Born in Marked Tree, Arkansas in a small country house built by his Grandfather, Johnny was raised in rural Michigan, a blue collar kid from a factory working family. While his parents preferred the country stars of 'down home', he didn't have a great interest in music until about 1964 when he first heard the Beatles.
His uncle gave him his first guitar, a Sears acoustic with a warped neck, but Johnny didn't put it down for weeks. He learned everything from Beatles to Elvis and even made a few attempts at starting bands, but nothing really worked out.
Later, with wanderlust in his bones as a teen, he hitch-hiked all over the eastern seaboard with a guitar and a Navy sea bag, learning the blues and taking a shot at songwriting. He spent a summer in Washington D.C., painting houses and learning blues from sing-a-longs that took place most nights in La Fayette Circle and Georgetown.
Later, he moved west to Santa Monica with Kidd Spike's sister, Gaye Austin. After starting a few dead on arrival hippie bands, he heard the Ramones on the radio on the way home from work one day and everything changed.
A pioneer punk rock musician, Johnny Stingray started his career with The Controllers, which he co-founded with Kidd Spike. With The Controllers, he recorded the legendary 'Neutron Bomb' (a Johnny Stingray composition) for Chris Ashford's What? label and the band became an icon at the Masque punk rock scene in Hollywood, 1977 through 1978. He was lead guitarist on the early tracks.
The Controllers recorded their second single for Phillipe Mogane's Siamese Records, with David Campbell (future indie favorite, Beck's father) producing and Beck's grandfather (renown artist Al Hansen) managing the band. Johnny switched from lead guitar to bass by this point and along with the Maddog on drums, The Controllers became a very tight punk rock 3 piece, with Johnny and Kidd Spike sharing lead vocals.
By the time the band recorded their final tracks for the era, on Chris D's Upsetter label, the end was near. Johnny was exhausted and out of cash, Kidd Spike went on to co-found the Gears and the Maddog went to London to join Jimmy The Hoover.
After a short respite from the music scene, Johnny switched back to guitar and with Amy Wichmann and Lisa Addams, started the short lived, but legendary KAOS in 1980.
KAOS recorded one single for Chris Ashford's What? label once again - Top Secret, Alcoholiday, and Iron Dream. Johnny played lead guitar and wrote or co-wrote all the band's material. KAOS saw a release in 2003 of outtakes and alternate versions on the Artifix label.
In the early 90's, Johnny relocated to Lansing Mi, where he became a favorite on the campus coffeehouse scene, playing punk favorites and some of his newer compositions on acoustic guitar. He signed on for an album and a tour(as bassist) for Lansing punk rock legends Just Say No.
Returning to Los Angeles in 1993, he once again joined forces with Kidd Spike in Skull Control which slowly morphed back into The Controllers for a 3 song recording (later released on Artifix records release 'Another Sunny Day').
The year 2000 saw The Controllers gigging again on the success of their first CD for Dionysus records and recording 3 more tracks, again for future release on Artifix Records 'Another Sunny Day'.
After retiring from the punk rock scene in 2010, Johnny returned to his hillbilly/Michigan roots with songs and recording that reflect his rootsy Americana approach to modern music. He continues to write and learn new instruments to flavor his recordings, including lap steel, piano, and bottleneck/slide guitar styles.