"busker Johnnie" is a musician originally from Tampa, Florida. Today, "buskerJohnnie" is a self produced, working musician & vocalist, who has worked in television & film, acted, danced, & hosted his own college radio vinyl show. Johnnie has an online store, selling his own line of music, arts, & Florida lifestyle inspired graphic designs, promoting his "busker Johnnies” brand on Cafe Press.com.
Johnnie works as a street performer in the Tampa Bay area, as a tenor saxophonist. Johnnie is also in two local community bands, and “subs” as a tenor sax & flutist in local jazz big bands. when called upon. Johnnie also gigs with other local musicians, including local recording artist, “Manic Organica” when needed.
Johnnie pioneered Tampa's modern busking scene, in the fall of 1990, when he began performing regularly in the evenings, on Franklin St. Mall in downtown Tampa, outside of; CDB's Uptown Italian Restaurant, the Tampa Theater, and the TBPAC - occasionally, on weekends, while he was in college at Hillsborough Community College, immediately after being laid off, from his "Security" job at a progressive dance club in Ybor City, which had been raided and was forced to close, when a Tampa Fire marshal declared the 100 year old building, in which the club operated, condemned!
When Johnnie began busking, in the fall of 1990, there were no regularly working, professional, street performers in Tampa, as the CIty of Tampa, did not condone or offer "work permits" for street performing during the day on Franklin St. Mall in downtown Tampa. And, as Ybor City at the time, was still in the beginning stages of urban renewal, lacking retail, lacking pedestrian foot traffic during the day and especially at night, and was then regarded as an unsafe and crime ridden area, also not conducive to a street performing presence, as there were only two night clubs and a bar that would dare open in Ybor City in the evenings at the time... one the gay club "Tracks" at one end of 7th Ave. and the other the progressive club "the Masquerades", at the other end of 7th Ave. ... where Johnnie had worked before it was raided and shut down..... that, and as Ybor CIty was still in a state of urban renewal, dotted mostly with small art galleries, run down businesses, and a few alternative mom and pop shops here and there ... it was not developed enough, nor a safe environment, for pedestrians, let alone a lone street performer, trying to earn a little spending money for school, so with no other options, Johnnie set up and began performing on Franklin St. Mall, in downtown Tampa, in 1991, ... to the sound of crickets!
In the summer of 1992, Johnnie took a vacation trip to Paris, to stay with a Parisienne friend he met in Tampa. Johnnie took his alto sax and flute along, just in case, he needed to earn a little spending money, as when Johnnie landed in Paris, all he had was his passport, a round trip return ticket, and $13 dollars and some change to eat on, in his pockets! Luckily, Johnnie's friend was providing a place for him to stay, during his vacation! Within a day of his arrival. and hot surprisingly, Johnnie ... had to do just that! So, Johnnie grabbed his instruments, and set out to earn some spending money!
Immediately, Johnnie encountered other buskers who gave him enough information to figure out how to go out and busk, without getting himself in trouble. While in Europe, Johnnie honed his skills as a street performer and polished up his act. even incorporating some new ideas he picked up, from observing other busking acts. In all, and by the time, Johnnie returned home to Tampa, Johnnie was a seasoned, professional, international, street performer.