Johnstone in 2008 at an Elton John concert, with his signature Les Paul guitar model.
|Birth name||David William Logan Johnstone|
6 May 1951 |
|Instruments||Guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, sitar, synthesizer, tenor banjo, Vocals|
|Labels||Vertigo, Rocket, Artful Balance Records|
|Associated acts||Elton John, Noel Murphy, Magna Carta, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, John Jorgenson, Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, The Pointer Sisters, Leo Sayer|
|Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Flying V
Johnstone's first work was with Noel Murphy in 1968, where he received his first album credit on the album Another Round. By 1969, Johnstone had secured regular work as a session musician, where he began to branch out and explore differing genres of music, and experiment with a variety of instruments. In 1970, when Lyell Tranter, one of the two guitarists in the acoustic British folk group Magna Carta, left the band, Johnstone took his place as a member. He recorded several albums with them beginning in 1970 on Seasons, (1970) and continued to contribute to Songs from Wasties Orchard (1971), (named after the street where he lived in Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire), and a live album entitled In Concert.
During his stint with Magna Carta, Johnstone played a wide variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, sitar, and dulcimer. It was during his work with Magna Carta that he caught the attention of producer Gus Dudgeon who asked Johnstone to play on Bernie Taupin's eponymous 1970 solo album, which resulted in a meeting with Elton John and Johnstone playing on his 1971 album Madman Across the Water. After playing on Madman Across the Water, he was invited to join Elton John's band as a full member.
In 1972 he worked with Joan Armatrading and Pam Nestor on their Gus Dudgeon produced debut album Whatever's for Us, playing acoustic and electric guitar on several tracks, and sitar on the song "Visionary Mountains".
Johnstone released a solo album, Smiling Face, in 1973 through The Rocket Record Company and created a short-lived band called China that released an eponymous album in the late 1970s.
Even while playing alongside other artists such as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnstone was never very far from Elton's projects and, following his reunion with original band mates Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray full-time for 1982's "Jump Up" tour, has since rarely been absent from an Elton John album track or tour.
In 1990, Johnstone collaborated for the first time with lyricist Steve Trudell. With music and lyric in place, the two formed Warpipes, which included past and present Elton John band members Nigel Olsson on drums, Bob Birch on bass, Guy Babylon on keyboards, along with Billy Trudel as vocalist. In 1991, Warpipes released their only album, Holes in the Heavens, on self-owned label Artful Balance Records. When Artful Balance Records folded, this album was re-released on Bridge Recordings. The album title was changed to simply "Warpipes" and the song lineup was altered slightly.
In 1991, Johnstone produced Addison Steel's cult-classic Stormy Blue in which he played guitar, mandolin, sitar, banjo and vocals. Co-producer Guy Babylon joined with keyboard arrangements with Nigel Olsson and Billy Trudell adding percussion and vocals.
In 1996, Johnstone released an instructional guitar video titled Davey Johnstone: Star Licks Master Sessions for Star Licks Productions, in which he plays a wide variety of John classics, joined by Billy Trudel on vocals and Bob Birch on bass.
In 1997, while on tour with John, Johnstone and then Elton John bandmate and former Hellecasters guitarist John Jorgenson spent much of their off time creating Crop Circles, an album of acoustic instrumentation released in 1998.
On 10 June 2009, Johnstone played a landmark 2,000th show as a member of the Elton John Band at the SECC in Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently serving as John's musical director, in addition to his guitar work, playing along with Nigel Olsson and John Mahon; he also performed with Bob Birch before Birch's death in August 2012.
Johnstone lives in Los Angeles.
- Smiling Face (1973)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Davey Johnstone.|
- Magna Carta official website
- Davey Johnstone's 2,000th Show
- "Ask Davey Johnstone a Question" on musinq.com