John plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and harmonica. His performing past includes the band “Last Chance” and acoustic solo gigs at House of the Dragon. John’s voice is tailor-made for songs by John Mellencamp, Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen.
First started playing:
Age 12; parents refused to buy me a guitar so I shoveled snow and did other jobs and bought a $50 Stella guitar which warped and cracked within a month. McCabe Music swapped me for a Kay which was almost unplayable given the distance between the neck and strings. Took lessons from Keith Franks Guitar Studio and quit due to having to play stuff out of the Mel Bay Beginning guitar book like “Polly Wolly Doodle All Day”. I wanted to learn how to play “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks. My grandmother helped me buy my first Gibson electric guitar and thereafter a “Silvertone Twin 12 amp”. I am basically self-taught on guitar and harmonica which explains some of my shortcomings on both instruments.
Why started playing:
To get girls.
I bought my first 45 from my neighbors across the street. Of course it was “Surfin Safari b/w “409” by The Beach Boys. First Album was probably “Meet The Beatles”.
Nearly everyone in the 60’s particularly The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Doors and folkies like Gordon Lightfoot and Arlo Gutherie; Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Eagles and The Allman Brothers Band; Kenny Rankin; Kenny Loggins. Growing up in the Eastridge area of Lincoln there were bands everywhere and any group Bruce and/or Al McCracken were in was always really good (“Nobody’s Children”, The Burgeguards”, “Music”. The Flippers and the Chancellors were also huge influences as were The Rumbles which is where I first heard well-arranged medleys of songs, much to Burner’s dismay.
Favorite/Most Significant Albums:
Rubber Soul; Live At the Fillmore East; Court of the Crimson King; Strange Days; Aja; Dark Side of the Moon; Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; Chicago 2; Pet Sounds; Who’s Next, 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus; James Gang Rides Again; Yessongs
My mother was a vocal/piano major. I had a steady diet of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee in our house growing up. As soon as I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, that was pretty much it—I bought Beatle boots, a Beatles wig and had my grandpa make a wooden cut-out of a Fender Stratocaster. I played in the 6-Pak with Ted Larson, Sam Collura, Kevin Puterbaugh and Jim Gogela in junior high. Took time off in high school to play football and wrestle and then joined Last Chance from 1971-75 and played with Bob Creager and Bruce Upchurch. Later played as a solo guitarist/singer at clubs around Lincoln and in Seward. Told Dog and Paul after our 20th reunion I still didn’t much care for either one of them but there was music to be sung and they both made me sound better than I was.
Best Concerts: (some but by no means all)
Tower of Power@Omaha Civic Auditorium Music Hall 1973; Doobie Brothers and Bob Seger Omaha Civic Auditorium 1976; Beach Boys and Chicago Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium 1978; Steely Dan @ Wells Fargo Theater Denver, 2009; Loggins and Messina@Stir Cove Council Bluffs 2009; John Prine@Omaha Civic Auditorium Music Hall 2005; Billy Joel and Elton John @Kemper Arena K.C. 2006
Taylor 614ce Acoustic/Electric Guitar
Fender Custom Shop Telecaster w/ EMG pickups
Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier
Lee Oskar harmonicas
Shure and Heil Microphones