World Famous Johnsons CD release party at the Gothic
Posted on December 15, 2012
by Tom Walsh
There are plenty of world famous Johnsons out there. When it comes to people you might think of Magic Johnson, Don Johnson, Jimmy Johnson or Ron Jeremy (What!? He has a world famous Johnson doesn’t he?), but how many people know of the Denver based rock band The World Famous Johnsons. I guarantee there are more people out there that know about them now compared to a year ago due to the PR expertise of the band members and their long standing involvement in the Denver music community.
Interstate Live interviewed the band awhile back and I was lucky enough at that time to be able to sit in on their practice that night. What I heard blew me away. I knew all the guys in the band were accomplished at what they did so there was no surprise there, but I was blown away by the cohesiveness of the band, their ability to play off each other, and the songwriting. Their music is something I like to call “highway rock” and
maybe that’s due to the name of their new album “Hitchhiking is Overrated” but I don’t think so. I think it’s more because their music makes me think of a creepy, dark, deserted highway late at night and what might be lying on the side of the road that you can’t see.
The music and lyrics from The World Famous Johnsons tend to be just a tad bit darker than a lot of rock bands and that’s okay because the songs come across as being more real….there seems to be more feeling that goes into the lyrics and music. I mean c’mon…..it doesn’t get much darker than “Baby I Dig You (I Dig You Up).
The World Famous Johnsons finally had an official CD release party at the Gothic Theater for their album “Hitchhiking is Overrated”, and I was psyched to see them live on a fairly good sized stage but…..they didn’t go on until quite late and we all know what happens to the crowd around the time the last band is going on. They disperse. It starts happening as soon as the first band gets off stage and continues throughout the night. People leave as each band exits the stage and by the end of the night there is only a fraction of the crowd left. I’ve seen it happen a lot, and because of this people have missed some really great acts.
By the time The World Famous Johnsons took the stage quite a lot of the seats in the house had emptied, but to my surprise there seemed to be quite a few dedicated fans sticking it out, just waiting for the Johnsons to get up there and play. What can I say about The World famous Johnsons live show……These guys play their heart out.
When I originally saw these guys during their rehearsal the night of the interview Damion was on drums and Shane Delray was one of the two guitar players, but that line-up has changed since then. The two new additions to the band are drummer Jamey Crow Bartley and Horse guitarist Donnie Crisp, and because of this change the dynamics of the band and the sound has changed slightly, and the new songs have different feel to them. One other big change in the line-up comes from the absence of guitarist Julian Anderson. With two guitar players in this band the sound is usually thick and full of crunch but when a key guitar player is missing you can definitely tell.
Even with the change in band members and Julian not being there The World Famous Johnsons did their best to tear it up. After all the show must go on….right?
It’s too bad fans of the earlier bands didn’t stick around to see these guys play because The World Famous Johnsons is an exceptional band with a huge amount of talent. WFJ took the stage and lit into a frenzied set, playing the songs I had heard before and a couple new ones that were added to the album after Jamey and Donnie joined the band. Their live show, as well as their album may not appeal to teenagers and 20 something’s because they are a mature rock band, and as such their music is a more grown-up, mature, focused type of rock bordering on metal. But if you love the older classics from Black Sabbath and AC/DC you’re gonna love these guys.
Every single guy in this line-up knows their instrument and it shows in a live setting. To say Ace can still sing is somewhat of an understatement. His voice has gotten rougher over the years, but that’s a good thing. It
has more warmth and depth to it than it did years ago and at some points in the show his voice was at least a little reminiscent of Bonn Scott.
Scott Parker had his hands full holding down the low end since they were playing with one guitar player less than the songs were written for, but he took on the challenge and rounded out the songs nicely, slammin’ away on his bass. The groove was laid down by Scott and Jamey, keeping the songs tight while Ace wailed out the vocals and Donnie did that thing he does so well on the six string. In fact one of the best songs of the night was “Swamp song” which is one of the new tunes, and Donnie tears it up on that tune. All the songs that night were played almost to perfection and if there were any screw-ups I couldn’t tell and that is a tell-tale sign these guys are all veteran musicians of the Denver music scene.
To watch these guys play is to watch professionalism in action and although their music and sound may not appeal to everyone they will definitely appeal to the “older” hard rock/ heavy metal crowd, because these are not happy-go-lucky, pump your fist in the air, jump up and down songs. The World Famous Johnsons put on a gritty, entertaining show and play songs to fight, love and drink to and if you’re a rocker over the age of thirty five chances are that’s the kind of rock you’re used to.
For more info on World Famous Johnsons please visit:
All Photos Copyright © 2012 Interstatelive.com
Check out these other articles on Interstate Live...
Concert Review: Halestorm at Summit Music Hall in Denver, CO
Concert review: Otherwise rocks Grizzly Rock
Album review: 'Blood' by In This Moment
Concert Review: Lit lights up Summit Music Hall with a great mix of new and old songs
Concert Review: The Offspring blast through 18 years of music at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver
13,000 fans attend an Uproar at Comfort Dental Amphitheater
Live show review: Vices I Admire come back with a killer show at the Marquis
Concert review: Sold out show at the Marquis proves that even after 30 years The Adicts still deserve your attention
World Famous Johnsons on Stage at the Gothic in Denver, CO. Photo by Tom Walsh
Donnie Crisp. Photo by Tom Walsh