With a music career that spans over three decades including 15 bands, 18 releases, two top 20 albums, three record deals and over 1000 live shows, his vast experience has positioned him as a sought after mentor and coach.
While guitar and piano were his first instruments, John started his early live career as a drummer. Playing in a number of bands in the late 1980’s, he was employed as assistant recording engineer and session drummer at Greenwood Studios In Bendigo.
He soon after relocated to Melbourne and took up guitar again initially busking in the city CBD.
He formed five piece alternative rock band Hobby Horse in 1989. After its promising start but short lived and untimely demise in 1990, he took an extended break in the USA writing and playing small venues until late 1991.
With Hobby Horse keyboardist Denny Brereton, they formed Indie Pop band Porcelain Jane. Coined as the next big thing and selected by Australia’s Youth Radio Network Triple J to perform live for their unearthed show, the band toured relentlessly and were selected to appear on Ausmusic’s most acclaimed promising new artists album.
In 1994 he joined Melbourne indie pop band Holocene who were singed to the legendary Concubine Label on Shock Records. With their debut album receiving massive amounts of national radio airplay the band toured most of 1994.
The follow album recording sessions began at Whilred Records in Richmond in 1995 but the band had began to rupture and ended in 1996.
Looking for a simpler yet more edgier sound, he and Moler drummer Stephen Boyle started Alcotomic in 1996. After a lineup change that included new drummer Andy Strachan, the band launched in August 7 1997 the debut self-titled EP featuring Nowhere, Living in Luxury and Daisy.
January 1998, The trio produced a follow-up at Velvet Sound Studios, Sydney with producer David Price who had previously worked with Midnight Oil and Split Enz. The Anything But You single including, Invisible and Black & White, which was released July 4.
After an appearance on ABC’s Recovery on July 18 and a sold out CD launch at the Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy, the trio signed with US label Not Lame Records and was invited to play the Pop Overthrow tour in the US.
The band performed at the Pacific Circle Music Conference in Sydney as most promising artist for 1998 and performed for industry professionals from around the world at The Globe in Newtown.
In mid 1999, the band notched up their 100th live show and were filmed by RMITV playing live at the Punters Club Hotel in Fitzroy. Working producer Lindsay Gravina they returned to Birdland to cut their penultimate CD.
July 3 2000, Where You Go, the band’s last release through Magneto/MGM went on to receive glowing reviews and rotation on Triple J. The bands last appearance was on August 1 2001 in Melbourne at the 9th Ward Bar, Flinders Lane.
John established rock band Prettymess in 2003 with Paul Inglis, both formerly of Alcotomic. The band went on to sign a two album record deal with Australian Indie giant, Shock Records after the song Tripping landed on their desk.
What would later become the debut album opener, Leaving Look was selected to be part of the Lost Weekend compilation in mid 2003. Released by Laughing Outlaw Records In Australia and Zip Records in the US, the compilation featured the best up and coming Australian independent bands of the year.
Released March 5 2004, Surface Glow was the band’s debut EP and featured the critically acclaimed single, Tripping. The EP entered the AIR top 20 and stayed for a number of weeks while the band toured nationally with Epicure and Killing Heidi.
After being awarded a VicArts grant, the band reconvened, to work with acclaimed producer Shane O’Mara, on what would become the debut album Greyscale Broadcast. After another two tours through Tasmania and Victoria, the 11 track album was released February 21 2005 with Rescue Me as the breakthrough lead single.
The remainder of 2005 was spent on the road, with a number of sold out shows with US band Switchfoot at the Forum Theatre and HiFi Bar, both in Melbourne. After another headline tour of Tasmania in April, the band closed out the year with their final live appearance, before a full house of over 900 people at the HiFi bar on December 23, 2005.
Forces Join & Fatherhood
Late 2006 John and Michael Snowball formerly of Groundswell, formed the rock outfit called Magneto. They signed with Melbourne Indie label Popboomerang Records and release the highly acclaimed album called Resistance Is Futile. Let It Go was chosen as the feature song on the Disney movie Skyrunners and the band played a handful of shows around Melbourne.
Taking a long overdue break from music, John and his partner gave birth to twins in mid 2006 and he focused on home duties. In 2008 he signed with Perfect Pitch publishing and became house writer for Control Music Inc, and Beyond Entertainment scoring themes and backing music for numerous television series and games including Molly Meldrums quiz. He also came runner up in the international songwriting competition with The One.
In 2010 John established Mountain Sound Studio. Designed to envelope the majestic views and serenity of the ranges, the studio quickly became a popular destination for bands looking to escape the urban chaos. He went on to produce releases for bands such as Red Ink, The Solicitors, Four Lions, Busy Kingdom and the infamous Mark “Chopper” Read.
Indie Super Group
Returning to live music in 2013 John formed Five Mile Sniper that featured Doug Lee Robertson, Matt Balfe, Geoff Barnes and Paul Inglis. In 2015 prominent music journalist Jeff Jenkins coined the band “Australia’s indie pop super-group” due to the bands collective history.
Their debut album The Sound of Trees produced by John was released February 6, 2015. Featuring the single Amazing with video shot in London, which was added to Triple M national playlist and Coles Radio network. To coincide with the release, John, Paul and Doug played a live acoustic set January 8 on ABC radio 774 before heading out on a national tour.
May 7 2015, John and Paul performed single Amazing live to air on the Marngrook Footy Show before a estimated viewing audience of 58,000 people and returned to the studio to begin recording their follow up EP. Live favourite Silver Sun was released August 2015 as a bridging single.
October 2016 saw the release of their follow up five track EP called Slow Moving Traffic. My Broken Heart and Slow Moving Traffic were the singles lifted from the EP that received glowing reviews and additional airplay. With a modified lineup including Pete McDonald on drums the band performed a run of shows through Victoria.
The Story Continues
Currently, John is producing a podcast series and blog on his life in the music business which will be published as a book in 2020. He is also working on a new band with an album expected to released late 2019 including retrosective Alcotomic and Porcelain Jane releases.