|Birth name||Jason Samuel Berk|
|Born||September 4, 1992|
Livingston, NJ, U.S.A.
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Jason Berk (born September 4, 1992) is an American musician, singer, composer and record producer. Originally from South Orange, New Jersey, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has recorded and performed with Micky Dolenz, Sondre Lerche, Noël Wells, Tom Kenny, Ben Vaughn, Evie Sands, The Lovin' Spoonful, members of The Beach Boys, The Cars, The Bangles, The Muffs, and many more. Along with his solo work, he appears as a member of Adam Marsland's Chaos Band and garage-psych collective Mod Hippie.
Berk took his earliest music lessons at age eight at a music day camp in Oakland, receiving guitar lessons while simultaneously teaching himself piano. He attended Alameda High School along with several members of Finish Ticket, with whom he would later go on to share a bill with numerous times, even filling in on bass on one occasion. He began writing songs as part of a weekly lunchtime songwriting club, and at 16 was invited to perform an original song on live radio after local station KFOG interviewed Berk and another classmate about the club's upcoming showcase. He started honing his performing skills when his father brought him along to a number of blues jams around the San Francisco Bay Area, and performed his first full set at a local coffee house, eventually performing regularly there both solo and as part of a duo known as The Goners. In 2011 Berk relocated to Los Angeles to attend California State University Northridge. While there, he taught himself music production on his MacBook Pro, using Garageband and Logic Pro to produce multitrack recordings, practicing by making note-for-note covers of classic rock songs to learn different production techniques. Berk launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to obtain additional recording equipment  and released his first album of original material, Real Love, in 2012.
In 2014 Berk was invited by David Bash to appear at his annual International Pop Overthrow festivals in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. He has performed at every IPO festival in those cities in the years following, and even played the Seattle edition of the festival in 2016. He released his sophomore effort, the Laurel Canyon-inspired Coming Home in July 2014 and embarked on a tour of mostly California venues to promote the record.
Berk released his third record, Everything Old Is New Again, in 2016. The album marked a turn from the classic power-pop of the first two records, towards more of a soul music influence, receiving rave reviews from critics and fans, eventually winning several "Twirlie" Awards from Sacramento-based independent FM radio station KUBU. The title track featured a duet with Keith Slettedahl of The 88, a band Berk often cites as an influence on his own songwriting and production. As with the first two records, the music was entirely performed and produced by Berk in his home studio, having been inspired by similarly-recorded works by Paul McCartney and Emitt Rhodes. Following the album's release, he began performing around Los Angeles more regularly, becoming in-demand as a session musician and producer for other artists while continuing to hone his own skills.
Along with friend and collaborator Ellen Den Herder, Berk wrote and recorded Low Elf-Esteem, a collection of humorous original holiday songs, parodies and covers. The record, initially released as an EP in 2015, was rereleased in expanded form as a full-length album in 2018. Writing for Rolling Stone, actor and comedian Connor Ratliff praised the record, calling it "another winner." Berk's fourth record of original material, Strangers, will be released in 2020, featuring contributions from frequent collaborators Nick Vincent and Teresa Cowles.
Berk is a notable lifelong fan of The Beatles, even being profiled as a teenager for his extensive collection of Beatles memorabilia and his ability to perform any song in their catalog from memory, a feat he regularly incorporates into his performances. From 2010-11 he was a frequent co-host of the "Bone Up On The Beatles" segment on 107.7 The Bone in San Francisco.
Beginning in late 2013, Berk began performing with Adam Marsland's Chaos Band, a group of LA-based musicians that evolved from Marsland's previous band, Cockeyed Ghost. At first Berk was a guest performer, before eventually joining the ranks as a full-time member of the band in 2016. This led to his being invited to play guitar with Marsland's side-project Pacific Soul Ltd., as well as taking the bass guitar position in a brief reunion of Cockeyed Ghost, and play lead guitar for Mod Hippie, a garage-psych band on Marsland's own Karma Frog label which also features D. J. Bonebrake of seminal LA punk band X and David Marks, founding member of The Beach Boys. Berk's work with Marsland also led to him working with Chaos Band member and singer-songwriter Evie Sands, touring with her in 2017 and recording on her upcoming album Get Out Of Your Own Way. This association has also led to him occasionally performing with singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn.
From 2014-15 Berk was the lead guitarist for singer-songwriter Leah Capelle, making appearances at LA's Hotel Café and the 2015 South By Southwest festival. That same year he also appeared playing guitar with singer-songwriter Adam Exler at the famed Whisky a Go Go as well as at the City National Grove of Anaheim, where Exler was opening for Howard Jones.
Berk has been active in organizing an annual Harry Nilsson tribute show in Los Angeles, helping lead the band and performing alongside musicians and actors including Sondre Lerche, Noël Wells, Tom Kenny, Curtis Armstrong, J. Elvis Weinstein, Chris Price, Fernando Perdomo and Stephen Kalinich, amongst others.
Since 2017 Berk has been involved in The Theme Music Collective, a group of musicians that records a full cover of a noteworthy album every month, often collaborating via Facebook and email. Albums covered include Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever, Paul McCartney's Band On The Run, Carole King's Tapestry, and Nick Lowe's Labour of Lust.
In May 2019 Berk was featured on keyboards as part of the house band for the 46th Daytime Emmy Awards, backing up David Osmond, Roslyn Kind, and the Sesame Street Muppets, as well as performing the theme songs of the assorted nominees. During the lockdown caused by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic Berk became involved with the YouTube series "Take Cover" along with several other musicians from the Emmys band. The series features covers of popular songs, with each musician recording from their home. Guests have included Osmond, Rissi Palmer, and Morris Pleasure, amongst others. Berk serves as mixing engineer for the series, as well as performing guitar, keyboards, and vocals on some of the songs.
In 2020 Berk was invited to join the Wild Honey Orchestra, a music collective that hosts annual concerts to raise money for the Autism Think Tank. On February 29, 2020 the Orchestra held an concert entitled "The Lovin' Spoonful: A Celebration of the Music," which featured the first reunion of the surviving members of the Lovin' Spoonful in twenty years, as well as performances by Micky Dolenz, Carnie Wilson, Marshall Crenshaw, Bill Mumy, and members of The Cars, The Muffs, The Bangles, The Smithereens, and more.
Berk primarily plays a 2013 Fender Jazzmaster through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier. He does not often use effects pedals, other than a basic delay pedal and an overdrive pedal. Berk also plays an Epiphone Les Paul and a 3/4-size Fender Stratocaster, as well as a Yamaha FGX720SCA acoustic guitar. His studio setup is similarly simple, using an M-Audio Mobile-Pre preamp and a Blue Spark cardioid condenser mic along with a Korg K-61 MIDI controller. He records all his material using Apple's Logic Pro X software.
- 2012: Real Love
- 2014: Coming Home
- 2016: Everything Old Is New Again
- 2018: Low Elf-Esteem (with Ellen Den Herder)
- 2020: Strangers
Singles & EPs
- "Blue Wave" (with Art Nordoff), (2018)
- "A Little Hanukkah Song" (with Art Nordoff), (2018)
- Berkingman's Dead (Grateful Dead tribute EP), (2016)
- "Gimme Some Truth" (with Adrian Bourgeois and Noah Berk), (2020)
- Art Nordoff, The Music of My Life (Single), (2019)
- Art Nordoff, Hopeless (Single), (2020)
- Zak Nilsson, A Bigger Man (Single), (co-produced with Fernando Perdomo) (2020)
As a sideman
- Adam Marsland's Chaos Band, You May Never Hear Surf Music Again! Vol. 1 & 2, (2014)
- Pacific Soul Ltd., The Dance Divine, (2016)
- Mod Hippie Big Wow, (2017)
- Adam Marsland, Bulé, (2017)
- Mod Hippie, Wannabe Nobody, (2018)
- Katie Bottomley, Baby, Won't You Dance (Single), (2018)
- Evie Sands, Get Out Of Your Own Way, (2020)
- Joe's War, (used "Let Me Back Inside" and "Only a Dream") (2017)
- Tristan & Kelly (used "Distant Places") (2020)
Jason Berk in the Media
- Berk biography 
- VoyageLA interview 
- Kickstarter 
- IPO website 
- Official Facebook 
- Connor Ratliff Twitter 
- Alameda Magazine 
- Mod Hippie Facebook 
- "Harry Nilsson Is Too Good For the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" official Facebook 
- Theme Music Tributes on Bandcamp 
- Take Cover on YouTube 
- Billboard interview with John Sebastian 
- Rolling Stone 
- Variety