Original ‘Friday the 13th’ star brings metal band First Jason back to Finnegan’s in Scranton on March 24


NEPA Stage Staff

Excerpt from a press release:

Chicago heavy metal/punk band First Jason, fronted by singer and actor Ari Lehman, who played young Jason Voorhees in the classic 1980 horror film “Friday the 13th,” will return to Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club in Scranton on Thursday, March 24.

Wilkes-Barre horror rockers All the Damn Vampires will kick off the 21+ show.

The doors to Finnegan’s (514 Ash St., Scranton) open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Premier Jason previously performed there in May 2019 and returned to northeast Pennsylvania in September to headline night two of the inaugural Darkenheavy Campfest at Mountain Sky in Jermyn. In 2021, the band recorded the doomsday music video for their single “The Price of Peace” in NEPA with local production company Camp Rattler and premiered it on NEPA Scene along with a behind-the-scenes feature.

Ari Lehman is a 56-year-old performing artist, songwriter, and actor best known for playing the first on-screen Jason Voorhees in the popular slasher film “Friday the 13th.” A native of New York, he grew up in Westport, Connecticut, where he trained in classical music and jazz piano. Lehman received an All-State Award for Excellence in Jazz Piano and a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music from renowned jazz educator Dr. Billy Taylor.

Lehman heard of an audition being held in Westport for the film “Manny’s Orphans” about a group of inner-city orphans who play football, directed by Sean S. Cunningham. He snuck into the audition and landed the 80-line role of “Roger.” This led to him getting the call to play abused child Jason Voorhees in Cunningham’s “Friday the 13th.” For his audition, the director asked him a key question: “Do you know how to swim? He appeared in Pamela Voorhees’ flashback and Alice Hardy’s dream, Crystal Lake’s iconic final scene in the film. It was special effects artist Tom Savini who suggested to Cunningham, after seeing “Carrie”, that they too should have a shock ending and that the boy could jump out of the lake. Lehman also appears as a young Jason in archive footage in “Friday the 13th Part 2” (1981) and “Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter” (1984).

After the release and success of the first “Friday the 13th”, Lehman returned to New York where he enrolled at New York University and focused on big band orchestration and jazz piano, student with Vladimir Shafranov. His career saw him become a prominent touring keyboardist for some of the biggest names in reggae and African music of the day, with whom he toured across the United States, Europe and the United States. West Africa and recorded with Tuff Gong Records and Interscope Records.

Lehman went on to form his own global rock and reggae band, the Ari Ben Moses Band, and won acclaim when, upon moving to Chicago in late 2002, he was contacted by horror fans who invited to attend a horror convention on the East Coast. In response to their enthusiasm, he became a regular on the horror convention circuit and saw an opportunity to give Jason Voorhees a musical voice in the punk and metal scene.

Wielding a machete-shaped keytar, Lehman created First Jason in 2004, a punk/metal band specifically for horror fans, especially fans of Jason and the “Friday the 13th” franchise. They have independently released four albums: “Jason Is Watching! (2009), featuring “Nefarious” (Charles Lescewicz) by Chicago death metal band Macabre on bass and “Cleaver” (Amit Shamir) by New York hardcore punk band Cro-Mags on drums; “Heed My Warning” (2013), described by Uber Rock as “a thinking man horror-themed brand of rock”; “Being a Monster” (2017); and their most popular record to date, “Lord of the Lake” (2019), which features the hits “Kill for Mother” and “Voorhees Is the Name”, both of which have their own music videos. The band’s latest singles, “The Price of Peace” and “Scapegoat”, were released in 2020. The former received a music video shot in Dalton in 2021 which became their most-watched video to date.

In a review, Uber Rock wrote, “When you consider that Lehman was barely a teenager when he jumped aboard the horror express to lifelong notoriety, that’s quite an achievement. The most blinded horror rock fans might well balk at the sounds summoned by the band (Lehman, on vocals as well as on the “keychete”, joined on the recording by the drummers…), the keytar with the electric machete stabbing a mix of distorted guitar and bass, but few would argue that Lehman is, once again, creating something memorable by borrowing from the past and updating his own vision…just like Cunningham did in 1980 .

“More than 30 years after making his brief but memorable appearance as Jason Voorhees and Lehman continues to promote his role in the franchise, not only paying homage to his character in his music, but also contributing to the likes of [documentaries] ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ and ‘His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th.’ »

First Jason has performed at punk and metal clubs, metal festivals, film festivals and horror conventions across Europe and the United States, including the Viper Room, Whiskey a Go-Go , Lucky 13, Hard Rock Cafe, Lebowski Fest, Days of the Dead, HorrorHound Weekend, Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, Rock and Shock, Motor City Nightmares, Festival de Cine de Terror en España, Fantasy Horror Awards Ceremony in Italy, Bloody Weekend in France, Savagefest, the Milwaukee Metal Massacre, Metal Mergence, the Cobra Lounge, Heartbreakers, the Duck Inn, Nathan P. Murphy’s, the I-Rock and the Earl.

Since “Friday the 13th”, Lehman has appeared in a number of short films and independent films. He has also composed, performed and recorded soundtracks for independent films, including the critically acclaimed all-female Alexia Anastasio’s “Salome” and Vamp Films’ 2007 Rondo Award-winning “Vampire the Movie”. for best independent feature film.

Beginning in 2004, Lehman supported a number of causes through in-kind contributions and special appearances. It’s no secret, however, that he is passionate about animals and has personally rescued all of his pets from the streets. Beginning in 2015, Lehman and First Jason have focused primarily on outreach to select rescue groups and no-kill shelters to help raise awareness, support and advocacy to improve the quality of life for cats and pets. abandoned and homeless pit bulls.

Read NEPA Scene’s 2021 interview with Ari Lehman here and watch photos and video of First Jason at Darkenheavy Campfest 2019 here.

Photo by Rich Howells/Scene NEPA



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