Born in a tiny little town in Oregon's Willamette Valley
(named Sweet Home--really!), John showed an early interest in music as a
child, singing and playing in bluegrass bands and churches. Once he
heard The Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Animals, it was game on!
He was tutored as a clasical vocalist in high school under the instruction of the
Benedictine monks of Mt. Angel Seminary. He coupled his powerful voice
and guitar technique with his keen interest in literature to become a
rock tunesmith, penning his first few tunes, including several thematic
projects, at the age of fourteen.
Moving on to the University of
Oregon, he soon found a spot as a founding member of one of the
preeminent bar bands in the valley, Salty Dog, during the early 70's
before leaving on extended tours with several bands in the Western
States and Western Canada.
John enjoyed a short stint based in
the Bay Area in the latter 70's and built his chops as front man and
second guitar player behind Dehner Patten, guitar virtuoso with Kak,
Oxford Circle, and Blue Cheer.
Homesick for the Pacific
Northwest, he returned to Portland and founded The Checker Brothers with childhood pal and bass player, Ron Carnes. The Checker Brothers
became THE party band of Portland for several years during the late 70's
and early 80's and enjoyed incredible regional success. After "The Brothers" had run its course, John teamed
with fellow guitarist and singer, Todd MacPherson, who now holds court
in The Kingsmen, of "Louie Louie" fame to form The Choir Boys. The Boys scored a regional
semi-hit with a cut on local FM radio station KGON's Homegrown Album and toured extensively throughout the Pacific Coast and Southwest.
After the mutually amicable split of The Choir Boys, John made quite a name for himself as a 6-string slinger in his own
right. He scored back-to-back victories in The Portland Music Company's
"Blazing Guitars" competition, taking first place in the blues category
in 1987 and first place overall in 1988.
During this period he played with a variety of bands, including a band in which he could showcase his writing talent and become the sole guitar player, Stagefright. He also fronted a popular R n' B band called J. Eddy and the Screamers and the short-lived East Side Strut.
After a brief sabbatical he was recruited by classics band The Jammies, which was something of a musician's co-op, before becoming a bass player in a power trio called Hot, Blue, and Righteous that featured guitar wizard Doug Rowell and had regional success landing one of John's tunes "When You Close Your Eyes" on the next KGON homegrown CD. HBR also became the house band at Portland venue Starry Night to open for reunion acts such as BTO, Nazareth, and Pat Travers.
During this time, co-producing with Rowell, he released his first solo CD, "Feel the Fire," and became a card carrying member of The Gospel Music Association, making a couple of solo workshop appearances in Nashville, Seattle, and LA.
With the dissolution of the Portland live music scene in general, he took a vacation from live performing to turn his full attention to writing. With an accompanying return to his faith, he became the resident guitarist of the Portland Foursquare Church with old friend and now worship leader Steve Swanson. He did a great deal of session work in the studio with Steve, and also performed services with Christian notables Kent Henry, Billy Funk, and Caleb Quaye (Elton John's guitarist in the early years).
A job relocation placed John and his family in San Jose, CA. They began attending Jubilee Christian Center, where John quickly became a fixture on JCC's top notch worship team under worship leader Brian Waller, and appeared with famous Christian artists such as
Chris Falson and Ron Kenoly. He was commissioned by Pastor Dick Bernal to form a Christian rock band for specialized rock services. The band was aptly named "Holy Smoke" and played throughout Northern California and released "Shine Like Gold," a CD which had a good deal of regional success. John also went on to become the resident worship leader for the JCC men's ministry for a period of three years.
During his years with Holy Smoke he toured the East Coast with evangelist Luis Palau, during which he appeared with Kirk Franklin, Wayne Watson, Sonic Flood, The Katinas, Jeff Deo, and Anointed.
Since then John has embarked on a solo career. In 2005 he was thrilled to be asked to play for our valiant troops in the United States Marine Corps stationed in
Japan, as guitarist and lead singer in country band Memphis Exchange on their "Prayer for a Soldier" tour. Venues included concerts, clubs, and a bit of local Hiroshima radio airplay.
Since then he has been building his studio and honing his engineering and producing skills under the tutelage of Bruce Tambling, Tony Shepperd, and Ed Goldfarb. He also is active in the Foothill College community of songwriters, working in association with Jim Bruno, noted songwriter for Shawn Colvin, Chuck Prophet, Mary Lou Lord and others.
John remains "on call" for other churches in the Bay Area including: The Father's House in San Jose, Christian City Church in downtown San Francisco, and Abundant Life, in Cupertino.
John's latest release is a solo effort entitled "Solo...Not Alone" which follows the Holy Smoke 2002 release "Shine Like Gold" and his initial 1995 solo release "Feel the Fire."
He also remains on call at several area churches, helps with music programs at recovery houses, and mentors up-and-coming young musicians, in his spare time.