Johnny 2 Fingers &  the Deformities
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Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Hard Rock




"Johnny 2 Fingers Was Born with Only Two Fingers on His Right Hand and Is a Rad Rock'n'Roll Guitarist"

Who needs ten fingers when you sound this good?

John Dale describes himself as a short, hairy man who was raised in the midst of the vast Canadian prairies—”a byproduct of modern medical science and loving parents,” as he notes via email. He also just happened to be born with what his bio casually calls “a hideous physical mutation that science could never explain.” A childhood spent watching B-movies and wrestling imbued young John with a healthy sense of the surreal and the hyperbolic, but his self-description is pretty apt (aside from the “hideous” part—he’s quite handsome). Thanks to an inherited condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), Dale is shorter than the average resident of his Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan hometown, and was also born short a few fingers (as he told me, “technically I should be called Johnny 2-and-a-Half Fingers, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it”).

His origins remain a medical mystery—“There's really no explanation for it. It's not hereditary, it wasn't because of my mom taking any drugs. The doctor told my mom that ‘John is just a black rose in a field of red ones, there's no explaining it.’ His original prognosis was that I was never supposed to walk, however my father refused to believe that and he rallied my family to believe that I'd do it. Probably the nicest thing that old bugger did for me!”

His love of wrestling started young, and is something he still shares with his band—his 300-pound drummer “Cannonball” Kelly wrestles in an independent Saskatechewan wrestling league— though his own physical limitations put the kibosh on his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Instead, he chose another path. Dale is currently the guitarist and vocalist in a gritty rock’n’roll band called Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities, citing AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, and the blues as early inspirations on his sound; throw in a few missing digits, and his decade-plus commitment to the riff becomes even more impressive. I was surprised to hear that the sight of Dale strumming away onstage elicits a negligible amount of Django Reinhardt references, because that’s the name people always wave at me when I explain my own eight-fingered reluctance to pick up a guitar. “People bring up Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath more often to me; he cut off a couple tips of his fingers on his fretting hand and had to make leather tips for him to play. I didn't know that until after I loved the band, it was just another reason be inspired by them,” he shares.

When I ask him if he worries his decision to go with such an out-there name will peg Johnny 2 Fingers as a novelty band, he’s frank. “It's not often when one can truly live the gimmick. I've always tried hard to be good at the music and songwriting side of things so people wouldn't look at me as some sympathy case. "Look at the crippled boy playing guitar, isn't that cute?" That type of thing... I want them to say "That dude can play some mean guitar!" he states firmly. “When my bandmates first suggested the name, I didn't like it—I thought nobody would take me seriously—but as i thought about it and realized rock’n’roll is all kind of a joke anyway, I just decided to get over myself and have some fun. I don't think I'll ever change the name now; it feels as much as me a part of me as anything else in my life.”

He had a rough time of it growing up, and in a way, it prepared him for the experience of stepping out onstage. “I'm used to being stared at,” he explains. "In malls, banks, grocery stores. Kids would always ask me what was wrong with me, and I'd tell them things like I lost my fingers playing with knives or in a combine accident. Frankly, I hated the attention because I'd hear them talk about me as if I wasn't even there— "Look at the midget"—and then they'd laugh. Even when I was older, I'd never shake hands with people. I was so ashamed of my hand and basically everything about my physical appearance.”

It’s hard to imagine the sheer amount of balls it takes for someone with that kind of poisonous early social experience to start a band and play in front of strangers, but Dale says that his missing digits aren’t really that big of a deal anymore. He’s a well of good humor and zen attitude about the whole thing, from his lonesome boyhood to his teenage discovery of the guitar to the drug-fueled party that finally brought him out of his shell (though as he says, “I hope this didn't come across as an endorsement for doing drugs, I don't recommend making those things a habit. Seen too many lives ruined from booze, coke and pills... I'll stick with the marijuana and the coffee bean, please!”).

He reckons he was a late bloomer, though his mother’s love of rock music and his own creative curiosity left an impact early on. “I used to go to a summer camp for disabled children called Camp Easter Seal in Manitou, SK. When I was 12 years old, they had a band to play for all us campers. The guy who played guitar was just a lot younger than me, like 12 or something, but man, he could play,” he remembers. “They did a lot of classic rock covers, and I remember headbanging to that stuff before I even knew what headbanging was. I looked at that boy and I thought in my 16-year old head, "If that little kid can do that, I could do that too. It's just like memorizing numbers; how hard could it be?"

“The first thing I went to was the library to get Guitar Playing for Dummies or something of the sort. Remember, it was 1999—I can still remember the sounds of dial up modems—and I started to read online tablature. My first electric was some crappy red Strat rip-off that I bought from a friend for $100, I was so excited to play it—finally I could get those riffs that I was learning electrified! I played bass in a band called Brain Sauce for six years and learned so much from old my bandmate, Brodie Mohninger. Now my bass player Brett McKay (who's an excellent guitarist) continues to give me unofficial lessons. Sometimes I give lessons to people, and I find I learn from teaching too. Guitar's wonderful, there's always something more to learn.”

His band’s latest album, McMillan’s Monster, is named after Dan McMillan, a friend of Dale’s who came up with a canny little device that completely changed the way Dale plays guitar: a prosthetic pick-holder.

“The first one he made was a big hook-like structure made from a milk jug that connected to my wrist via a velcro strap and hung between my fingers. He gave me all the supplies and ideas that I needed to make a smaller version that strapped onto my single finger, too. I glued and sewed a Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick onto it and used that unpredictable thing for nearly a year and a half until I visited the prosthetics department in Wascana Rehab in Regina, SK. The doctor, Ken Zech, took an actual cast of my finger and the pick, and now it works like a dream! Early on, I experimented with duct taping a pick to my finger, but it would always fall off, so I would just play with nothing. My finger nails were starting to wear out, I'd have really painful blisters on my finger stubs, sometimes I'd bleed. Also there was no way to get those amazing sounds like all my guitars I was listening to. Now I can play for hours without any worries, it's so reliable. I never thought about developing them for other people, however I'd be more than happy to share with anyone how to make their own!”

That pick has served him well on McMillan’s Monster, which sees him and the boys nail a swaggering classic-meets-modern blues rock sound. Songs like “King of the Underground” and “Colt .45” add a little outlaw twang in there, too, and the end result is a delight. Dale agrees, beaming “I feel like it's so much more real and organic than the last album, and it also really captures the sound that I hear in my head. There's all of us in that album; it's what I dreamed about what a band should be like.”

Despite the accomplishments under his belt, Dale is still a kid at heart; his own sometimes difficult childhood left him with a gentle manner and a lifelong love of Weird Al, reptiles, cartoons, and oddball music. “Growing up, I always liked the bad guys in the cartoons—they always looked cooler than the good guys. I could relate to the "icky" monsters as a funny looking little boy, and I always thought Skeletor was cooler than He-Man,” he remembers. “If it was a little gross or bizarre I'd grow fond of it. I love Primus, Reverend Horton Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Pantera, even stuff like the Beetlejuice soundtrack or the Ren and Stimpy album. I love old blues too, and classic outlaws like Steve Earle, Johnny Cash... shit, as long as it's real, sounds organic, and makes me feel something, that's what I like. I like rock’n’roll because of the aspect of being true to yourself. I love the energy, the rebellion, the sound—the fact that it's not perfect, and can be sorta gross.” - Vice (Noisey)


Right now, there’s a guitarist from Moose Jaw who might be the saviour of Saskatchewan guitar rock. And he’s missing a bunch of his fingers.

According to legend, or at least the band’s own bio, John Dale aka Johnny 2 Fingers was born with a “hideous physical mutation.”

But that’s not really apt.

Dale is missing some appendages on his picking hand. He’s also shorter than your average bear. According to a recent article in Vice, the guitarist inherited a condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD).

But, despite the missing digits, Dale completely shreds.

No shit, but don’t dare call them a novelty band.

Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities take their cues from southern-fried boogie rock and infuse it with a boozy belt of punk rock for good measure. Throughout their set at Vangelis, the trio kept the energy level – and the volume – high, as Dale and crew ripped through a set that included a cover of AC/DC’s “Jailbreak” along with a slew of staggering, sweaty originals.

johnny 2 fingers 1

Dale’s voice, raspy and semi-unhinged, propelled the set while a seriously solid rhythm section – which featured a harmonica-playing drummer – pounded the classic rock-inspired tunes straight into the floor.

Unleashing several songs from their recently released album “McMillan’s Monster,” Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities’ sophomore release is reportedly a tribute to Dan McMillan, the man who awoke from a slumber but retained the memory from a dream in which he envisioned what would be the prototype of a pick prosthetic for Johnny 2 Fingers.

Strange, yes. But if this Moose Javian rock’n’roll show isn’t on your local music map, you would be wise to place it there right now.

Staring out into the sparse but rabid audience, Dale exuded a swaggering, and almost fevered, air that reverberated throughout his SG six-string sashay. Meanwhile his rhythmic picking – yes, again, he’s missing some fingers – added a driving hirsute headbang that gave the set a much-appreciated sheen of fun.

johnny 2 fingers 3

Meanwhile, openers Xembryos piledrived their way through some serious street-beast punk rock that seemed to revel in its own spit-addled venom.

Front man Brendo Kolebaba prowled the stage while the rest of the band dug in their collective heels to produce a din that could blister paint.

Not to be outdone by the music, the banter of the evening similarly produced a few highlights, along with a couple of yuks at the expense of technology-imbued douchebags as well.

“Hey cellphone,” yelled the guitarist, “put it away.”

Looking up, I realized I was being singled out.

“I was just Tweeting about how good you were,” I countered.

But point taken. Sometimes you’ve got to flush the phone and jump in the pit and shake yo’ rump. This is punk rock after all, not your kissin’ cousin’s weird wedding. - Ominocity

"Dale creates his own guitar style"

Playing music is John Dale’s priority.

It’s why he lives in a leaky-roofed shack (his words). It’s why he has two vehicles — one is a van specifically for band tour use. It’s why he has maintained casual employment in spite of being offered managerial positions (not that he doesn’t like his work at Citizens All, an organization that offers support for people with intellectual disabilities).

“Being able to express myself is more important than making a comfortable sum,” said Dale, frontman of Moose Jaw rock band Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities. “For the part of my mind that is rather logical, there’s a lot of easier ways to make money, to make a living.”

But “there’s something about playing, even listening to other music … and I get goosebumps,” said Dale. “It’s a release. It does move me.”

When Dale was 17, a 13-year-old guitarist inspired him to learn to play.
But it was no easy feat.

Dale was born with bilateral femoral proximal deficiency — deformed hips, club feet, short femurs, and two fingers fused on his right hand. Surgery at age three separated the digits.

Learning to play guitar was challenging because, for one thing, “my wrist doesn’t work the same as other people.”

For another, “I can’t really go to YouTube and look for pick techniques. Nobody’s got this thing.”

Regular tools of the trade don’t work for Dale.

“When I very first started, I tried to duct tape a pick to my finger, which didn’t work very well — it fell off,” said Dale. “I had to learn my own way.”

His friend Dan McMillan made him an elaborate pick apparatus from Velcro and a milk jug. It was a “big cumbersome hook that hung between my fingers and it attached around my wrist” — but it broke.

Now Dale uses a pick designed by a prosthetist.

Playing guitar is complicated, but worthwhile because “it’s a passion,” said Dale. “It’s frustrating during it, but you can’t let that stuff consume you. You’ve got to go back and try to overcome your challenges, otherwise you’ll be a victim all your life.

“Just try to play through it and play better,” Dale added, riffing on his guitar as he spoke.

Dale delved into singer-songwriter covers after Black Sabbath’s Electric Funeral proved too challenging to pull off solo.

Johnny 2 Fingers formed in 2011, when Dale started jamming with “Cannonball” Kelly Gower (drums/harmonica/vocals). Bassist Brett McKay joined in last year. Singer and “legend” Frank Felt, 73, joins the trio in their Moose Jaw shows.

Dale writes songs about “real life things,” but steers clear of love songs.

“It’s oversaturated,” he said. “I want to show the world that there’s other things to sing about than singing about your relationships in front of everybody else.”

Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities is planning shows for the end of October. In the meantime, Dale has two solo shows scheduled — Sept. 12 in Indian Head, and Sept. 23 at the Regina German Club. - Regina Leader Post

"Garage Bands - Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities"

Frank Felt, the executioner of Apache Gods, takes a hit from the bong and steps up to the living-room mic.

"I'm here to be a communicator," says Frank Felt to no one in particular. He exhales. Smoke swirls around him.

"Now for your spiritual enlightenment and enhancement, to go along with that special glow of euphoria, produced by the herbal essences of nature, the Attack Modular Super Dragon proudly presents Johnny 2 Finnnnnngerrrrrrrs and the Deffffffffformitiessssss."

Preparing for a concert in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, rock band Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities are playing in a one bedroom house, but acting like they're in Madison Square Garden.

The living room they jam in is small. Barely fits the drum set. Often Brett McKay, the bass player wanders into the kitchen, mid song, still playing, just to catch some clean air. The only sight of him is his guitar cord plugged into the speaker.

It's hard to say if the dead plant hanging from the ceiling is due to negligence or the extreme heat from four grown men playing in such a confined space. It's past 11 p.m. The semi-noise-conscious rockers are trying to keep it down. But it's not like their neighbours care. Sometimes when practicing, strangers will pull up a lawn chair, crack a Pilsner, and listen. It's the Saskatchewan way.

Taking a break from the heat, lead singer John Dale switches guitars. A sticker of Justin Bieber on the front door eyes his movements.

"I got this guitar at a pawn shop deal which was very good because I didn't have a job at the time. Sold my old lady's ring."

Looking like a handsome version of Charles Manson, he smiles. "Isn't that charming?"

"The guitar is more beautiful," chimed McKay.

Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities don't make sense.

Drummer "Cannonball" Kelly is a 300 pound-wrestler. Dale is under five feet and has only two fingers on his right hand. Then there's "Too High" McKay who can't stop bragging how his weed is better than everyone else's.

And Felt, he's the oddest of them all. A 72-year-old poet, he's somehow found his place as the band's introducer and "sometimes" singer for the band. He met Dale by jamming in a mutual friend's basement much to the chagrin of the young man's mother who lived upstairs.

"I just disturb people upon contact. Like nearness even," said Felt.

The band is trying to make it in a time where local musicians rarely exist in Moose Jaw. Music stores keep closing down and local talent leave for bigger cities.

As kids the dream was never to become musicians. Life veered from wanting to be a lawyer, or scientist or Power Ranger, and landed them in rock and roll. In fact, it probably would have been easier to become that Might Morphin hero than a rock star.

And now "life is hell without music," says "Cannonball" Kelly. During the day he works at a seed plant and is part of an independent wrestling league. The band has even played one of his cage matches.

Dale is a care worker and McKay cleans up horse carcasses from his family's farm when he's not working at a skateboard shop. His dad pays him in ice cream. The board shop pays him in money.

"I struggle to get by," says McKay. The others do too.

But music brought them together, and it somehow works.

"There's no real reason why I sit there and play by myself all the time and then finally getting to a point where I get to play with other people," said Dale. "And that's really cool because it's just that noise. It's all through metal, and magnets and electricity. It's sort of magic in a way. It's like having a conversation when it's really good."

"I feel everyone is doomed anyways," added McKay. "So with music and stuff, you only have one life. So do whatever that you actually enjoy, instead of dreading your life working nine to five the rest of your life."

"You got it," responded Dale. - Sackview Tribune Post

"Review – Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities"

By: Jenna Melanson

Album – McMillan’s Monster
Release Date – May 28, 2015
Download Link –
Genre – Rock

Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities is a Moose Jaw, SK based rock band who released their new album today (May 28). The album is entitled “McMillan’s Monster” and was mixed and recorded by Mike Lefebvre at Sweat Shoppe Studio in Saskatoon.

The album features nine tracks, and starts strong with “Ode to Caliostro”, which is one of my personal favourites from the album, with killer guitar and vocals.

Another that stood out to me was “Workin’ All Night” which at times gives off a slightly different vibe than the rest of the album, it has a bit of twang to the vocals, and I can see why some would call this Outlaw Rock N Roll.

If you’re looking for a new rock n roll album to listen to, this could just be it. If you like what you’re hearing, be sure to stop by one of the upcoming tour dates if they are in your area:
May 28 – Moose Jaw (Mae Wilson)
May 30 – Saskatoon (Vangelis)
June 3 – Calgary (Vern’s Tavern)
June 4 – Revelstoke (Powder Springs Inn)
June 5 – Kamloops (Dirty Jersey)
June 6 – Abbotsford (Gators Pub)
June 8 – Vancouver (Railway Club)
June 9 – Kelowna (Fernando’s Pub)
June 11 – Nelson (TBA)
June 12 – Fernie (The Royal)
June 13 – Medicine Hat (Oly’s)
June 14 – Regina (Downtown Plaza) - Canadian Beats

"REVIEW: Rock & blues make the man"

The first guitar chord that rings out on ‘Good Eatin’ is simply an appetizer. The 9-song record from Moose Jaw quartet Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities is a multi-course meal. It is filled with different tastes and textures even without straying too far from rock and roll and blues. Straight-to-the-point is what J2F and the Deformities do best. Edge of the Road starts the record with the previously mentioned fuzzy guitar chord immediately followed by a barrage of drums before the song hits its stride. John Dale the group’s songwriter, vocalist and one of two guitar players, tells stories of hitchhiking, random friendships and self-governance. Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Dale is a keen observer and clever songwriter. Subject matter switches between introspection and external observations. Though he tells first person narratives, Dale is interested in the people around him and that keeps every song from being self–indulgent. On Suit Don’t Make the Man, the Deformities chug along like a distant train while Dale’s lyrics making you question your own perspectives and judgements. In every song Dale’s voice stays above the noise. His lyrics are what make this ‘Good Eatin’ something special. Singin’ Outta Tune is an ode to carelessness musical fun that could be an anthem for those who enjoy a wilder side of life. The songs are fast and keep the foot tapping. The deformities are tight without sounding polished. The band knows when to use subtlety. Few bands have any respect for silence or space. The Deformities know how to use it, like in the beginning of What’s for dinner, mama?, and when they do it magnifies the album’s louder parts. “Cannonball” Kelly Gower is capable at hammering the drums as hard as possible before switching to very light drums that essentially just keep the time on Electron Blues. Govern Yourself is the albums stand out song. It starts with a fire starting guitar lick. The band charges ahead while Dale sings/howls “I’m standing in a grocery line checkout”. He uses that to segue into serious like war and poverty. Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities make music you can party to, because they don’t take themselves too seriously. But Good Eatin’ signals J2F and the Deformities as a band that Moose Jaw, and Saskatchewan, should be taking seriously. - AUSTIN M. DAVIS


2017 - Built to Rock N Roll EP

2015 - McMillan's Monster

2013 - Good Eatin'

2012 - Green Door Sessions

2011 - Johnny 2 Fingers, His Guitar, & a Throat Infection



Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities are a three piece rock n roll monster born in the wild expanse of the Canadian prairies.  Raised and nurtured on AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Allman Brothers and Muddy Waters these guys know rock n roll and where it came from.  
"Real" "Inspiring" "Wild" "Loud" "Sweaty" "Rocking" "Fuckin' Crazy" these are a few of the descriptive terms from new fans who witness J2F & the D's live.  Lead by Johnny 2 Fingers on vocals and either playing slide or ripping solos on a Gibson SG - engaging the audience by his songs, stage presence or just hopping into the crowd.  Supported by maniac, Travis Geib, on the bass guitar and the frantic, caveman, former pro-wrestler "Cannonball" Kelly Gower on the drums.  These guys finish their set leaving everything they got on the stage.

They've played some of Saskatchewan's biggest summer festivals in 2016: Bengough's Gateway Festival, Nesscreek festival and Saskatoon's Mosofest.  Also been a part of Toronto's Indieweek.  They've been featured in Vice magazine and recently won Regina's radio station 104.9 the Wolf's Queen City Rocks 2017 battle of the bands. They've toured Canada from Victoria, BC to Montreal, QC.. they shared the stage with notable acts such as the Pack A.D., Public Animal, Moon Tan, Creepshow, Megan Nash and even Fred Penner.

Their music has been played on radio stations across Canada and in America, including the CBC and look forward to making an impact with their upcoming Aug 2017 release "Built to Rock N Roll" Ep.

Band Members