Being that it’s Friday the 13th, it’s only natural to wonder what the original Jason Voorhees from the film franchise of the same name is up to now.
Ari Lehman, who first appeared in “Friday the 13th” as a young Jason, was never seen as the hockey mask-wearing killer who terrorized characters of the horror movie franchise. Now 48 years old, Lehman hasn’t let the fame of being the original Jason wear off.
Lehman is a member of the heavy metal duo First Jason, which takes its name from Lehman being the original Jason from “Friday the 13th.” The band released its first album, “Jason Is Watching!,” in 2009. The album includes horror-themed songs such as “Jason Never Dies!,” “You Better Run!” and “Machete Is My Friend.”
The album received rave reviews from College News, with the critique posted on the First Jason website.
"First Jason is amazing ... this album hits you over the head with an anvil being swung at 1,000 miles an hour by the metal gods. Once hitting play on your CD player, Lehman and crew break out of your speakers in surround-sound, get in your face, flash you the devil horns, and smoke through a 30-minute set that will leave your jaw dragging across the floor,” College News said.
Of course, First Jason will be performing on Friday the 13th. The band is being featured Friday at FantaCon 2013, a comic book, horror and fantasy convention that runs through Sunday, in Albany, N.Y. The band is also making an appearance at the Kalmazoo Horror Fest in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Sept. 20. A week later, First Jason heads to Atlanta to perform Sept. 27 at the Twisted Fears Horror Weekend. You can also check out First Jason Oct. 11 in Seabrook, N.H. (venue to be determined) and Oct. 12 at Club Texas in Auburn, Maine.
In a 2011 interview, Lehman said his love of music led him to turn away from acting after the success of “Friday the 13th.”
“Rock and Roll is the reason, really. As a young man, I was very intrigued by the entire filmmaking process. Yet, my first love was music, and my experiences as a performer, even then, were very immediate and gratifying,” he told Media Mikes. “Being on a film set, and doing SFX skin work, involves A LOT of waiting and down time. I was drawn to the visceral atmosphere of live performance.”
But Lehman hasn’t totally left the movie business. Lehman composes soundtracks for independent films, fusing his passion for music with motion pictures. He explained the differences between his work with First Jason and composing film soundtracks.
“Admittedly, my forte is performing songs, singing while playing a machete-shaped Keytar that sounds like lightning and thunder. Composing soundtracks is now becoming more interesting to me though, especially since I have been watching great films as much as possible for inspiration,” Lehman said. “The difference between writing songs and soundtracks is truly one of texture and time. A song works in one way, and a soundtrack in another. The great maestro Harry Manfredini, who wrote the soundtrack for “Friday the 13th,” “Wishmaster,” and many more films, gave me some insight to the more spacious, linear, and temporal world of soundtrack composition. Abstraction is crucial there. I am hoping to learn more!”
Curious about First Jason? Watch a video of one of their performances below: