eclectic arts from Western Canada
John Armstrong

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
Preston Williams and started performing at clubs and festivals.

In the 1991, 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. The project retired in 2015
after 100 performances, tours throughout Western and Northern Canada
, the
release of the CD "The Songs of
the Christmas Carol Project" and Bellstruck
award-winning 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
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.

In 2013 and 2014, John and Tom wrote, recorded, and performed as
Roschkov & Bordeaux. They have released two mastered tracks and have several
more "in the can." Starting in 2015, John began recording singles in collaboration
with Jen Paches, Dale Ladouceur, and, most recently, Marni Benavides. Several of these
tracks were released under the moniker Bordeaux.

By 2017, John put together a new band under the name Bordeaux which featured
Tom Roschkov on guitar and vocals, Jen Paches on keyboard, Theremin, and vocals, and
Thom Golub on bass guitar.Bordeaux performed at Frostbite Festival in Whitehorse, YT
and the 40th annual North Country Fair in 2018.

2018 also saw The Ancestors welcome a new friend and special guest into the fold.
Mucha Bee has performed on a couple of occasions as guest bass player, allowing
John to spend more time on Theremin. John has also been performing solo as
Johnny Bordeaux and started 2019 with a guest spot at Singularity University's
After Dark reception at Edmonton's Rossdale Generating Plant.

Although 2020 was the 100th anniversary of the Theremin, there were not many gigs.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of most festivals, club gigs, and
touring opportunities. Instead, John presented 70 Porch Concert Block Parties, bringing
live music to the people and raising over $20,000 for local musicians who would have
otherwise been out of work.

What lies in store for 2021 remains to be seen...