One Man Band -
The label of "One Man Band" tends to make a person think of a homeless guy with a drum on his back, bells and cymbals tied to his legs, clanking around with a rusty banjo and a kazoo. Or perhaps you can picture that tired looking guitarist in the dim casino bar, strumming along to lackluster midi backup tracks playing out of a dusty old keyboard. That outdated "One Man Band" label fails miserably to even begin to define the high tech and energetic live experience of a Jonny Smokes show. Turned loose upon a stage filled with beautiful instruments and modern equipment, speciality lighting effects and great full range sound, Jonny Smokes enthusiastically delivers a high tech one man arena rock exhibition!
This unique multi instrumental solo act is centered around live loop recordings using a Digitech JamMan. At the heart of the creative process, the loop sampler pedal is surrounded by a vast array of additional foot activated guitar effects, vocal harmonizers, drum triggers and even DMX lighting controllers, essentially allowing Jonny to run a recording studio with his feet, and even activate his own light show in real time. Beyond this impressive technical footwork, he skillfully jumps between playing both electronic and acoustic hand drums, keyboards, 5 string bass, and up to 10 different electric and acoustic guitars, all while singing both lead and backing vocals. Trained in both studio and live sound engineering, Smokes combines great tones with decades of professional performance experience to single-handedly create complex and diverse full band compositions right before your eyes and ears.
Life On Stage -
As a highly visible and active member of the Seattle/Tacoma live music scene since 2002, Jonny has remained employed full time as a working musician, consistently performing over 150 solo shows every year in the western United States and Europe. He has performed alongside such artists as guitar great Gary Hoey, Robert Wynia of Floater, Michael Wilton of Queensryche, and Vicci Martinez of The Voice. In addition to his solo appearances, Jonny also currently performs lead guitar and secondary vocal duties in the Seattle based progressive rock band The People Now. The group has worked with renowned producer Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Korn, Taproot) on their latest CD, titled "One By One." In addition to being featured several times on the Seattle FM rock radio station KISW as band of the week, The People Now headlined the 3rd Annual Layne Staley Tribute in Milan Italy, toured Italy and Switzerland, and has opened in support of bands such as Fates Warning, HIM, Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold.
Over the past decade, Jonny Smokes has also worked as a touring guitarist for the solo project of Warrel Dane, vocalist of Nevermore and Sanctuary, during the 2010 tour for the album "Praises to the War Machine," (Century Media.) Many additional fans have been gathered as Jonny has performed with several other successful regional acts as well, including Jar Of Flies, (a tribute to Alice In Chains,) Outshined, (a tribute to Soundgarden and Temple Of The Dog,) Astro-Creep, (a tribute to White Zombie and Rob Zombie,) and The Empty Spaces, (an all acoustic tribute to Pink Floyd's album "The Wall.") Early on in his career, Jonny was also seen working with several cover bands in casinos and rock clubs, as well as performing and recording with his former original bands Intelligent Design, Day By Day, Madsanity, and God Among Men.
Solo Albums and Tours -
In June of 2011, Jonny Smokes released two solo CD's of original compositions, an acoustic and light rock collection titled "Swim," and a darker themed hard rock and metal album titled "Drown." The songs were mostly loop sampling compositions, with a few tracks created in the traditional "full band" sense. Both albums were completely produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Jonny in his home studio, with even the graphic art and design being self created. These albums have continued to sell very well, and have generated several fan favorites, including the singles "26 Days (Jillian's Song,)" "Pity Party," and "Memory Lane." His biggest hit, "Boomerang," was performed on national American television last December in a brief appearance on the Bravo Network's reality comedy, "LOLwork," and was also played live on several European radio and television shows.
Following the success of the 2011 tour of the US West Coast, and two European tours in 2012, Jonny Smokes returned home to Seattle to write and record, and in March of 2013 released his third solo album, "Embers & Ashes." Once again self produced in every aspect from audio to artwork, this time Jonny chose to compose all but one song using loops, and combined both acoustic and metal styles with progressive rock, electronica, grunge and blues. The diverse collection of sonic textures and personal lyrics paid off, with great press reviews, and even better sales than the previous releases combined. Fan feedback has been tremendous, with the singles "All Green Lights" and "Digital" being upbeat favorites, and the heart wrenching "Gone Too Soon" bringing many people literally to tears. Supporting the sonic adventure once again in 2013 with spring and fall European tours, and a late summer US tour of the Northwest, Jonny Smokes continues to introduce thousands of new fans to his multi tasking loop sampling wizardry on stages far and wide.