I am incredibly honoured to introduce to you Johnathan Hiess. Many of you will already know of him in SL as he is a well-known DJ who performs at a number of SL’s most popular dance venues, and who can sing too!!
A more self-effacing person I have not encountered in SL. He is a man whose driving force has been to make a difference in the real world, especially for his children and his daughters particularly. But in so doing his original ambitions of being a DJ in real life took the back seat. He was 16 years old and playing at KMEL Radio Station in San Francisco, but his Mom and Dad convinced him that he should go to school. He went on to finish college majoring in criminal justice from Sonoma State. The market was heavy with applicants at the time so he joined the Marines.
Johnathan decided joining the Marines would give him the opportunity to make a difference to the world in which we live. In his time as a Marine he pulled an Army Soldier from a burning Humvee undoubtedly saving his life and before that it was four kids from a burning car, but he himself took a bomb blast in 2004 by an IED, which curtailed his career in the Marines. Music is what pulled him through his darkest days following the bomb blast that took his legs. All that was available at the time was a compilation CD of Celine Dion’s. You can imagine that she has a special place in his heart now and as it turns out Celine has a soft spot for Marines herself, so she was somewhat of a guardian angel for him and now the core of the music he plays in SL is none other than, you guessed it, Celine Dion. Her music has been a healer for him, helping him deal with the anger, pain and nightmares. He has had to learn to walk again and wear prosthetics.
Johnathan says “when I take the stage now, whether it be here in SL or RL, when I see people moved by what I play and do, I forget what’s wrong with me, and for those moments I also belong. I see people smile. I see people cry, this is when I don’t feel so alone.”
The CIGNA Corp offered him a position and it was CIGNA that brought him to Second Life. When he learned he could DJ in here he was going to do it as a hobby but not before long his name as a DJ in here exceeded SL. Johnathan says “I got my dream in a way, that dream of me playing for thousands of people. A lady inside of Franks Jazz loved my voice. Her name was Tamara McDaniel in RL. She is a casting director for Paramount. When she told me who she was I said OK Lady SUUUUUUURE…..” She was not only the real thing she casted him as a DJ in a low budget movie named Suspicion where he played a DJ that gets shot!
He was then asked to do music between live bands for real life concerts. He recalls “Then I thought I had touched the sun when at Cricket Wireless Pavilion I was doing the music for Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard. As you know they are setting up for the next act you play music as the crowd is going back and forth to get beer food and the restroom break. I was given a time hack because it was about time for Poison to take the stage. So my last song was AC DC ‘Highway to hell.’ Well as I played it, I was only allowed 1 minute 38 seconds before they took over, but the crowd got so into the song. The sound engineer was about to cut my stream when Bret Michaels and CC came out on stage and began to sing along to the song. I was in awe. The crowd were screaming and were so into the song that I was allowed to continue. Once the song was over, Bret Michaels asked me to stand and he announced my name to the crowd and that I was an Injured US Marine and I was the one that played the AC DC song. I went home that night with a new sense of myself. I thought it could not get any better, but I was wrong. In January just a year ago I got a call from Live Nation to open for Slash and Myles Kennedy as they were opening for Ozzy Osbourne. This was at the Comerica Theater and I happened to run into Ozzy. The man took me aside and we talked and he gave me the best ass chewing of my life. Here was a mega star sitting with me and I was asking myself if I was good enough to even be there and he said don’t you ever fucking question yourself. You are here for a reason. And he went on and on about how wrong I was. In the end he revealed some hard times he is going through, and then he said God bless you and he gave me his cloak! It’s amazing how he spent several minutes giving me an ass chewing and to turn around to say God Bless You and give me his cloak. He’s a good man, a really big man of character, totally opposite of what he sells himself as. All in all, I am grateful.”
His son DJ Sena Hirsch, is following in his DJ’ing footsteps.
In posting this article it is my wish that others will see that Second Life can and does make a huge difference to people’s lives and that it can have a positive effect on their real lives too.
If you want to catch DJ Johnathan Hiess – The Marine, in action, check his facebook for his schedule: www.facebook.com/JohnathanHiess