When John was a teenager in the 1980's, he and a group of friends thought
that there had to be more to their existence than weekly poker nights.
They decided to become musicians and picked which instruments they
would play. John bought his first bass guitar and began to practice and
play with various high school bands. Around this time, John also became
fascinated with a strange instrument that he saw Jimmy Page play in
Led Zeppelin's concert movie, "The Song Remains the Same."
It was a Theremin...
After completing an arts administration program, John's musical activities became
more focused. He recorded albums with The Al Brant Band, The Eclectics
and Preston Williams and started performing at clubs and festivals.
In the 1992, John formed his own production company, Brass Monkey
Productions. He organized a concert for what would have been Jimi Hendrix'
50th birthday and won an Alberta Recording Industry Association Award
for the resulting live concert album. Through the 90s, John organized singer
songwriter competitions and started two long running traditions:
The Sasquatch Music Festival & The Christmas Carol Project.
The Sasquatch Festival is now known as the Sasquatch Gathering and has
been successfully growing since 1996. This was the same year that The
Christmas Carol Project had its first performance. It has since seen over
90 performances, tours throughout Western Canada, the release of the CD
"The Songs of the Christmas Carol Project" and Bellstruck Production's
television special & DVD release called "The Carol Project."
In his own musical career, John continued performing and recording as the
bass player and a collaborative writer with such bands as The Stone Merchants,
The Ancestors & SMAC. He also co-produced several award-winning short
videos with his long time musical collaborator, Tom Roschkov. And then
in the summer of 2004, everything changed...
John secured an engagement for a house band on Edmonton's trendy
Whyte Avenue. When none of his guitar or drum playing associates were
available to take the gig, John approached his didgeridoo playing friend,
Vince Sanregret, and proposed a unique solution. They would use a loop
station with drum machines to accompany themselves as they played didgeridoo
and Theremin. They called themselves LEO .fx and quickly gained a lot of
attention. Before the year was finished, LEO .fx had opened for the
Afro Cuban Allstars in Edmonton's Winspear Centre, performed for
the University of Alberta's Department of Ethnomusicology, recorded an
album and performed at Alberta Showcase.
LEO .fx's performance at Alberta Showcase lead to a week long residency
in Golden, BC and an engagement at Medicine Hat's Spectrum Festival.
They also performed at the North Country Fair and South Country Fair
in the summer of 2005. And one of their songs placed in the top five of the
Moog Music's International Theremin Composition Competition.
But, by the end of the year, Vince had moved to the Sunshine Coast and
John became very busy as a producer.
In 2006, John served as executive producer, producer and musical director
for the production of "The Carol Project" which won an Alberta Film
& Television Award for Best Musical or Variety Show. He also worked
as recording engineer and co-producer on albums by Al Brant, Herb Stanley
& Tippy Agogo.
By 2007, John had begun performing solo and as a side musician.
He collaborated with several dance troupes and various pick up groups
including JAMBA, Etherwind and Origami Galiktika. Vince Sanregret
returned for several LEO .fx engagements in the summer.
In 2008, John recorded several sessions with a project called
The Zkary Monsters and visited Vince on the West Coast for more
LEO .fx reunion gigs. John had the great opportunity to perform with
The Grande Mothers (former members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of
Invention) at the 2008 North Country Fair.
In 2009, John, Tom Roschkov & Kelly Pikula recruited Thom Golub to join
them on upright bass and form Johnny Quazar& the Swingbots, and play
cosmic rockabilly, Highlights of 2010 Swingbot performances have been
Winterlight Festival, Sasquatch Gathering and Beaumont Blues Festival.
On December 25th, 2010, John wrote the first draft of what would become the
template for a new musical, "Awakening the Green Man." Over the next
eighteen months, he recruited a writing team and performing troupe. The
new musical made its world premier at the North Country Fair on June 24th, 2012.
Other recording projects are in the works.