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King Johnson's last jam

Roots rockers call it quits

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Roots-rock band King Johnson has announced it will play its final show Friday, May 11, at Northside Tavern.

King Johnson was one of the most popular jam bands in the area for many years, no easy feat considering Atlanta's status as a magnet for leading improvisational rock acts. However, in spite of several cross-country tours, collaborations with musicians such as Derek Trucks and Johnny Winters, and releasing five albums, the group never made enough money for its six members to become full-time professionals.

"Our goal was to make a living at this," says Oliver Wood, King Johnson's guitarist and vocalist. "On the business side of things, it would have been nice to achieve a little bit more. But on the creative side of things, we achieved everything we wanted to and more."

King Johnson began winding its activities down in recent years, playing fewer shows. Then bassist and songwriter Chris Long, who co-founded the group with Wood and drummer Greg Baba, announced he was moving to Warsaw, Ind. "We're all great friends, and we're sad that it's over," Wood says. "But you never know. He might come back, and we might have reunion shows at some point."

In related news, Wood continues to have success with his brother Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood) as the Wood Brothers. The two will head into a New York studio next month to record a new album for Blue Note.

BY THE WAY: In my April 25 column, I noted the closing of Studio 980. At one point I wrote, "For a city sorely lacking a legitimate electronic-music scene, it was a much needed outlet."

That seemingly innocuous sentence generated a lively and sometimes heated debate on LunarMagazine.com, a popular Internet forum. It wasn't the first time my articles have drawn criticism, and it won't be the last. But I took interest in the discussion because it was full of intelligent insights, as well as a few misguided errors.

Many assumed I was putting down Atlanta's dance-music scene. That wasn't my intent at all. In fact, I have much respect for the DJs, promoters and fans in that community. The sentence in question was just a poor choice of words.

Minor corrections: Ron Trent did not actually perform at Studio 980 on the night he was scheduled to play (April 14). Flight problems prevented him from fulfilling the date. Also, Studio 980 charged for events at the door, and gave away its soda and water for free.

Finally – and I'm only going to say this once – I'm just one person. I can't attend every concert and/or party nor profile every artist and/or label in town. And frankly, I don't want to. But I'll do what I can. If there's something I've missed, an artist/event/record label I should know about, or a musical phenomenon that I should pay attention to, holler at me.

RANDOM NEWS: Yung Joc's new album, Hustlenomics, will hit stores July 31. The first single is "Coffee Shop." ... Boyz N Da Hood's follow-up, Back Up N Da Chevy, drops Aug. 7. ... Alt-rock combo the Swear continues to toil away at its follow-up to 2005's Every Trick's a Good One (which CL cited as one of the year's best local albums). Producers on board include Ted Niceley (Fugazi), Jeff Tomei (Smashing Pumpkins) and Eli Janney (Ryan Adams, Secret Machines). The disc should come out before the end of the year. ... Rising power-pop band Cartel will enter a transparent bubble on Hudson River Park in New York, where they'll eat, sleep, breathe and record a new album. The group will emerge from the bubble June 12 and give a celebratory concert. Cartel's odd stunt begins May 24, and will be broadcast on MTV.

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