Born in Omaha Nebraska and raised in San Antonio Texas, John began playing piano at seven. His style developed in his early teens, while studying under San Antonio-based jazz pianist Nobuko Utterback.
During the mid- 1980’s, John began to work with a variety of bands playing rock, funk, blues and fusion music. In 1991, after completing his Bachelor’s degree in studio art, John moved to South Korea to teach English. He eventually joined a Korean group called Joybox, whose pop single “Special” made it to #23 in the K-Pop charts in 2000.
Now adding acoustic guitar to his repertoire, John records in his makeshift home studio, and records tunes that reflects his earlier musical roots of low-fi indie songs, with slight touches of folk and world music.
The eleven-song CD Again and Again stems from songs written and recorded by John from 1996 through 2009. Using such instruments as toy drums, toy keyboards and ethnic instruments, John attempts to create songs for those who are approaching or passing middle age – with all of the trials and tribulations that this time of life entails. Issues of regret, disillusionment and attempts of personal redemption and hope are explored. His aim is to create indie rock songs with slight hints of jazz, folk and world music that will be both familiar and refreshing to listeners everywhere.
Again and Again -Liner Notes
The Real UnderGround
One thing I really miss about getting a big, bulky vinyl record, apart from enjoying the almost poster-sized artwork, is reading the liner notes. Sure,alot of it can be pretentious, self-congratulatory stuff, but it was simply fun to read about the artist in a format that urged you to listen while you read.
So here I am, sitting highly caffeinated at a coffee shop, writing some virtual liner notes for Again and Again. Honestly, I'll be very surprised if this CD sells anything at all. Two other CDs I've made (Hello: Low-Fi and Fragments) sold absolutely nothing--nada.
So,that moves me to another category altogether:I'm one of the real
underground--the people that you might glance on the street, who secretly have 1,000 poems written, songs recorded, or tons of pictures painted. We can also be the people who have a passion for collecting bottle caps, or building model boats out of balsa wood, or design and re-designing a dream house that they may never build.The people who have a project
or passion that probably seem pointless or an absolute waste of time to others. The outsiders.
Like so many of the people that you may on MySpace, we fund our own projects, we spend countless hours tweeking and honing our craft, with the hopes that somebody, somewhere will listen--and with the sobering knowledge that listening is never guaranteed.And there are many times when no one listens.
That said, it can be a healthy process to create something, and then release that creation. It must have something to do with letting go of something that is so precious to the creator. You just may find somebody,somewhere who will appreciate what you do.
The songs for Again and Again span about fourteen years; the oldest being Forever(1996) and the newest being All Messed Up (2010). More than a few hundred songs have been written during that time, (some I like more than the songs one the CD) but some tunes just don't move well together.
The songs that made it for Again and Again were written for people who may feel a bit worn down,but are too busy with their lives to think too much about anything. There also might be a unsettling realization that they are closer to the end of their lives than the beginning.
Again and Again doesn't have much ambiguity; each of the songs are about something very specific. Sometimes the point is made over and over again, hence the title. Songs 1-3 are things that are talked about during a drunken conversation between two close friends. Oh Lord, the first song, occurs when one speaker tells his buddy that he's about at the end of his rope.
Songs 4-7 cover the span of time when both of the friends return home later that evening/morning, and the events that occur the following day. Songs 8-10 focus on the rush of thoughts that go on in both friends' heads before they fall asleep. Song 11 is when one of them wakes up with an undisclosed epiphany, but also understands that its impact will soon fade away when the day moves on.
And that's about it. All of these songs were recorded either in a walk-in closet, a bedroom or a bathroom, depending on where the vocals sounded better. Toy bongos,toy keyboards and a cajon was used for the drums, along with some loops. Rick Bryant played drums on Over and Over, thanks Rick.I'm guilty of all the other noises. You do what you can.
-John Thomas February, 2011