|Birth name||Thessex Johns|
March 1, 1938 |
Alligator, Mississippi, United States
|Genres||Chicago blues, soul blues|
|Occupations||Singer, keyboardist, drummer, harmonica player, songwriter|
|Instruments||Keyboards, drums, harmonica, vocals|
Johnny Drummer (born Thessex Johns, March 1, 1938) is an American Chicago blues and soul blues singer, keyboardist, drummer, harmonica player, and songwriter. His stage name came after viewing the film, Johnny Guitar, adopting the name to suit his then choice of instrument.
Drummer has released three albums.
Life and career
Drummer was born and raised in Alligator, Mississippi, United States, and first sang in his local church at the age of seven. He visited his mother in Chicago, Illinois, in 1954 and 1955, and joined the U.S. Army the following year. In addition to serving his country, Drummer learned to play the drums during his three-year period of duty. By 1959, he had permanently relocated to Chicago, where he remains to the present.
In 1960, he joined a band containing Lovie Lee and Carey Bell, and later played drums for about a year for Eddie King. After forming his own band, the Starliters, Drummer recorded a couple of tracks, "Lookin' For My Baby" and "I Can't Stop Twisting," with a local record label, Wonderful Records, but these were never released. In 1965, Drummer also recorded vocal overdubs on two tracks for Billy "The Kid" Emerson, but these were also not issued. During the 1960s, the Starliters variously included Sammy Lawhorn and Eddie Shaw. Drummer also played on several of Eddie King's singles, and in 1965 once played with B.B. King at a concert when King's regular drummer did not arrive. Drummer was reluctantly pressed forward in his own band's line-up to sing, and left regular drum playing to others.
In 1974, Drummer obtained full-time employment with the Chicago Police Department, where he worked for twenty years. However, he continued to play music in the evenings, having learned the rudiments of harmonica playing from Junior Wells. In the latter part of that decade, Drummer recorded "The Fire is Gone" and "I'll Find a Way," which were released as a single by Abco Records. By 1985 Drummer had switched to playing the keyboards, and he and his band opened for many musicians including Denise LaSalle, Z.Z. Hill, Koko Taylor, Tyrone Davis and Willie Mabon.
His debut album, It's So Nice was released on Earwig in 1999. Cub Koda noted, "his knack for a catchy phrases and lyrical hooks coupled with funky grooves and solid instrumental mixes makes this album a real sleeper". Subsequent album releases were Unleaded Blues (2001) and Rockin' in the Juke Joint (2007).
|1999||It's So Nice||Earwig|
|2007||Rockin' in the Juke Joint||Earwig|
- "Johnny Drummer | Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- Hanson, Karen (2007). Today's Chicago Blues (1st ed.). Chicago: Lake Claremont Press. pp. 145–6. ISBN 978-1-893121-19-5.
- "Meet Johnny Drummer". Johnnydrummermusic.com. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- Cub Koda. "It's So Nice - Johnny Drummer | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26.