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Photo Credit: The Amazing, Kind, and Humble Bulldog Media
“It was the call I had been waiting for all my life. And when it actually came… I was stunned. I heard myself saying, ‘Hell yeah I want to tour as a guitarist with Stick Figure!’”
I met John Gray (aka Johnny Cosmic) backstage at the Greek Theatre in LA when Stick Figure was opening for Rebelution a couple summers ago. I’d heard a lot about his music production skills, and since I was looking to up my game and really start getting my own music career on track, I asked if I could chat with him about it.
John greeted me with a warm smile and pat on the back like he’d known me for years, and we stepped outside into the bright LA sunshine under the shade of some nearby trees to talk music. We chatted about everything – him growing up near Chicago, how big music was in his life, and how much he loved recording and playing.
When you talk with someone who truly loves their craft you can feel it in every word they say. This is what it’s like talking about music with John. Inevitably we got to chatting about his friend Mike DeGuzman, the keyboardist and guitar player for Passafire, who had previously been in a similar situation.
“It was like one day he got this call from Passafire and his entire life changed. I thought about how cool that would be – getting a call from this band you absolutely love, and being asked to join them on tour.
“It’s a dream come true” said John.
“Lucky” for John, he’s insanely talented, humble, and just a genuinely good and fun person to be around, so I’m not surprised he didn’t have to wait long for the same thing to happen to him. When he got the call from Scott Woodruff to join Stick Figure, his dreams played themselves out in real life right in front of him.
Now living and working in Oakland at Great Stone Studios, as well as playing with Stick Figure, he spends his days touring and spreading beautiful music all around the world. Some of his latest releases are a collaboration song with Maggie Kubley called “Ur Love” on the popular Stone Soup Vol. 2 Mix Tape, KBong’s song “Open My Eyes” that he co-produced with Stick Figure, and The Movement’s “Cool Me Down”.
I’m listening to “Cool Me Down” right now as I write this, and I’m continually blown away by the intricate production and attention to detail that goes into his work. Johnny is easily one of my favorite producers to listen to – his music is like sweet meditation for your ears.
If you haven’t heard anything he’s worked on yet, do yourself a favor and listen here…
In his “down time” between sets on tour, he was helping his good friend and bandmate KBong record and produce an entire new album, and has also been producing a new album for The Movement. When you’re as talented and hard working as Johnny Cosmic, you stay busy doing some pretty amazing stuff.
As stoked as I am to hear all the stuff he’s producing for other bands, one of the things I’m even more psyched about is his own new stuff that’s coming out. While we were messaging back and forth about the release of this blog post, he let me know he’s going to be releasing some new originals in the next few months or so, and that’s something I’m really psyched about. If you haven’t heard his originals, I really suggest you check out his Spotify or or Bandcamp accounts (links at the end of this post). I’d describe his endlessly eclectic style as a mix of hip-hop, reggae, and psychedelic funk.
And get this… even with all the crazy-awesome shit John has going on, he somehow found time in between it all to host me up at Great Stone Studios, and always has a smile and kind words for the whole Stick fam.
There’s not much in this world that makes me happier than seeing someone so talented, humble, and kind follow their dreams and see real success on their journey. John, my sincere thanks and appreciation for being a great host and teacher! Always a pleasure to chat with you and listen to your music. Stay well my friend!
Make sure to connect with John on social and listen to other stuff he’s worked on below!
Song Collaboration w/ Maggie Kubley on Stone Soup Vol. 2: https://soundcloud.com/davidforal/stone-soup-vol-2
Tons of Awesome Johnny Cosmic Originals and Remixes: https://johnnycosmic.bandcamp.com/