Music Trades August 2014
Alto Music’s Jon Haber Releases First Album
RUNNING THE FOUR-STORE ALTO MUSIC operation is a full time job for Jon Haber, the hands-on owner who starts every day at 7 a.m., checking sales receipts. Between managing a growing online division and a distribution business, refurbishing locations, and motivating a sales staff, he’s also found time to fulfill a lifelong dream and record an album. The music industry is filled with skilled musicians who dabble in the recording studio. What sets Haber apart is the musicality and slick production values in the debut album of his band, DEC 3. Haber officially launched his album with an interview and a video premiere on the Fox and
Friends morning show on August 6. Since then, he’s been flooded with requests to perform and appear. As of this writing, other network appearances are pending.
DEC 3 (the name notes the fact that the three principals were born in three different decades) is made up of Haber, who plays frets and keyboards, and two longtime friends: Chris Saulpaugh on vocals, who heads the Alto Music keyboard department, and Mike Kalajian on drums, a former Alto Music employee who currently owns and manages Telegraph Recording Studio in New Paltz, New York. The trio is joined by collaborators Shane Keister, a Nashville-based keyboard ace who has performed with Paul
McCartney and Five for Fighting, and Zach Cooper, best known for his work with Cambria.
The album contains 12 original songs written by Haber, a prolific songsmith who spends much of his free time recording riffs and jotting down lyric ideas. He has a long list of influences, running the gamut from the Beatles to Radiohead, and the melodies of DEC 3 will immediately resonate with anyone who grew up on the diversity of AM/FM radio. The songs range from “In Front of You,” a love song that could well serve as a metaphor for Haber’s own long-delayed ambitions, to “We’re All Friends,” an AC/DC inspired rock anthem that reflects on the Facebook phenomenon, to the album’s first single, “Red Line,” which tells the story of the Syrian civil war from the viewpoint of a citizen caught up in the massacre.
The original plans for DEC 3 were to produce an album and “see how far it would go,” said Haber. Since the Fox News appearance, however, the band has received so many performance requests, they’re considering a limited tour and have added Todd Mihan and Mike Hamel to the lineup. “We got comfortable working together remotely,” he said. “Then all of a sudden, we had to get together and rehearse for a live performance.” Fortunately, all the band members have the chops to play live. “There’s no auto-tune, rhythm correction, or gimmicks in our recording,” says Haber. “It’s all legit.”
Despite the favorable reviews for DEC3, Haber has no plans to leave his day job. As for his musical ambitions, he says, “I’m keeping at it because it’s something I love to do.”