Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik Finds Inspiration in Palm Springs Hikes

Singer/songwriter's love of hockey proved valuable in finding a name



Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, who recently released his sixth studio album “Bookmarks” in September 2013, will play the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival Feb. 21.

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

 

In the late 1990s, John Ondrasik’s record label told him that singer/songwriters were dead, and he needed a band name to succeed in the music business.

Later that night, as he headed home from a Los Angeles Kings hockey game, the name Five For Fighting came into his head.

The name and the massive hit songs to follow, like “Superman” and “100 Years”, eliminated any chance that anyone would forget who Ondrasik was any longer.

Ondrasik, who recently released his sixth studio album Bookmarks in September 2013, will play the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival Feb. 21.

Reflecting on past Joshua Tree writing trips he used to take before having children, he says it’s “a wonderful environment for creativity.”

Excited to play new songs from Bookmarks and happy to reinvent his hits for new fans, Ondrasik loves performing close to home. Ever the sport fan, he also has hopes that everyone at the county fair will celebrate a USA hockey win in the Olympics (the semifinal game is scheduled that day).

Ondrasik took a minute to talk to Palm Springs Life about his passions.

As a big hockey fan, can you explain what the name "Five For Fighting" means in hockey terms, and why you chose it as your name?
“I'd just come from a LA Kings hockey game (sorry Duck fans) where a fighter named Marty McSorley had dropped the gloves. I sarcastically suggested Five For Fighting as my band name and the label loved it! Alas, there have been some dividends like playing Dodger Stadium for the Kings/Duck Stadium series a few weeks back.”

Who were your influences or inspirations in music?
“As a songwriter, The Beatles...as a singer, Freddie Mercury or Steve Perry.”

You write songs for yourself and other artists like Josh Groban and Backstreet Boys. Where do you find inspiration for your songs?  
“Inspiration can come from many sources including personal experience and observation. I do alot of lyric writing while hiking around the country, including the deserts in Palm Springs and Death Valley.”

Some artists have different feelings about playing their hits; do you ever grow weary of performing those songs?  
“Luckily I have not gotten sick of “Superman” yet, and can grow up with “100 Years”. I understand how some songwriters "burn out" on their hits, but I realize that at every show there is one fan seeing the only Five For Fighting concert of their lives. I would consider it bad taste if I did not sing the hits for them.”

What was your most challenging and yet rewarding song to write on your recently released album Bookmarks?
"The Day I Died" is a song that could never be on the radio, but is one I'm proud of on "Bookmarks"

What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming Riverside County Fair performance?
“Always fun to do concerts close to home. Should be a blast. Let's hope we are celebrating a USA hockey win!"

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Happy 2015!

Ring in the new year at a party that suits your style. 3, 2, 1 ... Cheers!

Last-Minute Gift Ideas

No time to plan your holiday shopping list in advance? Fear not: We have you covered with these out-of-the-box suggestions.

Discovery Shop Rancho Mirage Offers Holiday Shopping Alternative

Looking for treasures, especially unique, high-end designer clothing — and you love landing a deal in the name of supporting a worthy charity — consider a trip to the Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage on your list of holiday shopping must-dos.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Imago, an iconic Palm Desert gallery, presents affordable small-scale pieces from its featured artists like Dale Chihuly - perfect for holiday offerings.

The Grand Del Mar is a Golfer's Delight Getaway

For desert dwellers seeking a refined, nearby weekend getaway, The Grand Del Mar in San Diego bears exceptional results just a mere two-plus hour drive toward the coast.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Edit ModuleShow Tags