To listen to Johnny Max tell it, and to watch Johnny Max present it, you understand very quickly that there’s more to creating great music than simply performing a first-rate piece of music well. It’s much more all encompassing than that.

 

Max’s take includes engaging the audience, making his show accessible. He wants to more than simply feed off the audience, he looks to make them part of the experience. And he does so with his good natured wit.

 

Using humour to get your point across is always risky because there’s a fine line between entertaining and being the comic. To his credit Johnny Max knows how to tread that line because the music always comes first.

 

Max’s music doesn’t always follow conventional Blues lines. Rather than be confined to the traditional 12 bar influenced forms, this veteran of the musical wars favours substance rather than convention.

 

While his first three releases firmly established Max in the Blues idiom, it was on his fourth, the Juno nominated A Lesson I’ve Learned, that Johnny added to his Blues sensibilities, and found his groove. And that groove had more to do with Southern Soul than straight up Blues. Of note, check the title track whose chorus might have been lifted from the Dan Penn songbook.

 

Max’s new disc, It’s A Long Road, picks up where “Lesson” left off – with a wallop! Partnering with a brand new band, Johnny lays down a dozen tracks with a heavy dosage of Gumbo R&B, nods to Rock’em Sock’em Soul, and hints of all-out Boogie work-outs and Tom Waits styled tonalities. Along the way, Johnny relates his most deeply personal stories to date.

 

You would think that all of the above would be enough to keep anyone busy but Max also finds time to host a radio show: (“Sunday Morning Soul” on The HAZE FM, www.thehazefm.ca, Canada’s only commercial web radio station Sunday mornings at 11AM and Wednesdays at 10PM.), and co-program the CNE Bandshell BluesFest, (with Rico Ferrara), among other ventures.

 

It’s all in days work for Max. And he and his fans wouldn’t have it any other way.


JOHNNY MAX

Johnny is a soulful singer whose respect, and passion for all types of music is evident. He is also a brilliant entertainer who has audiences thoroughly enjoying each show. Johnny Max has built up a solid reputation as one of those guys who gives 110% and is one of the most action-packed and satisfying entertainers around. Johnny takes to performing like a fish to water, a perpetual motion machine, galvanizing his spicy blend of Stax/Volt, Atlantic, Funk, and Blues into frenzied heights, often propelling himself into the audience’s eager arms.

Check out Johnny's myspace site


Johnny Max Band Members and Alumni


JIM CASSON

One of the most trusted drummers Johnny knows.  Plays in Johnny's Soul Reason Revue, The Regal Blues Band, The JMB, The Heart Attacks, and many other permutations.  He is the drummer on the new CD "Roadhouse Soul". Jim also designed the CD packages for the last 6 CDs and is our webmaster. He has his own critically acclaimed ambient music project - Dark Orchard. His mantle boasts Maple Blues Awards, Jazz Report Awards, Hammer Blues Awards, and Juno nominations. He is also quite a cherry picker.


VINCE MACCARONE

Vince Maccarone is a sought after performer and studio musician on both drum set and hand percussion. He is also a band leader, writer and conducts master classes and workshops. Vince is best known for his unique “world music” approach and is well versed in all styles of music. His live performances display an unbreakable link between traditional music and cutting-edge contemporary. Originally from the mining town of Sudbury, ON Canada, he is based in Toronto and tours throughout Canada, United States and Europe. After a 25 year absence from post secondary education, Vince is currently earning his under-graduate degree from Humber College with plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology from York University. Vince’s drumming has been featured on commercials for clients such as Tim Hortons, Coca Cola, TD Bank and many more. Some artists Vince has worked with include: Colin Linden, Denny Doherty of The Mammas and Pappas, Deanna Bogart, Gregory Hines, Jim Belushi and New Orleans great Earl King who commented “that drummer is hot!” he also has been with Paul Reddick and The Sidemen for the past 15 years. He has shared the stage with many blues greats such as BB King, Junior Wells, Joe Louis Walker, Koko Taylor, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Colin James and a 2 week tour backing blues legend Buddy Guy.


JOHN FINDLAY

Singer-songwriter, guitarist & pianist John Findlay has worked with numerous pop, blues & jazz luminaries including: Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Katrina and the Waves, Marc Jordan, Carlos Del Junco, Colin Linden, Rita Chiarelli, Georgie Fame, Snooky Prior, Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church, Richard Carpenter & Carol Welsman.

With the release of "FAIRPLAY" at Hughs Room in 2006 John garnered the attention of the Canadian blues community and the CD has sold all around the world.

"John's sound is a kind of uptown goes downtown." Steely Dan meets Little Feat with a touch of Motown: a mix of blues, jazz and funky New Orleans.


WAYNE "SHIFTY" DEADDER

Wayne began playing professionally at 13.  Played in JUNO nominated ("Best Blues Recording" - 2000) band Big Daddy G from 1997-2005.  Also played with Hock Walsh (original Downchild singer), Dawn Tyler Watson, Michael Pickett, Jeff Healey, David Wilcox, Richard Bell (The Band, Bonnie Rait), Jimmy Bowskill, and Dan Gallagher's Beat Heathens. He has written songs for Steve Marriner , Big Daddy G, Jimmy Bowskill.

DYLAN WICKENS

Wickens is a two time winner of the Toronto Blues Society's New Talent Search with his former band "The Dylan Wickens Band" and also with "Soulstack".  He was also a nominee at the Maple Blues Awards in the "Best New Artist" category with Soulstack.  Presently he writes, records, and performs with Soulstack, The 9s, and plays guitar with Johnny Max and the Heart Attacks.


ULI BOHNET

Bass player from 2005-2007.  Uli played on "Ride and Roll".  One of the stalwarts in The JMB.  Another one of the first call Bass players in the city and always a member of The JMB.


MARTIN AUCOIN

“Man, he can, outright, play” is what you hear about Martin Aucoin. He doesn’t just play, He lets you hear what he’s saying. Martin has played keyboards in numerous country and R&B bands around Toronto, including Morgan Davis, and Jack DeKeyzer, before moving to Nashville in 1990. He then toured with BJ Thomas for a year and a half. He also played on recording sessions for George Strait, Garth Brooks, Confederate Railroad, and John Michael Montgomery. He has played live with Larry Carlton, Tony Joe White, Bo Diddley, Ricky Van Shelton, Alan Jackson, Alex Harvey, the Drifters, Mark O'Connor, as well as having a 4 year gig at the Grand Ole Opry with Jimmy C. Newman, the great Cajun singer.  Martin played keyboards on "Ride And Roll" and played keyboards, was co-writer and co-producer on "A Lesson I've Learned".


KEVIN "LIGHTNIN" HIGGINS

Kevin started the band along with Johnny. Phenomenal guitarist and a great teacher.  Kevin left the band in 2006 wanting to spend more time with his family.  He is on the first 3 CD's.


TEDDY LEONARD

Teddy Leonard has been a guitarist in the Canadian roots scene for more than 25 years.  As a member of the seminal roots collective "Fathead" he has recorded 5 CD's and garnered two Juno nominations {taking home the prize in 1999 for "Best Blues Recording"}.  The next year he was honored as "Guitarist of the Year" at the Maple Blues Awards.  As support for Handy and Juno nominee Paul Reddick he has toured Europe and Canada in recent years. Stints with Colin Linden, Morgan Davis and Pork Belly Futures have taken Teddy to New York City, Memphis, Austin and Washington D C.  While recording and playing have been his mainstays composing has landed him on many other artist's discs and soundtracks. Having shared the stage with BB King, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko of The Band Teddy continues to be in demand as a performer.  Teddy plays on "A Lesson I've Learned".


BILL KEELEY

Bill was the first Bass player with the band and played on the first two CDs.  He also played with Morgan Davis & David Wilcox.  Bill passed away in 2005.


BOB VESPAZIANI

One of the finest Roots drummers (and I do mean Roots!!!) in the city.  Played in the band form 2000-2003 and plays on the "In The Doghouse...Again" CD.  Plays with Julian Fauth, Mark "Bird" Stafford among others.


DUNCAN MCBAIN

Dunc was a long time member of the JMB (2003-2008) and played on the "Ride and Roll" and "Lesson I've Learned" CDs.  If he shaved his head he could be Max's twin.  They have never been seen at the same barber at the same time.  Hmmm...


BRUCE LONGMAN

Bruce Longman is best described as "so far in the pocket, it doesn't get any deeper". He has been a working musician for 27 years in Canada with stints in the U.S. and as far away as Japan. Bruce was a member of the JMB from 2007-2008.


GARTH VOGAN

The composite Bass player and a good friend.  Always a first call player.  Played with our good friend Joe Ingrao and with Chuck Jackson & The All Stars among others.  Plays on "A Lesson I've Learned".


EDDIE DAILIDE

The JMB's first drummer and probably the loudest snap on a snare you have ever heard.  A consummate groove machine.  Played on The first CD "Long Gone Train".  Now plays down in the States with a  number of bands.


STEVE GRISBROOK

A fantastic guitarist & showman and one of Johnny's best friends and sometime partner in a number of duo/trio permutations.  Played and led Midnite Walk (with Rod Phillips & Garth Vogan), also played with Chicago Pete and Chuck Jackson & The All-Stars.  Has a brand new CD out www.stevegrisbrook.com 


WAYNE "SHAKEY" DAGENAIS

Wayne began playing piano by ear at age 11.  Has performed in rock, country, blues, R 'n B, and theatre ensembles since his early 20's including performing all over Florida with jump/blues band The Regulators, & Clarksdale, Mississippi based artist/musician Stan Street and the Streetwalkers, rock/blues outfit Dave Shelley and Bluestone, and Gabriel Butterfield (son of blues legend Paul Butterfield.), and Electric Flag singer/saxophonist  Maurice Jacox (vocal coach to Johnny Lang).  Most recently a full-time member The Gary Kendall  Band.  He has backed up Carl Weathersby, Phil Guy, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitely in concert.