John Crain – Vocals, Guitar (acoustic, electric, slide, weissenborn)
Influences – Peter Green, Gatemouth Brown, Lightnin Hopkins, Taj Mahal, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Mark Knofler, Neil Young, Delbert McClinton, Bob Marley, Chinna Smith, Dennis Bovell, Jimmy Cliff, Lowell George
Born Jackson Mississippi, Raised in Buffalo, Rochester NY. First Band El-Paso, Texas 1972
First gigs were with his mentor, Big Sonny Farlow (Sir Douglas Quintet, Lowriders w/Jimmy Carl Black) Sonny was the Big Dog in El Paso, Texas where John lived for a time. In addition to Texas Blues, he also became fascinated with Jamaican Blues. He moved to Eugene mid 70’s, and started Oregons’s first Reggae Radio Program Air Jamaica (KLCC). Played in several bands before forming Native Pulse in 1980 (first Oregon Reggae band with Belizian master drummer Bibs Goff and Alan Alexander (Dub Squad). The Pulse, and variations thereof, held the closing spot at the Oregon Country Faire three years running.
He moved to Portland 1989 and went back to the blues. John entered the Portland Blues scene playing lead guitar with local Blues vocalist J.C. Rico in a band which included some of Portland’s finest blues players, Claire Luce on Keys, Dave Kohl on bass, Paul Jones on drums, he also gigged with the late great Paulette Davis, before hooking up with the Kita Montgomery Band for a 4 year Stint. Next he formed Mumbo Gumbo with the fabulous soul singer Ural Thomas where the focus was 2nd line, Zydeco and New Orleans Blues. John also hired on to do a cross country tour with Etoufee who had lost their lead guitarist, John Foal to Dr. John. Other bands of note, Jaywalkers, Arousing Spirit, Public Eye, Pound for Pound.
Gigs of Note:
Oregon Country Faire (Native Pulse, Arousing Spirit, Jaywalkers)
Isla Mujeres Music Festival (Splash)
Portland Rose festival (Kita Montgomery Band)
Gulfshores Alabama, Shrimp festival (Etoufee)
Grant Johnson – Vocals, Keyboards
Grant Johnson is a jazz and blues pianist with vast experience as a performer, session player, composer, arranger, and teacher. He recently finished recording Billy Wolff’s Threat Matrix with jazz legends Russell Ferrante, Will Kennedy, Bob Mintzer, and Jimmy Haslip of Yellowjackets fame. Included in that recording is one of his tunes from his original jazz/rock opera These Are The Times.
Grant has performed and recorded with Grammy Award-winning blues and rock greats like Charlie Musselwhite, Jackson Browne, Dobie Gray, and Gene Vincent. He was a founding member of The Psychedelic Rangers with John Densmore and Robby Krieger of The Doors, and Billy Wolff. He played for other seminal ‘60s bands, including The Sound Machine, The Truth, and Fever Tree, and in the ‘70’s with Blue Heaven. He toured with oldies greats, such as The Drifters, The Coasters, and The Platters. He also was one of the founding members of Segue, a revered Bay Area jazz trio.
Mentored by Miles Davis’ drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist George Morrow of the famous quintet featuring Max Roach and Clifford Brown, Grant owes some of his musical expertise to his mother, world-class violist Maxine Johnson of the Amati String Quartet, and of the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein, among other renowned groups (and who you can hear playing on every Alfred Hitchcock movie!). Grant has recorded on Warner Bros. Records, Epic Records and Columbia Records.
Mako Jones – Bass Guitar and Vocals
Mako studied the cello at a young age, eventually learning upright bass and then electric bass. While in high school Mako played cello and upright bass with the San Jose City Orchestra. He has been in the music business since the mid-60’s playing in various S.F. Bay-area original bands including Stoneground a nationally successful act in 1971. He went on to form bands with musicians such as drummer Michael Shrieve from Santana, guitarist Lyle Workman from Sting’s’s band and guitarist Pat Thrall from The Pat Travers Band. Mako formed the Portland, Oregon label, Zoppa Records in 2001 .
Mike Neeley – Drums and Vocals
Mike is the newest addition to the Greydogz. Mike started playing professionally at the age of 16 and is an alumni of the Mt. Hood Community College Stage band and vocal jazz group back in the early 80’s. He worked in several jazz, rock and roll, and variety bands throughout 80’s and 90’s. He played with John Crain in the Kita Montgomery band for several years and again with Mumbo Gumbo, and the New Iberians. He is the versatile solid drummer we have been looking for and is comfortable in all the styles we do. His influences vary from Billy Cobham to Jon Bonham and even though he is the youngest greydog he has lots of experience.
John Shea – Guitar and Vocals
Began playing in bands at the age of 12. In his teen years opened for Santana, Youngbloods, Janis J Big Brother and the Holding Co, Sons of Chaplain etc. Worked in East Bay in clubs from age 20 to 26…Worked with world class blues harmonica player Andy Just in AJ and the Defenders opening up for Nick Lowe, Noise to go, Paul Carrick, the Yanks with Jack Cassady from Jefferson Airplane, Eric Martin from Mr Big etc….. worked 3 years with Jan Ashton from the Vejtables and the Mojo Men…. played guitar and mandolin in Shanachie world renown Americana folk band traveling all over the world…John loves all kinds of music gigging and writing songs. He is a welcome addition to the Greydogz