Growing up in Boston as a young child, he became interested in music, starting with drums at age six. Upon being exposed to The Beatles in 1964 (age 12), Johnny bought a $49 Lafayette Electronics guitar. In the late 1970s, he formed a band called The Streets, performing mostly in the Boston area. In 1986 his band, Hearts On Fire, placed second in the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble only to be edged out by Gang Green
As a sideman, Johnny played with percussionist Mingo Lewis as well as brief stint with drummer Doug Clifford and then with keyboardist Bobby Whitlock. He then began a seven year stint as guitarist and musical director with The J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf. He played on Wolf’s albums, and co-produced one of them, Long Line 1996, as well as joining him on world tours.
In 1999 Johnny A. launched his solo career and independently released his debut CD sometime tuesday morning. The album was re-released in 2001 on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations Entertainment label. The album spawned the #1 single “Oh Yeah” across the USA on the AAA radio format. It marked the first time in over a decade that an instrumental had achieved the top spot on radio. “STM” went on to sell over 90,000 copies. The album was then picked up for distribution by Danny Goldberg at Artemus Records. In 2004, “Get Inside” was released on the Favored Nations Label, yielding two radio singles, “I Had To Laugh,” and a radio edit of the title track “Get Inside.” In 2006 Warner Bros./Alfred Publishing released a Johnny A. instructional DVD entitled “Taste, Tone, Space.” Johnny A.’s recent release (2010 Aglaophone Records) is One November Night, a live DVD/CD set recorded at Sculler’s Jazz in his hometown of Boston. Johnny A. is the recipient of The Boston Music Award’s Blues Artist of the Year 2010
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