||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2009)|
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2010)|
Johnson performing with Brother Cane in 2005
|Birth name||Damon Rogers Johnson|
July 13, 1964|
|Genres||Hard rock, southern rock, heavy metal, country, country rock|
|Associated acts||Brother Cane, Alice Cooper, Whiskey Falls, Faith Hill, Sammy Hagar, Damn Yankees, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders|
Damon Rogers Johnson (born July 13, 1964) is an American guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, best known for his work with the hard rock band Brother Cane, and as a guitarist for Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy. He was also the lead guitarist and backup vocalist for country music group Whiskey Falls. Johnson was guitarist of the Alice Cooper band 2004 to 2007 and again from 2009 to 2011. In September 2011 Johnson departed Cooper's band and accepted an invitation to join Thin Lizzy as a full-time guitarist. Currently, most of the touring members of Thin Lizzy form a new group, Black Star Riders.
Johnson lived in Monroeville, Alabama during his grade school years. It was there that he became obsessed with guitar and formed his first garage band with other 8th grade friends, Pat Buskill, Mac Baker, Allen Nettles and Troy Dobbins. He later moved with his family to Geraldine, Alabama where he graduated high school, all the while playing in various bands in the northeast Alabama area.
An offer to join Split The Dark, an established band fronted by former members of the power-pop band Hotel, prompted Johnson's move to Birmingham, Alabama in 1987. Split The Dark was a very popular act on the Southeast US college club circuit, and had won the MTV "Basement Tapes" competition in 1986 but failed to secure a record deal. He would later get his first taste of "bands with record deals" as the guitarist for the Atlanta, Georgia band Witness in 1988 and with the Memphis, Tennessee band, Delta Rebels, in 1989. During this time he also performed with the bands Chinatown and Chyld. It was with Chyld that Johnson garnered the attention of the A&R at Virgin Records. After securing a developmental deal in November 1990, the label eventually persuaded Johnson to take over the lead vocal position, and change the band's name to Brother Cane.
It was Brother Cane that would bring Johnson genuine national notoriety. The band released three albums on Virgin Records (the self-titled debut which sold 250,000 copies, Seeds, and Wishpool) that would yield three #1 singles on rock radio ("Got No Shame", "And Fools Shine On", and "I Lie in the Bed I Make"). "And Fools Shine On" was also featured in the horror film Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Brother Cane toured extensively as a headliner and also as a supporting act on tours by Van Halen, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Candlebox. After what Virgin Records considered an unsatisfactory yield for record sales, the band was released from their contract, and amicably disbanded in 1998.
Post Brother Cane
Some of Johnson's other notable accomplishments are contributing songwriting and guitar duties to Sammy Hagar's Marching to Mars album (1997), recording an all acoustic solo album of mostly his own compositions, (Dust - released in 2000), co-writing the song "Every Day" for Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks (released as the first single from her solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La in 2001), releasing albums with two different side projects (Slave to the System in 2001 and Red Halo in 2003) and playing electric and acoustic guitars on Faith Hill's smash hit single, "Cry" (2002). Johnson briefly joined the band Damn Yankees with Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, and Ted Nugent, and recorded an album that was never released. He also performed as lead guitarist for legendary rock vocalist John Waite (2001–2003). In 2006, Johnson joined the country rock band Whiskey Falls. He also co-wrote the Carlos Santana song "Just Feel Better" with Jamie Houston and Buck Johnson, which featured legendary vocalist Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
In 2005, Brother Cane reunited to perform two shows. A live DVD is also in the works.
In 2010, Johnson released his second acoustic solo album, entitled Release, which features a duet with his daughter Sarah Marlo Johnson as well as a guest appearance by Alice Cooper on vocal and harmonica.
Johnson was recruited for Alice Cooper's band in 2004. He co-wrote and recorded with Alice Cooper on his album "Dirty Diamonds" and toured with the band from 2004 to 2007, leaving to commit to his new band, Whiskey Falls. Johnson returned to the Alice Cooper Band in the summer of 2009, and was featured in Cooper's 2010 live concert DVD & CD, "Theatre of Death - Live At Hammersmith". Johnson worked his fifth tour with Alice Cooper in 2011, and departed the band in September of that year to become a full member of Thin Lizzy. Cooper is also credited with assisting greatly in Johnson's beloved golf game, as the two played hundreds of rounds in their years of touring the world together.
- Witness - Witness (1988) (Arista Records)
- Delta Rebels – Delta Rebels, 1989 (Polygram Records)
- Brother Cane – Brother Cane, 1993 (Virgin Records)
- Brother Cane – Seeds, 1995 (Virgin Records)
- Sammy Hagar – Marching to Mars, 1997
- Brother Cane – Wishpool, 1998 (Virgin Records)
- Damon Johnson – Dust, 2000 (independent)
- Damn Yankees – Bravo (unreleased)
- Slave to the System – Slave to the System, 2002 (independent) / 2006 (Spitfire)
- Faith Hill – Cry, 2002 (Warner Bros. Records)
- Red Halo – Dead Man’s Vitamin, 2003 (independent)
- John Waite – The Hard Way, 2004
- Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds, 2005 (Eagle Rock)
- Chris Scott – Hard Livin', 2005 (independent)
- Alice Cooper – Live at Montreux, CD & DVD, 2006 (Eagle Rock)
- Whiskey Falls – Whiskey Falls, 2007 (Midas Records)
- Damon Johnson – Release, 2010 (Double Dragon Records)
- Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper: Theatre Of Death – Live At Hammersmith 2009 (DVD / CD) 2010 (Bigger Picture)
- Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (2013)
Other songwriting contributions:
- Stevie Nicks – Trouble in Shangri-La ("Every Day" – Johnson/Shanks)
- Ted Nugent – Craveman ("I Won’t Go Away" – Johnson/Nugent)
- Skid Row – Thickskin ("Ghost", "See You Around", "Down from Underground" – Johnson/Bolan/Sabo)
- Santana – All That I Am ("Just Feel Better" – Houston/Johnson/Johnson)
- Queensrÿche – American Soldier ("Middle of Hell", "Home Again" – Gray/Johnson/Rockenfield/Tate)