I killed Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash's Grave

It was not long after I had come off the road with the band Eve 6. They’re good friends of mine (an amazing thing given some of the antics I pulled on that tour), and they’re also a pretty kick ass band.

Anyway… I was sitting around late one night with their guitar tech, Justin, in my old apartment on Beachwood drive. We were getting drunk on Jameson and talking about how sad it was that Johnny Cash was probably going to die soon. His wife had past away and he himself was sick.

Now I’m probably not unique in saying that Johnny Cash is one of my heroes. He’s a bad ass and there are few like him. Justin and I sat around lamenting about the idea of a world without new music from the infamous man in black.

We continued talking about JC, and as you do, we continued drinking. The night drew on and eventually we decided to call it. We said our good-nights and Justin headed down the stairs of my building.

As soon as the door shut I fired up the computer. This was back when all I had was dial-up and AOL. Man, crazy how fast times change.

Anyhow, the computer clicked and buzzed and finally that old familiar “you’ve got mail” chimed. Immediately staring back at me was the breaking news headline exclaiming that Johnny Cash had died.

Shocked, I ran to the balcony and yelled out to Justin, “Dude, I think we may have just killed Johnny Cash!”

It was one of those weird moments like when you’re talking about someone you haven’t spoken to in years and then the phone rings and it’s that very same person on the other end of the line. You can’t help but feel that there is some psychic connection at play.

So imagine how we felt when only seconds after concluding an hour long discussion about the inevitable death of Johnny Cash we hear the breaking news that he had passed away. To this day we joke (in that way that is not entirely a joke), that we were some how psychically responsible. Who knows what really happened, but at the very least it was friggin’ weird.

So it was a bit of a serendipitous honor when a few years later I was asked by my good friend Charles Wurmfield (director of Legally Blond 2 and Kissing Jessica Stein) to record a version of “Ring of Fire” for the film “the Hammer” which he was working on at the time.

My version is a bit of a departure from the original with it’s loud distorted guitars and over-driven vocals, but it was a blast an honor to get to record the track. Especially for something as prominent as a major motion picture.

The track is not currently available for sale but as a thank you for being one of my subscribers I want to give it
to you for free – no strings attached.

Download my version of Ring of Fire here.

If you like the track you might also consider checking out Elephant Graveyard. It’s my latest album and it’s full of alt-country tunes that I like to think would make the Man in Black proud 🙂

Talk soon,



  • Carl Hemmings says:

    Yeah John, got your album!
    Will listen tonight. Can’t wait
    I study songs/songwriting and songwrite myself. I know you have a good grip on lyric writing,so I’ll be right in there when I listen.
    I share your love of DYLAN.
    Thanks so much John for all you do.
    Sincerely, Carl. (7kids, happily married, year &1/4 born again Christian, 42years old, Australian, insider circle member).

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Carl,

      My apologies. I somehow missed the alert when this comment came through. I just wanted to say thanks and that I really appreciate the support.

      Catch you in the IC.

  • Michelle says:

    This was a really fun read John. Loving the more personal blog posts you’ve been posting lately. Johnny was one of the great ones, no doubt.

  • Scott says:

    Reminds me of the time I was working at a pizza place and one of the cooks was telling me and another guy the heartbreaking story of his wife leaving him 10 years earlier. Hadn’t spoken to her since. He was still telling the story when the phone rang. Guess who? Yeah – his ex wife – ordering a pizza. Crazy!!! Anyway, killer version. Great energy! Thanks for the hook up.

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