Jody Seabody and the Whirls until he died, I said yes. And as sad and morbid as that is, he owned up to it, died a musician being in Jody Seabody and the Whirls, his band of brothers. Died with his wife, who gave him fatherhood, and just made up from a silly argument we had just had less than an hour before he passed away, He was happy and at peace, and may he rest in peace for eternity. I think it is a pretty perfect way to go, the way he would have wanted to, maybe not the age, but age is only a number.

    Thank you to Jeremy for this wonderful article. – Megan

  3. Faye G. on December 7th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    My family will definitely be at the event on the 17th. And anything that we can do to help his memory live on…we’re down!! I’m a fan of JSATW and absolutely love Megan…so sorry both of yall had to experience this tragedy.

  4. SPACE CITY ROCK » Good News + Free Music: Jody Seabody & The Whirls Continue On, Put Free Stuff on Bandcamp on January 27th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    […] The past year was a pretty rough one for the Jody Seabody & The Whirls guys; right as they finished up their forthcoming full-length, Summer Us, when they should’ve been psyched and looking forward to its release, bassist and friend Matt Johnston succumbed to a congenital heart defect. […]

  5. SPACE CITY ROCK » FPSF 2012 Rundown, Pt. 4: Fitz and The Tantrums + Harts of Oak + Sundress + Jody Seabody + Primus + Small Sounds + More on June 2nd, 2012 at 12:30 am

    […] shows and working on their soon-to-be-released full-length, Summer Us, when out of nowhere, they tragically lost bassist Matt Johnston to a heart defect. The band, naturally, was left floundering, unsure what the hell they should/could do next. Should […]

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