John Crain – Vocals, Guitar (acoustic, electric, slide, weissenborn)
Influences – Peter Green, Gatemouth Brown, Lightnin Hopkins, Taj Mahal, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Mark Knofler, Neil Young, Delbert McClinton, Bob Marley, Chinna Smith, Dennis Bovell, Jimmy Cliff, Lowell George
Born Jackson Mississippi, Raised in Buffalo, Rochester NY. First Band El-Paso, Texas 1972
First gigs were with his mentor, Big Sonny Farlow (Sir Douglas Quintet, Lowriders w/Jimmy Carl Black) Sonny was the Big Dog in El Paso, Texas where John lived for a time. In addition to Texas Blues, he also became fascinated with Jamaican Blues. He moved to Eugene mid 70’s, and started Oregons’s first Reggae Radio Program Air Jamaica (KLCC). Played in several bands before forming Native Pulse in 1980 (first Oregon Reggae band with Belizian master drummer Bibs Goff and Alan Alexander (Dub Squad). The Pulse, and variations thereof, held the closing spot at the Oregon Country Faire three years running.
He moved to Portland 1989 and went back to the blues. John entered the Portland Blues scene playing lead guitar with local Blues vocalist J.C. Rico in a band which included some of Portland’s finest blues players, Claire Luce on Keys, Dave Kohl on bass, Paul Jones on drums, he also gigged with the late great Paulette Davis, before hooking up with the Kita Montgomery Band for a 4 year Stint. Next he formed Mumbo Gumbo with the fabulous soul singer Ural Thomas where the focus was 2nd line, Zydeco and New Orleans Blues. John also hired on to do a cross country tour with Etoufee who had lost their lead guitarist, John Foal to Dr. John. Other bands of note, Jaywalkers, Arousing Spirit, Public Eye, Pound for Pound.
Gigs of Note:
Oregon Country Faire (Native Pulse, Arousing Spirit, Jaywalkers)
Isla Mujeres Music Festival (Splash)
Portland Rose festival (Kita Montgomery Band)
Gulfshores Alabama, Shrimp festival (Etoufee)
Grant Johnson – Vocals, Keyboards
Grant Johnson is a jazz and blues pianist with vast experience as a performer, session player, composer, arranger, and teacher. He recently finished recording Billy Wolff’s Threat Matrix with jazz legends Russell Ferrante, Will Kennedy, Bob Mintzer, and Jimmy Haslip of Yellowjackets fame. Included in that recording is one of his tunes from his original jazz/rock opera These Are The Times.
Grant has performed and recorded with Grammy Award-winning blues and rock greats like Charlie Musselwhite, Jackson Browne, Dobie Gray, and Gene Vincent. He was a founding member of The Psychedelic Rangers with John Densmore and Robby Krieger of The Doors, and Billy Wolff. He played for other seminal ‘60s bands, including The Sound Machine, The Truth, and Fever Tree, and in the ‘70’s with Blue Heaven. He toured with oldies greats, such as The Drifters, The Coasters, and The Platters. He also was one of the founding members of Segue, a revered Bay Area jazz trio.
Mentored by Miles Davis’ drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist George Morrow of the famous quintet featuring Max Roach and Clifford Brown, Grant owes some of his musical expertise to his mother, world-class violist Maxine Johnson of the Amati String Quartet, and of the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein, among other renowned groups (and who you can hear playing on every Alfred Hitchcock movie!).
Grant has recorded on Warner Bros. Records, Epic Records and Columbia Records.
Brian Godula – Bass Guitar and Vocals
Brian studied the cello at a young age, eventually learning upright bass and then electric bass. While in high school Brian played cello and upright bass with the San Jose City Orchestra. He has been in the music business since the mid-60’s playing in various S.F. Bay-area original bands including Stoneground a nationally successful act in 1971. He went on to form bands with musicians such as drummer Michael Shrieve from Santana, guitarist Lyle Workman from Sting’s’s band and guitarist Pat Thrall from The Pat Travers Band. Brian formed the Portland, Oregon label, Zoppa Records in 2001 .
Bill Skar – Drums and Vocals, Percussion
Bill’s percussion career started at age 9 in grade school. From there he moved to Drum and Bugle Corps followed by various High school bands and then University Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Big Band. Upon graduation he moved to the San Francisco Bay area for five years, where he played in a number of established bands playing Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz and Latin.
After touring continuously for nearly ten years with many national acts, Bill moved to Los Angeles, where he was able in a very competitive environment to find studio work recording radio jingles, and supporting aspiring singers and songwriters in addition to playing and acting on several national television commercials. He also worked for a while as a talent coordinator and then as a booking agent with an international production firm. After more than a decade in LA, he felt drawn to touring again and hit the road for several years, playing in Nevada, the mid-west and south into Texas. Bill finally returned to Portland where we all decided he was a good fit for our band.