Owner of N.Y.-based Alto Music instrument and high-end studio equipment chain accomplishes lifelong dream with a debut album that showcases his skills as a musician, songwriter and producer 

New York, NY (July 31, 2014)— It’s been a long time coming, but Jon Haber has finally managed to achieve a goal he’s had since he was six years old, when he first picked up a guitar, releasing his debut album, DEC3 through his own Raddist label, on Sept. 30. 

The man who owns the successful New York-based Alto Music instrument retail chain has now come full circle and is back on the other side of the counter, as a musician, songwriter and producer, a lifelong dream come true. 

“I was in bands when I was younger, but I never stopped writing songs,” says the 49-year-old entrepreneur, who opened his first store when he was 24, temporarily putting an end to his playing career. “I didn’t want to look back when I was 70 and regret I hadn’t done it. I never had the opportunity to prove what I could do on this level.” 

Haber, who played virtually every instrument on the album, as well as wrote and produced all of the songs, is joined by two longtime collaborators Chris Saulpaugh (singer) and Mike Kalajian (drummer), whose births in three different decades give the band its name. Veteran keyboard wizard Shane Keister (Paul McCartney, Five for Fighting) and Coheed and Cambria’s Zach Cooper also make cameos on the album. 

With influences that range from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Boston, Radiohead and Foreigner to the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel and The Police, DEC3 is music for people who grew up on rock ‘n’ roll and the diversity of AM/FM radio, with indelible melodies, superb playing and memorable choruses. The album’s dozen songs range from tuneful ballads like “In Front of You,” a love song that could well serve as a metaphor for Haber’s own long-delayed ambitions, to anthems like “Where Should I Go Tonight,” which feature Saulpaugh’s yearning Bono-esque vocals. The crunchy “We’re All Friends” has an AC/DC feel and a classic sing-along rock chorus in its story of a renewed high school relationship through Facebook, while the crystal-clear harmonies and cascading guitar riffs of “Simple Mess” reflect Haber’s primary inspiration in the Fab Four. Both “4 Small Black and White Pictures of You” and the sing-song acoustic “Black Kid on a Pink Bike” capture the past with the unerring narrative alacrity of Bruce Springsteen. 

The first single, “Red Line,” a song telling the story of the Syrian civil war from the viewpoint of a citizen caught up in the massacre, in which hundreds of thousands have been killed, and rapidly losing hope, will be released with an accompanying video on August 6. The song, with a sound byte of President Obama, includes the lyrics: “The leader of the whole free world/Said that he’d help rescue me/But he ain’t trying/He’s just coloring lines.” 

“This is not about politics,” says Haber. “It’s more of a humanitarian theme. We should have done something, but we did nothing.” 

As a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Haber has been an activist, who has lobbied Washington for more music education programs in school. He also appeared in a national American Express Plum Card commercial for his Alto Music stores that stresses “putting instruments in the hands of more people.” His business eventually mushroomed into a musical instrument distribution company and an international manufacturing company. 

DEC3 is the culmination of a lifelong devotion to music. 

“I’m doing this because I love it,” Haber continues. “This is a passion project.” 


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