Biography of Missy Johnson
Missy's dynamic vocal style assures her a unique position within the rock spectrum. Her music refuses to be categorized. With influences widely ranging from Led Zeppelin to Rage Against the Machine, and Tool to Mariah Carey, many have tried to place the sound. She has succeeded in her mission to both baffle and intrigue the listener. It carves the niche for a strong, female vocalist such as her. Missy's music brings mainstream rock back to its roots.
In the tradition of rock greats, Aerosmith, Missy comes to us from New Hampshire by way of Boston. Since graduating from the Berklee College of Music, she has been hard at work, writing material for others, as well as herself. When she isn't writing or teaching, she serves as a sideman for Boston-based, Sun5, even helping them win a coveted slot at the Avalon as a part of the Emergenza Battle of the Bands USA finals. After refining her talent in several of her own groups, such as Specimen 37 and The Late November Project, she has taken her songwriting skills and poured them into her first solo project.
Her EP, "Noise To Keep", began to take shape in the fall of 2003. The songs developed themselves over many performances and showcases, including the NY International Music Festival, and appearances at Boston's Middle East. Missy hand picked a group of superior local studio musicians to record the instrumental tracks.
Los Angeles provided the inspiration for the final production. After many sessions with up-and-coming songwriter, Oren Hadar, she decided to finish recording with producer, mentor, and friend, Terry Becker (Kansas, Bonnie Raitt). Vocals were laid down at LA's Ultratone Studios. The album was engineered by Becker and studio owner, Johnny Lee Schell.
With the EP completed, the next challenge was to find energetic and talented musicians who could compliment Missy's arresting live persona. The fact that her backline varies from gig to gig keeps the sound fresh and exciting. Its that energy and freshness that has won her positions in many independent rock festivals including New Yorks MEANYFest and San Diegos Indie Music Fest.
Missy's stage show is unmatched in intensity. Made for live performance, her music moves the audience from beginning to end with the raw strength of the ballads, the funky groove of the bass lines, and the soulful guitar solos. "A fine blend of Joplin and Aerosmith, with a touch of Zep," reads the Bedford Journal. One listen to Missy's powerful style proves her goal of world domination is not unattainable. Her sound is a reality.
Missy Johnson- lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Antonia Navarro-bass/background vocals
The Noise to Keep EP, featuring "Let Me Fall"
Album Review: Missy Johnson- Noise to Keep 7
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Every generation needs a rock goddess and Boston’s Missy Johnson could very well be the woman to wea...Every generation needs a rock goddess and Boston’s Missy Johnson could very well be the woman to wear that mantle for this generation. She’s got the looks to go with the pipes and her music is loaded with sultry and steamy sex. Her debut EP, Noise to Keep makes it clear from the first song that she won’t be found in a kitchen cooking and preggo anytime soon. Opening the album is “Stole Your Thunder,” her response to some dumbassed guy who thinks she’s obscene for dancing on bars like the ladies of Coyote Ugly. The driving bass is the heart of the tune while the guitars are searing. Continuing to be the vixen in “Badly Behaved,” Johnson literally drops her pants to reveal just how in control she is. With a smokey and sultry backbeat of the deepest blues, the siren warns, “Maybe I’ll love you slowly and then make you wait.” Not since Bon Scott exploded on the scene has there been a singer with a voice that just oozes sex. But that is not all Missy has to offer. She’s a skilled vocalist, Berklee grad, and songwriter who will slam your face with a blistering sound and then woo you with sentimentality.
Hollis Rocker Plays Nashua Night Spot Friday
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NASHUA: A stripped down Missy Johnson will scorch the stage at Scorz Friday night. She is playing a...NASHUA: A stripped down Missy Johnson will scorch the stage at Scorz Friday night.
She is playing an acoustic solo set opening the Margarita Beach Party night at the Nashua rock club. But don't think for a minute that the normally sizzling songstress will be lulling people to sleep on a bed of clouds.
"The show still rocks," Johnson said. "I really know no other way."
While the Hollis native, turned Bostonian rocker, will use her whiskey soaked voice to kick off a night of high revelry, there is an element of sadness that goes along with her performance.
Last month, Johnson's friend and mentor, Grammy award winning engineer, Terry Becker, passed away after a long illness and the show is dedicated to her.
Johnson said Becker, a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston when they met four years ago, would want her to do what she does best, bring a blistering hard rock, blues soaked show to audiences, rather than get all sentimental. But still Johnson said she plans on doing at least one song from Becker's past, most likely Kansas' "Dust in the Wind."
"She had such an impact on me both personally and professionally," Johnson said. "She said she fell in love with "Tell Me When You're Ready," (her first song) because it reminded her of early Bonnie Raitt.
Becker worked for several years with Bonnie Raitt in the 1970s and on Kansas' Point of No Return album, along with a host of other artists through the years.
And when it came time for Missy to lay the tracks for her album, "Noise to Keep," Becker was integral in the recordings.
Becker, who lived in Los Angeles, mixed the vocals on most of the songs on the album and introduced Johnson to several other well-known studio people when they worked together.
"It was very cool that she believed in me enough to put me in that circle," Johnson said. "She treated me like I was already there."
Scorz is located on Route 101A (522 Amherst St.) in Nashua in the same plaza as Gold¹s Gym and Strings Plus. Doors open at 8 p.m. and there is a $5 cover. For more information the club's website is www.scorznashua.com. Missy will be joined on stage by Endway, Say When and Lannen Fall.
From CBGB's to the Hogs Trough
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MANCHESTER‹Last week she headlined the legendary CBGB¹s in New York City and on Friday night Missy ...MANCHESTER‹Last week she headlined the legendary CBGB¹s in New York City and
on Friday night Missy Johnson will be rockin¹ the Hogs Trough Saloon in
³It was f***** great!,² the Hollis native said about her set on the stage
where the likes of The Ramones, Blondie and The Talking Heads got their
start in the 1970s. ³It¹s like a right of passage.²
The spirit of the monsters of rock music still clings to every corner of the
venue. ³I definitely thought about it and felt it when I was standing next
to the stage watching one of the earlier bands,² Johnson said. ³The place is
such a hole, (band) stickers were all over everything,² Johnson said. ³It
was unbelievable rock and roll.²
Johnson and her mates played at midnight and ripped such a searing set that
she got her call for her first encore. ³It was like the kind of situation
where they were telling me we¹re not going to leave until you play another
one,² Johnson said. So she and her band played one of her favorite songs,
³What is and What Should Never Be,² a Led Zeppellin classic.
On Friday, the vivacious Johnson will unpack her gear and unleash her bluesy
rock upon the masses. ³I love New Hampshire and am excited to be back
playing Manch-Vegas,² Johnson said.
She had played a Wednesday night at the Trough not too long ago and was so
well received she was asked back to open for The Charms cd release party as
part of a Girls Night Out event.
³I¹m opening for a band who has one of the top 10 selling albums for local
artists at Newbury Comics, I¹m honored,² Johnson said. ³It should be a crazy
Johnson had also been working on getting finishing up her first album
recently and on Sunday she told The Cabinet the first presses have come in.
³I¹ll be selling them for $5 at the show,² Johnson said.
The aptly titled, ³The Noise to Keep² is a seven song ep, that is bare bones
rock and roll. ³I made it a point to make a stripped down album on purpose,²
The album can also be purchased through her website at www.missyrocks.com or
Johnson¹s sound is a fine blend of Joplin, Aerosmith, with a touch of Zep.
And unlike many female artists of today there are no sappy love songs or
hiphop beats masquerading as rock on the album or in her future. ³I¹m a rock
and roll chick and that is the way I will always be,² Johnson said.
She will be hosting her own release party in the near future, most likely at
Bills¹ Bar in Boston, where she makes her home.
Missy and her band will take the stage around 9 p.m. The Hogs Trough is
located on Lincoln Street in Manchester.
Yes, Missy, We WOULD Like to Know!
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Allow the tumbleweed to take you back a few moons. Six summers of moons to be precise. Allow the sla...Allow the tumbleweed to take you back a few moons. Six summers of moons to be precise. Allow the slapping wind to awaken you beyond the sounds of a car radio blasting. Not too far behind, in the trails of this memory the author finds himself lip-synching along to the noise coming from his left. With a hand gesture and a verbal “Wait!” he motions the driver to keep whatever song she has chosen for the radio to mumble. Like Mercury on a hot summer day she turns the volume dial and it rises.
With a song chosen we look at one another as if a singer and a guitarist waiting for the right beat to come into the song together; silently our voices and body languages tip-toe. (Wait for it…wait for it…ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-Ta BOOM!) Finding the proper beat we both scream out loud, harmonizing ourselves into the chorus. Missy’s hair badly behaved with every head bob while the author’s air guitar finds itself poorly played; so he decides to stop torturing the air and begins to drum on the dashboard instead.
Several lines into the repetitive chorus the author asphyxiates his voice and turns to the noise coming from his left. He hears the echoes of the song but cannot decipher which of the two, Missy or the radio, owns the original sound. She throws me a glance and a smile as if saying, “Wouldn’t you like to know.” She had stolen the radio’s thunder right from underneath it and simply kept on singing while her hair remained misbehaved.
After the last chorus fell and the music ended I turned to Missy and said, “You should be a singer or something. You’re really good.”
While keeping her eyes on the road, yet still shooting the same smile, she responded with, “Actually, I am.”
The tumbleweed had brought with it a memory I have kept for over six years since that first summer I got to know Missy. It was then I first heard her sing and since then, whether it is music coming from the stage, my CD player or a car ride, I have kept on listening to such noise.
After seeing Missy grow as an artist through these past six years by listening to her practice at her house, watching her on stage, her testing new ideas out on me, listening to the different demos of her music I own, I have become very curious as to what lies behind that smile, that misbehaving body of hair and those eyes which scream out loud with a confidence and conviction, “Wouldn’t you like to know.” Well, yes Missy, I would. And I am sure our readers would also.
Below I try my best to unravel the unruly musical and lyrical secrets of Missy Johnson. But don’t worry; you wouldn’t need to know how to play the air guitar or the dashboard drum for her approval to let your eyes fall upon such confidential information (unless you have the strange urge to do so).
WRIT: Can you describe your song writing and recording process?
Missy: I think my songwriting process can be considered creatively diverse. What I mean by this is that when I write, I have many different avenues that I use to write a song. When I'm by myself, I'll often start with chords and a melody but I also am very groove oriented so it’s fairly common for me to start a song from a bass groove. Examples of this would be "Stole Your Thunder" from the album and my older song, "Ever Wonder" from the LNP* days. I also enjoy writing titles first and them coming up with a song afterwards. When Oren, Andrea and I wrote "Wouldn't You Like to Know" it was from a brainstorm list I had compiled of song titles. "Stole Your Thunder" and "Tumbleweed" came from the same list. Sometimes I will also have a full set of lyrics ready to go and I'll set it to music afterwards. "Wait" spawned from a different music background entirely and I ripped it from the music (which was done by a different band) and a year and a half later set it to something completely my own. One thing you can count on with me is that I'll always be willing to try new ways to write a song.
Recording is another beast entirely. I'm not sure what you'd like to know about recording but I'll say this much: the joy of recording is that you have the opportunity to utilize technology that you can't use live. I kept this record very simple and I didn't use too many bells and whistles from the studio because I am a new artist and it made sense to me that I should start out very basic - clear cut songwriting, grooves, and vocals - me in raw form. I look forward to getting into the studio with a seasoned rock producer for my next album.
WRIT: Can you talk about your musical evolution?
Missy: Something had been made clear to me before I made this record: People like my voice a lot and they enjoy my songs but my direction wasn't clear. People need to categorize you – it’s a comfort thing to know where you fit in. I really spent some time thinking about what I wanted to let people know about me. When I went to LA to write with Oren (Oren Hadar) we started writing songs that would kind of slap you in the face with some attitude and show my edge, musically, and lyrically. There is so much more to me than that though. I am a political person and prior to the release of this CD, my most acclaimed song, "Broken" was a direct response to the tragedy of September 11th. I am a caring person and for every wise-cracking "Stole Your Thunder" I write, there's going to be something urgent, concerned, or political like "Wait." I am all those things. I want to write to take on many different vantage points throughout my career as a writer...my goal is to keep people guessing because as I grow older in life, my mindset as a writer will change too.
WRIT: How do you describe your music?
Missy: Its rock n roll baby! People tell me the music on Noise to Keep sounds like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and Audioslave topped with vocals from the lovechild of Steven Tyler and Janis Joplin or Fiona Apple with "real balls" (which always makes me laugh).
WRIT: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Missy: I love Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Jump (JLC), Mariah Carey (girl can sing!), Rage Against the Machine circa 92-93. Janis Joplin of course though I've never been die-hard, she just flows naturally through me.
WRIT: Why should people listen to your CD or come to your shows?
Missy: Because there is no other chick doing what I'm doing right now. I'm not pop but I'm not hard rock, all screaming and yelling. I'm a real rock singer, straight up and it’s refreshing. At least that’s what all my new listeners tell me.
WRIT: What are your favorite tracks?
Missy: God, I have no idea...it always changes. I'm partial to the spirit of Mercury and the love for my Tumbleweed but I also know that Let Me Fall is my anthem.
WRIT: Could you tell the story behind some/all of your song lyrics on the CD?
Missy: I've actually done a bunch of this already I think. But I will clarify now, that Tumbleweed is a person and it’s about being in love with someone unbeknownst to time and space...its eternal and it has nothing to do with physically being with someone.
WRIT: How did you come up with the title of the CD?
Missy: Tom (my guitarist for the album) kept messing around on the guitar - making noises that just sounded so cool. I kept saying I wanted to keep all the random noise he was making...then one day I said, "That’s it: Noise to Keep. That’s what it’s all about!"
WRIT: Who else is in the band?
Missy: The band on the album, which was recorded a year ago, is Jordan Perlson on drums, Ryan Alfred on bass, and Tom Deis on guitar. I picked those three for my album because I love the way they play. Jordan is a killer drummer - no questions asked - very tasteful but so talented. Ryan Alfred is a very driving and melodic bass player which I love because I love great bass grooves as you know. Tom Deis can pull off the 70's sound but back it up with some very cool textures in a modern way. I like his Soundgarden influence and his innate understanding of good hooks and riffs. I knew those three would rock out my songs. I knew they would pave the way for whatever live band I chose. My current live band is comprised of Kevin Kapler on drums, Antonia Navarro on bass and Damon Vrettos on guitar. Naturally, they all exude similar qualities. Kevin is more of a straight up rock drummer, a heavier hitter. Damon is more bluesy with a dirtier tone (same here when I play live). Antonia is tasteful but melodic in her bass work and has a nice voice.
WRIT: Can you explain the emotion/feeling when you get up on stage and perform?
Missy: People tell me I'm crazy, that I've gotten pretty wild on stage. I've been falling on stage and scraping my knees a lot so they're covered with bruises. I just get into the music. Sometimes I drink a lot which aides in the falling part. I love to entertain my audience. I put my soul into every show - 10 people or 1000 people, it doesn't really matter to me.
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And soul is what this singer, songwriter rocking woman encompasses and exudes. Take a listen, keep the noise, and you be the judge. I doubt you will overlook it.
As I write this I am corresponding with friends to make it to Missy’s show tonight, Friday August 19th at The Hogs Trough Saloon, 342 Lincoln St. Manchester NH 18+ 9pm. However, when you read this the show will have passed your calendar and you will wonder why I posted the information on this article. (I will leave it here just to keep you guessing). However, if you want to check out Missy soon go to her OFFICIAL CD RELEASE PARTY at Bill’s Bar, 5.5 Landsdowne St., Boston, MA on Tuesday August 30th
COVER: 18+=$10/ 21+= $8/ anyone witha red sox ticket stub (game day at Fenway) gets a $5 discount
The Big Distraction
I expect to see you there. Tell Missy the WRITORACLE sent you.
Oh yes, and I almost forgot, if you would like to listen to some of Missy’s music online or just find out more about her go to:
*Late November Project; Missy’s old band.
By Julian Esteban Torres
ROOTS OF CREATION, MYSTER DL, PRIMARY OTHERS, MISSY JOHNSON
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...New Hampshire native and Berklee grad Missy Johnson kicks off the night with down home rock 'n' r......New Hampshire native and Berklee grad Missy Johnson kicks off the night with down home rock 'n' roll. The sexy and sultry Johnson covers Bad Company's 1975 smash "Feel Like Makin' Love" and with her moves and luscious voice has many forgetting who originally did the song and hoping Johnson is singing to them....
Our last set list (from CBGB's) was:
Stole Your Thunder
Feel Like makin' Love (Bad Company)
Wouldn't You Like to Know
Let Me Fall
other recent covers:
What Is & What Should Never Be-Led Zeppelin
Magic Man- Heart
There are no upcoming dates at this time.