Johnny A Driven
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Having played with the likes of Bobby Whitlock (Derek and the Dominos, Delaney and Bonnie), Mingo Lewis (Santana, The Tubes), Doug Clifford (CCR), and some local guy named Wolf (J.Geils Band, Housparty Five), guitarist Johnny A. (just "A.") has gone back to the shed (actually, his house in Salem) to find his own guitar voice.

Raised on the worldly combination of El Bakkar and Little Willie John, A. first found his groove on a set of skins. Though he still admits to being a "frustrated drummer," A. felt strongly that his musical way had to be found through a more melodic instrument. Following his bazouki-playing grandfather's lead, Johnny switched to guitar at age twelve and has been working the strings ever since. A self taught guitarist with a passion for melody, A. played every church and school function he could, constantly working on melding influences like George Harrison, Chet Atkins, Johnny Rivers, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Kenny Burrell, Joe Satriani and Wes Montgomery with his own musical inclinations and expressions.

Feeling the need to go to college, A. enrolled in a business school. When this did not show promise, A. followed his muse to Berklee, where he began to study arrangement and composition. Unfortunately, this was not a great match either. "At the time, at least, Berklee was very standard jazz," A. explains. "I was more of a rock and blues guy". Seeing little value in paying more tuition (and even less in the guitar lessons he was skipping anyhow), A. left the (in)famous music college and hit the touring trail. After lead-man stints with Johnny A.'s Hidden Secret and Hearts On Fire, A. settled into a suppotive role with friend Peter Wolf. However he soon realized that this was not the place for him either. "I'm a songwriter," A. explains. "My job as a sideman is making (the other guy) sound his best." In a happy/sad turn of events, A. found himself basically forced into the solo career he seems most attuned to. When the Houseparty Five disbanded in 1996, A. took a job at a music store, which soon went out of business. With no other apparent options, Johnny A. went home and got his chops together. The result is sometime tuesday morning (Aglaophone), an all-instrumental collection of A.'s favorite compositions, most of which are his own, yet all of which are seasoned by his musical encyclopedia of influences. A. claims so many influences; in fact, that he often cannot hear where they end and his own sound begins. "A lot of people hear a distinct sound when they hear me," A. says, though he claims to be "too close" to hear the distinction at times. "To label my sound," A. says "take the comination of Wes, Chet, Billy Gibbons, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Hendrix, Clapton and Beck and you put 'em all in a blender and hit puree and hopefully it tastes different." Though he may not always hear a distinctive tone in his own playing, A. spends a great deal of time trying to work on his tone and "musical personality." Instead of trying to copy any one of his many guitar heroes note for note, A. strives instead for an amalgam of "tone accumulations." How does he do this? "I hear it in my head and soul and I tweak it until what my ears hear satisfies what my soul hears," A. replies. "Sometimes you nail it and other times no matter how many times you try it, you never get that sound. I'm always doing something to try to improve my tone and to make it just right, but what sounds right one day probably won't the next." As the process is never-ending, A. is thankful to have the time to work on himself and his sound independently of the demands of others.

Having spent years at the mercy of various front-men, A. is very happy to finally have a chance to speak his own musical mind on vinyl (er-plastic). "I'm fortunate enough on this record to make the kind of record I wanted to make," A. says. "I had the gear and the time to get as close as I could to the vibe I am trying to create. I can't say that about other least not as much. This recording feels good." Though he may be known for hard rock and blues, A. says that his new album should be a pleasant surprise to his established fans and a welcoming invitation to new ones. "What my reputation is and what the record is are opposites," A. says, "but this record allowed me to take all my influences and songs and express things in different ways." When asked if he was anxious about this apparent new direction, A. replies that he does not fear new and different opportunities, as long as he can use them to unite his known influences and sounds of the past with "a common thread that gives them their own voice." It is this "voice" that A. constantly strives to define, even as his myriad influences continue to meld an age together. "Creating your own voice for a guitarist is almost an impossible task," A. says, "but I'll keep trying." In this way, A. poses sometime tuesday morning as a musical introduction to his listeners and a musical re-introduction to himself of what he can and wants to do. For those who may be unfamiliar with the fretted canon from which Johnny pulls his ever evolving sound, A. offers the following advice: "Expect the unexpected and hopefully you'll enjoy it." 

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