October 13, 1993



By Jackie Joseph


“IDAHO”: How close is Idaho to Toluca Lake? The landscape comes from their music, and the music comes from Tolucan John Berry, and his partner, Jeff Martin. Together, they are IDAHO...

“YEAR AFTER YEAR”: The first CD from Idaho is titled, “Year After Year,” appropriate since Jeff and John have been struggling with their music, and their lives, for the past 12 years right in my own back yard. And (can a mother keep her balance here?), they not only got a miraculous recording contract from Caroline Records, they have met the obligation and come up with an EP (“IDAHO, the palms”), and a CD that are getting rave reviews internationally. IDAHO (an odd new way to refer to my kid), has just come back from a lengthy cross country tour, and are preparing to leave for Europe. It boggles...

JEFF AND JOHN: Let me give a maternal perspective here. These lads have everything in common except their entire lives. Jeff Martin is stable and kind, even though he was raised by an affluent, nuclear family in Brentwood. A Crossroads graduate, Jeff moved on to USC to continue his musical training. He was tidy. When Jeff showed up at my place after school, around 10 a.m., to practice his music, that was a clue that his canoe was adrift. Jeff was changing trains, not yet knowing he traveling to IDAHO.

John grew up in a split home. He was adored, but carried a burden of worthlessness and depression beyond anyone’s comprehension. His music was made by self discovery in an atmosphere of dripping candles, and darkness in a little shed he called Errie Studios. John finally came to IDAHO by way of despair, L.A. County jail, and Impact Drug Rehab.

The friendship and mutual respect never severed. So, for this golden moment in time, happiness “is”. It’s beyond any financial success, but an acceptance of themselves and their music. No compromise.

DOWN IN THE DUMPS ROCK: Do I have to understand it? Only the joy it brings. I was chipper when I went into Tower Records and saw they had a printed card saying IDAHO in big black letters. They really exist.

The genre is a mystery even to the critics. Funny, this gloomy alternative rock music has brought cheer to the cheerless. Entertainment Weekly made Ken Berry Father of the Week. “Yes, we mean F-Troop’s Capt. Wilton Parmenter, who is dad to guitarist John Berry of Los Angeles dream-pop band Idaho.” (that’s the quote, and it was faxed to me by friends with their jaws dropping). Indeed, I’m ready for a new jaw-job myself.

IDAHO has been received as a class act, steps above the angst bands that proliferate the X generation. The music brings consolation. A supportive comfort, “not being the only one.” It is accepted as powerful, and as beautiful as the state they have chosen to be their name. So, I celebrate IDAHO.

We’ll talk...