John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting discusses performing an original song for Ukraine in front of the wreckage of Mriya and the band’s upcoming show at the Anthem with Barenaked Ladies with contributing writer Eric Althoff.
John Ondrasik would just as soon chat sports. In fact, even his stage name, Five for Fighting, comes from the world of hockey. When his face pops up on a Zoom screen, behind the singer-songwriter in his Los Angeles-area home resides not just his piano but jerseys of Pat Tillman and Luc Robitaille—the latter given to Ondrasik following the Kings vs. Ducks hockey game played at Dodger Stadium on a decidedly un-snowy California day in January of 2017.
“Not to rub it in, but I was at the final game when the Kings beat the Devils,” Ondrasik smirked of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. (I am from New Jersey.) When I shared that I am also a USC alum, Ondrasik, who attended cross-town rival UCLA, waxed about the dynasty of his alma mater’s basketball program under legendary coach John Wooden. Our conversation then turned naturally to both of our schools decamping from the Pac-12 in 2024 to join the Big 10.