Skip to main content

German Producer-composer JJ Whitefield Unleashes "Ghanaian Afro-Rock" JOHNNY! 45x3 Bundle with Eric Owusu, Henry Taylor, Tomi Simatupang & Bernd Oezsevim (Now-Again)

"'Johnny" was our band internal call for "dude," "bro," etc... our sound guy Jochen started, at one point, calling everyone "Johnny" and this spread to the point that everybody was called "Johnny" by everyone in the crew... [it] was easy, you didn't have to remember names... also, there is a similarity to the West African habit of using the name "Charley" for "dude,'" Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers mastermind JJ Whitefield wrote within an email concerning his latest eclectic musical output, JOHNNY! Billed by Now-Again as "Ghanaian Afro-Rock from German producer/composer JJ Whitefield and an international cast of top-shelf musicians," JOHNNY! consists of Johnny (Henry) Taylor on vocals/keys, Johnny (Eric) Owusu on vocals/percussion, Johnny (JJ) Whitefield on guitar, Johnny (Tomi) Simatupang on bass, Johnny (Bernd) Oezsevim on drums, and Karl Hector helming production duties. "[Whitefield] first started exploring African rhythms with The Whitefield Brothers in the late 90's, continuing in the 2000's with Karl Hector & The Malcouns. He’s been instrumental in launching Ghanaian Afro Beat/Funk legend Ebo Taylor's international career, decades after the maestro recorded the landmark albums that have inspired thousands. Whitefield recorded two new studio albums with Taylor and toured in his band between 2009 and 2013, where he met Taylor’s son Henry and percussionist/singer Eric Owusu." JOHNNY! & Karl Hector are currently finishing up a proper full-length for Now-Again.

Johnny Whitefield said the group's influences come from two angles: first, a recent 4-year stint as tenor guitar player in Henry's father Ebo Taylor's band playing Afrobeat and Highlife-stylized music. Whitefield called it a "wonderful experience" playing with Ebo, Henry & Eric, having formed a close kinship easily transcending that of most touring band mates; at that time, the three young musicians already had the urge to continue making music after the Ebo years and in December 2012, JJ Whitefield decided to quit Ebo Taylor's band to start working on a Zamrock-centric project presented to him by Now-Again Records founder Egon. Together, Egon & JJ Whitefield re-issued, re-mastered, an properly released a big chunk of the classic sought-after 70's Zambian Rock LP's. Whitefield worked alongside Zamrock legends Jagari Chanda and Rikki Ililonga, a process which fueled his interest in "merging African rhythms with heavy Fuzzy Rock sounds, et voila: JOHNNY! got his style.” Last Wednesday, October 26th, Now-Again suddenly unleashed JOHNNY!'s 45x3 bundle (or single 7-inch) debut containing "Ago," "I'm Gone," "Only Love," and their companion instrumentals in a limited edition of 1000 die-cut dress jacket and re-sealable "Japanese-style" sleeves; upon my first listen, I almost instantly picked up notes of Thin Lizzy, Death, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Paul Simon's Graceland, Music from Saharan Cellphones, Madlib + Mamao's cross-continental Sujinho album, Stevie Wonder, Seu Jorge, and even Iggy & The Stooges' brand of sleazy Fuzz Rock.


Popular posts from this blog

Written Words: A Conversation with HAMMERED HULLS' Frontman Alec MacKaye & Guitarist Mark Cisneros (The Witzard Interview)

HAMMERED HULLS at Dischord House / CREDIT: Jim Saah

Not only will Alec MacKaye forever be immortalized as the iconic "cover model" for multiple 7+12-inch releases for his older brother, Ian's bands, Minor Threat & The Teen Idles, he has, also, been in countless Punk/HarDCore bands of his own: Untouchables, (The) Faith, Ignition, The Warmers, and Bells Of.. MacKaye has not been part of a band, let alone any musical project, for 20+ years, following the demise of The Warmers with Amy Farina & Juan Carrera in 1997. After an extended self-imposed musical sabbatical, Alec MacKaye has finally returned with a new band. HAMMERED HULLS, featuring an array of Punk/HarDCore mainstays: Mark Cisneros, Mary Timony & Chris Wilson. Together, Cisneros, Timony & Wilson have played with Acquaintances, American Hearts, Autoclave, Chain & The Gang, Deathfix, Des Demonas, EX HEX, The Firebird Suite, Green 4, Helium, Hound, KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS, Led Byrd, TH…

With The Quickness #1: Salad Days Director & Writer Scott Crawford Compiles DC Punk Playlist Spanning 1980's-2019 (Exclusive Spotify Playlist)

CREDIT: Dale Stewart

With The Quickness will, hopefully, be a new column here at The Witzard (shout-out to John Bachman for the column name!) to feature Punk/Hardcore playlists to be curated by people from both in and around the genres. For this inaugural installment, we've asked film-maker, music journalist, musician, and graphic designer Scott Crawford to curate a DC Punk playlist. Oddly enough, I first heard about Crawford via his @saladdazed Instagram & Twitter pages, which largely feature Punk/Hardcore memes, along with rare archival photographs. As a teenager living in the DC suburbs, Scott Crawford started a fanzine called Metrozine, who, in 1985, released a 7-inch compilation called Alive & Kicking with WGNS Recordings. It was recorded at Don Zientara's infamous Inner Ear Studios. It featured contributions from United Mutation, Gray Matter, Beefeater, Mission Impossible—featuring a 16-year-old Dave "G." Grohl on drums—Cereal Killer, and Marginal Man. S…

Dj Cold Cut & DJ Dragon Smasher Mash-up Run The Jewels & Run-D.M.C. Classics On Run The DMC; Plus New RTJ4 Singles (Pig Food Records)

Honestly, at this point in time, Run The Jewels (RTJ) should require absolutely no introduction... but, just to be safe, here's a brief/obligatory introduction: RTJ consists of rapper/producer and Definitive "Def" Jux co-founder El-P and emcee and OutKast affiliate Killer Mike. Legend has it, El & Mike first met on the set of Mr. Muthaf**kin' eXquire's "The Last Huzzah" (Remix) music video shoot. Soon after, [adult swim] Senior Vice President/Creative Director Jason DeMarco—then, at Williams Street Records—connected Killer Mike with El-P, who would produce his phenomenal 2012 album, R.A.P. Music. Mike, additionally, appeared alongside El on his own 2012 Fat Possum Records album, Cancer 4 Cure, on stand-out track, "Tougher Colder Killer." R.A.P. Music & Cancer 4 Cure were released weeks apart, so fast friends Killer Mike & El-P decided to tour together behind their then-new albums. After the widespread success of said tour, El-P &a…