Jonathan with my (sleepy) son Matthew, December 15th 2018.

Wake Me Up When September Ends (Jonathan’s Version)

I couldn’t stand Green Day. I respected the band as musicians and songwriters, but as a guitar teacher, they’ve been the bane of my existence for 30 years. A constant deluge of ever changing power chord riffs and strum patterns. Easy to play, but laborious to tab out. Bizarrely enough, it’s easier to write a guitar tab for a Gustavo Santaolalla composition than a Green Day song.

Jonathan Bahm’s signature, squinty smile in the photo above is fitting. He was obsessed with Green Day. I taught Jonathan guitar weekly from age 7 onward. Although I would occasionally implore him to learn something different, at his insistence, we only learned Green Day stuff — over and over. He would sit across from me smiling. Smiling because he loved Green Day. Smiling because he knew I did not. Lol!

Jonathan was a beautiful soul. An angel on earth. Truly one of the best among us. On April 19 2022, at the age of 23, Jonathan Bahm’s life was tragically taken from us in an act of violence.

Jonathan is survived by his parents, Amy and David, and his two younger bothers, Evan and Bryan. For roughly 16 years I had the opportunity to be in their bustling home, teaching both Jonathan and Evan. The Bahm’s are a supremely loving and hilarious family. They even own a toy store! Each week was like stepping into sitcom filled with inside jokes and uproarious laughter. They’re definitely a second family to me — and at this point, I feel the 6th Bahm.

As a little boy, Jonathan was sweet and polite. As a young man, he was the exact same. While Jonathan had a well honed sense of humor — it was never at another person’s expense. He was such a happy guy, and never had a negative thing to say about anything, or anyone. His long-time friends would characterize Jonathan as “incorruptible’.

As evidenced by the above photo with my son Matthew — Jonathan was amazing with young people. He was a long-time counselor at the Emma Kaufman Camp. Despite his easygoing demeanor, Jonathan was headstrong about his desires. He was determined to become a videogame designer, and graduated from Chapman University’s School of Engineering in 2021.

My heart broke on April 19, 2022. I’ve dealt with personal loss before, but this was something wholly different. Whether it was EKC campers, his friends, or even his professors at Chapman — Jonathan supported and built-up everyone in his orbit. He was a bonus to humanity. A force multiplier. He is the exact type of person we need on this earth.

We needed his kindheartedness. We needed his empathy towards others. We needed him to fulfill his dreams. We needed him to raise a family. His loss is a catastrophe.

My personal faith was so rattled by this, that I attended a grief counseling session in the immediate aftermath of Jonathan’s death. The session was held virtually by the Bahm’s synagogue, Temple Emanuel, in Mt Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

One of the moderators was senior Rabbi, Aaron Meyer. (I actually taught Aaron guitar prior to the pandemic, and I count him as one of my friends.) During the session, I was oscillating between crying and composure. I was unable to intelligibly speak — so I was thankful when a gentleman in attendance asked a pivotal question, “This is so awful…I mean…how do we square this with God?”

Rabbi Meyer immediately answered, “I refuse to believe that God is standing above us, pulling strings like we’re marionettes. This is not a failure of God — this is a failure of humanity.”

I thought that was an excellent and expert answer. It was incredibly helpful to me. I stopped questioning, and began praying for the Bahm’s healing and recovery. In the following days, Rabbi Meyer went on to lead a powerful and emotional funeral service for Jonathan.

I think about Jonathan everyday. He and the Bahms are always in my prayers. I like to trail run in a park near to my home. On every run, I can’t believe that I’m still here, drawing heavy breaths — while Jonathan’s conscience has moved on to the heavens.

I usually stop for a moment and put my hand on a random tree. If you let it happen, it’s an incredible experience. The tree is usually big, probably older than me, and it will be here when I’m long gone from this earth. I stand there for a moment, in total awe of the tree. Look at this amazing thing that God created for us. I almost ran right by it. 

After a minute, I get back to my run and my thoughts move on to my objectives for that day. However, for a brief moment I was in awe of my humanity, and thinking about what a privilege it is to be here, right now, on God’s earth.

In the wake of all of this, I’m somewhat comforted that I was one of (many people) who helped construct Jonathan. I suppose I’m left with that realization; we build and construct the people around us. Every engagement, every interaction, no matter how small — is an opportunity to build better people, and a better world. Jonathan Bahm did this naturally and gracefully.

I love Green Day now. All of their music reminds me of Jonathan. Amy and David Bahm asked me to play ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ at his funeral. It was an honor. With their blessing I’ve recorded my arrangement and released it on Streaming services as a everlasting testament to Jonathan.

This also gave me the opportunity to write one last Green Day guitar tab for Jonathan.

Spotify and streaming

You can find this piece on Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music, and all streaming services:

Wake me Up When September Ends (Jonathan’s Version) on Spotify

Wake Me Up When September Ends (Jonathan’s Version) on Apple

How to play Wake Me Up When September Ends (Jonathan’s Version) | fingerstyle guitar

The guitar tab for this piece is beautifully written across 2 pages. I recommend this arrangement for intermediate guitar players and up. I hope you enjoy playing this. Feel free to share this post far and wide. The guitar tab is available below:

In accordance with the guitar tab, my song structure looks like this:


Verse 2x, To Chorus, Chorus


verse 1x, To Chorus, Chorus


*Wake Me Up When September Ends (Jonathan’s Version)

This piece is played in an Open G tuning with a capo on the 2nd fret. Your tuning will look like this (from low to high): D G D G B D. Then you’ll place a capo on the 2nd fret.