Music » Interviews

Kevin Johnson's sound advice


  • David Atkinson
Kevin Johnson began his musical journey banging on pots and pans to Beatles albums, then went on to play more conventional instruments in the Palmer High School band. Once described as an uglier, less-talented Keith Moon — or so he tells us — he was selected for the Marine Corps music program and spent four years bashing away in uniform. His stints in local bands include Lazy Spacemen, Big Back Yard and the Men of Deep Throat. He’s also played with some of the scene’s more notable musicians in a handful of Halloween season “Monsters of Mock” tributes: Mike Stephens’ Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen projects, the Replacements with Collin Estes and Chuck Snow, and an impressively disastrous turn as a drunken Mick Fleetwood in Jeff Fuller and Kellie Palmblad’s Fleetwood Mac. These days, he can most often be found slinging french fries from the Potato Potato food truck.

Essential Saturday night listening: I take the Potato Potato fry factory to Storybook Brewing on Saturday nights. I’m all over the map with music, but Follow the Leader by Eric B & Rakim, Elvis Costello (with The Attractions, naturally) and Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? by The Unicorns all get heavy rotation these days. I feel bad for Storybook’s patrons having to listen to me butcher Rakim’s lyrics.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Jeff Buckley’s magnificent and tragic debut album Grace is always welcome on the stereo. For the last couple of years, my wife and I have enjoyed the more intimate solo albums from Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff (The Night Sweats are good, too). Right now, it’s Frazey Ford’s Indian Ocean. She’s a total badass.

“Wish I’d written these” songs: “Bath” by Harry Nilsson, John Lennon’s favorite songwriter, is short, sweet and shows Nilsson in top form as a vocalist. Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo” propelled the seminal power pop outfit’s 1972 debut album to greatness. Also Bob Mould, who took up the power pop mantle for a while in Sugar; their debut album’s track “The Act We Act” just opens wide when it arrives at the chorus.

Artists more people should know about: If you like the heavy proto-metal of Black Sabbath, Britain’s Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are a lesser-known group that exploit fuzz-tone and a sinister aesthetic to menacing effect. Bandleaders Jay and Mark Duplass are now big-time famous, creating television and film projects at a dizzying pace. I also want to plug Mark’s band Volcano, I’m Still Excited!! from the early 2000s, and to publicly beg that they reunite.

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