Z

Johnny Ford Soothes & Shocks with Blues & Rock

In Music on April 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Photo: Nadia Itani

Photo: Nadia Itani

His music is straight up — raw, real, and from the heart. His voice drives home the pain, love, and longing of real life in an era of polished, over-produced, pre-packaged culture commodities. Bitter, bold, and have the balls to cut the bullshit? Johnny Ford’s music and straight-ahead, no-nonsense live show will let you know that you’re never alone.

Give a listen at www.johnnyfordshow.com. He performs on April 21st at The Studio at Webster Hall with a drummer, bassist, and a big fat sound to blow your mind out and hit and heal your hardened heart.
Mixing elements of blues, grunge, and rock’n’roll, Johnny Ford tells it like it is. He mixed it up with City Circus in the interview that follows.
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City Circus How did you get into music?
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Johnny Ford Music got into me!!–I wasn’t even trying!!–Ha!– But seriously, the power of music was really my thing from a very early age–4 or 5 years old…and the way music can just transport you to another world or bring you into a place of energy or sadness or bliss. I was hooked immediately.
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CC What were some of your first explorations?
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JF Well, I was always singing along to the radio.  I have a twin sister and we used to just launch into these songs on the radio together and tear it up, ya know?–She’s a great singer.—But my first instrument was the drums–my grandfather’s a drummer and he began to formally teach me when I was ten years old.  He’d try to teach me all these rudiments and how to read music and do things properly but I just wanted to rock!!!—I think it was a very frustrating experience for him!!
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CCWho are some of your musical influences and why?

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

JF I’ve been influenced by so much…and really almost everything…even the stuff I consider to be bad music influences me!!!—But what I really pay attention to or what really grabs me is anything that rings ‘true’.–Anything that feels genuine.  Specifically, I’ve always loved alot of the old Delta Blues legends like Son House, Johnny Shines, of course Robert Johnson–I just love the passion and the act of pouring your heart out through a song.–And I get the same reaction to Punk Rock and even some Rap or Hip-Hop.  I mean, the emotional punch to the gut that you get from listening to a Tupac record is very similar to that punch you get from a Black Flag song—I’ve always said that good music is good music regardless of the genre.
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CC So what do you write about?
Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

JF I write about personal expriences mostly. My songs are pretty much like a journal or diary of my life. –And I’ve kinda had a rough life (laughs)!!…so, I mean, they’re all real — from the heartbreak and how you feel when you’ve been cheated on by your lover to waking up in a drunk tank. I also sing about the beauty in life, though — how it is or how I’ve felt when falling in love or just how a sunny day somewhere out in nature is a spiritual or religous type of thing. I try to capture these emotions as well.  And I try to make my melodies as beautiful as I can .. even when I’m singing about the harcore subjects. I love to sing.

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CC How do you craft your songs? What are some of your techniques you use when songwriting?
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JF Well, every song is a little different but honestly, the best ones just come through me. Some of my best songs have literally just come right out of my mouth and fingers on the first pass. That’s not everytime, but when it does happen it makes me realize that I’m not really responsible for these songs at all — that it’s all a gift from God, ya know?  My song ’21 days’ was like that — BOOOM!! DONE — in like three and a half-minutes. And then people just started responding to it left and right — people were singing the chorus — with it stuck in their heads — after hearing it just once!!  We just shot the video for ’21 Days’.
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CC How do you feel about the New York music scene?
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JF I have great respect for anyone pursuing their creative passion here in New York. I mean, here, every waiter or cab driver or store clerk is either an actor or a musician or novelist.  And it’s not like middle-America where a town will have like one or two bands and everyone will come out for every show, ya know? In New York, there are a thousand different things to do on any given night, so gettin’ peoples’ attention and holding it is no small task.  Also, everything costs so fucking much here compared to the rest of the country and it’s really a struggle and a grind just to pay your bills here. So, all power to the people of New York City!!
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CC So what’s on the map for Johnny Ford right now and where can we check you out online and in-person?
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JFRight now we’re  gearing up for a big show at The Studio @ Webster Hall—

Photo: Nadia Itani

Photo: Nadia Itani

Saturday April 21 at 9pm—gonna be a great show!!—I’ve got an amazing drummer and bass player backing me up so it’ll be a big fat sound—can’t wait!!–Also, I’m in the studio recording several songs–we’ve got some major-label interest so that’s exciting–Johnny Ford’s getting his music out to the people this year!!—As far as online–there’s my main website which is johnnnyfordshow.com —And there’s Facebook of course which is faceboook.com/johnnyfordshow.  And my management has just got me dipping my toe into the Twitter pool so watch out for my tweets (laughs)!!!

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CC Cool, thank you very much for the opportunity to toss it back and forth with you.
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