Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Johnny Stachela’s passion for the guitar ignited early in his life.
At age 5, Stachela says, “I would learn Black Sabbath riffs on a one-string toy guitar.”
He remembers the moment his commitment to music cemented.
“I was standing in the magazine aisle at Tower records, looking at a guitar ad. I knew then I had to play guitar. That was going to be my thing.”
He was right.
Stachela, an accomplished slide guitar player, has recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin), and he has warmed up stages for guitar legends like Dickey Betts, Robert Randolph, Robbie Krieger, Mike Campbell, and Robben Ford. But now, with the release of his sophomore EP – SIDE ONE, Stachela is creating a legacy all his own.
Featuring original songs co-written by Johnny Stachela and Stoll Vaughan, and a progressive-funk instrumental that showcases the bands musical strength, SIDE ONE represents the first half of a forthcoming full album. The intent is to get the music out there now, with a full length vinyl LP to follow soon.
Working with producer Jorgen Carlsson (Gov’t Mule), and analog engineer Steve Holroyd at Rogers Boat Studio, “the album’s creation is very organic and representative of what we do live,” Stachela explained. “With the exception of a few slide guitar parts and some of the vocals, the band delivered a live performance straight to a Studer tape machine.”
Making music, for Stachela, is a calling that began with his connection to the blues.
“The blues to me was a feeling. And that’s what I loved about it. Some people think the blues are sad, but for me that music is absolute calmness and contentment. I learned later on in life there’s a difference between blues and depression. They’re not the same thing. The blues is honest. It’s life. It’s so real. There’s so much feeling. And to me that was a lot like contentment, to listen to that kind of music.”
But, Stachela says, it’s more than just a musical form.
Stachela credits his musical influences for shaping the album’s sound.
“A lot of my favorite power trios came out of the late 60s and early 70s and they were all influenced by early blues music like I was. It is an interesting similarity, but I’m also influenced by their interpretation of that early blues music.” The music we are making at this moment is really inspired by power trios such as ZZ Top and Gov’t Mule when those bands were just starting out.
And, like his influences, Stachela and his band — Vincent Fossett Jr. on drums and Sebastian Ciceri on Bass — give their audiences a live show that is more “experience” than “concert.”
“There’s an adventurous quality to our live shows. The biggest advantage to a trio format is that you can take a left turn at any moment and that’s when things get interesting. Serving the song is always the most important thing, but when you have the right chemistry, it’s the improvisational element that makes it exciting.”
And that live energy is perfectly captured on the SIDE ONE -EP.