Johnny Chops &The Razors
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Johnny Chops &The Razors

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Americana Blues

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"Johnny Chops & The Razors Try Out Some New Tunes on a Receptive Dallas Audience"

Johnny Chops and The Razors had proven themselves to be a powerhouse, each individual being a master of their craft, and working together the way they did made them into a well-oiled machine.

It goes back to their chemistry and the way the five of them meshed on stage. Everyone was riveting to watch on their own, each getting their own time to shine frequently throughout the performance, but when observing them as a collective, that was when they were the most superb.
...In the end, Chops and company were all about having a great time. Make no mistake, they kept it professional, though they were also just having a blast playing their music, striving to get the audience to have as much fun as they were. That wasn’t too difficult, and in case that wasn’t a compelling enough factor, they had their wide array songs to fall back on. Seriously, you don’t often see bands that have such an eclectic catalog, let alone ones who can pull off the various styles with ease. Yet this night patrons were treated to some (roots) rock, blues and country with hints of soul of folk thrown in, the band nailing each genre. That further attests to their musical prowess and the magic that Johnny Chops and The Razors have going for them. - The Music Enthusiast


"VIDEO PREMIERE: JOHNNY CHOPS & THE RAZORS TAP INTO LAID BACK BLUESY SOUL WITH “TAKING A CHANCE ON ME”"

The video captures the chemistry of a band easily able to tap into a laid back Southern rock groove. At the helm is none other than Johnny, who steers the music with his relaxed vocals, exuding just the right amount of soul and roots rocker energy. As a whole, the tune has a bluesy, southern boogie sound with an infectious, uplifting chorus. - Glide Magazine


"JOHNNY CHOPS AND THE RAZORS, ‘BELIEVER’ MUSIC VIDEO [EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE]"

Austin, Texas-based band Johnny Chops and the Razors are premiering the music video for their song “Believer” exclusively for readers of The Boot. Press play above to watch.
For frontman Johnny “Chops” Richardson, “Believer” is part of a new chapter for his solo sound -- Richardson has been playing bass in Texas’ beloved Randy Rogers Band since 2002 and is a frequent songwriter -- and an homage to the world’s finest bluesmen.
“I love Delta blues: Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Skip James,” Richardson tells The Boot. “So it's my attempt at paying tribute to those haunting, supernatural, crossroads-at-midnight-type of songs that really mesmerized me."

The video for “Believer” is also Richardson’s first foray into putting his ideas for songs into music video format. Filmed in Bertram and Hunter, Texas, just outside of Austin, the video’s setting provides both an historical backdrop and a little bit of insight into Richardson’s past.

“It’s the home of the first establishment to serve legal liquor in Texas after prohibition, Riley’s Tavern,” he says of Hunter. “I actually had one of my first paying gigs there when I was starting out, and they still host some great honky-tonk, blues and even rock acts every weekend. I spent many many Friday and Saturday nights learning how to play in a band there and hadn’t visited in many years.”

Over the past three years, Richardson has found sonic inspiration and a new direction via practicing his slide technique on a Gretsch resonator. Ultimately, that practice resulted in the beginnings of “Believer.”

“The riff came out, and I started humming the first line,” he recalls. “It was the first song I wrote for the record and really worked as a signpost to where I wanted to go sonically and stylistically.”

“Believer” is the first in a new batch of songs that will serve as the follow-up project to Richardson's 2013 solo debut album Sticks & Stones. Richardson is currently in the “final stretch” of completing the record, and is crowdfunding to finish production via PledgeMusic.
"Believer" is available for purchase and streaming on iTunes and Spotify. Visit JohnnyChopsMusic.com to keep up with the band and their upcoming tour dates - The Boot.com


"Predatory Rockabilly, Swampy Blues – All Garage Spit & Polished"

From the opening -- Johnny Chops’ Sticks and Stones stalked with the predatory rockabilly of Billy Burnette, Eddie Cochran, Rocky Burnette, Robert Gordon and a hall of fame of others who predated artists like the Stray Cats by more than twenty years. “Coming Home Easy” is a nice introductory scorcher with all the garage polish of vintage rock. The echo is perfect – without being superficial or used as just a special effect.

This has all been done before – that’s right. But, while others have emulated, imitated and sunk dangerously into novelty with these types of tunes but...but...Johnny Chops is none of these. This song is a geniuine hat tip to another time with a serious reunion of sound and ambience. The song is true to the era where it flourished, it is respectful of the artists who designed and buffed it and....it salutes those who came later and tried to sustain its energy, excitement and rawness. A rawness, that came long before punk became a music.


Just when I thought the album was going to be a menu of variations on the rockabilly theme alone -- I was wrong. Track two “Broken Record,” is an energetic rocker with chiming guitars, driving drums and captivating vocals. It has a comfortable Marshall Crenshaw feel about it. The more grungy guitar opener of “Reminder” -- with old-fashioned early 60’s drums and a “wall-of-sound” suspended throughout the melody sustains the quality. The bass has a driving under current to the melody. It makes this tune quite the signature tune for Johnny Chops (aka: Johnny Chops Richardson).

Here, except for the style, he reminds me of no one but himself. Johnny sings with excellent musical support from dual drummers: Josh Center and John Ross Silva (which songs each performs on was not noted); Bukka Allen is on the B3, Wurlitzer, clavinet and piano; Stephen Richardson tends the piano and shakers; Eric “Ebo” Borash adds the fingers to electric, acoustic and resonator guitars; Adam Odor plucks the bass; Dennis Richardson, Amanda Brown, James Hertless, Eric Borash provide backup vocals; and Johnny Chops himself is on vocals, harmonica, bass, acoustic and electric guitars. Many instruments not necessarily of the rock ilk – but they are used effectively.

“Sky Falls Down,” jumps away from rockabilly or anything remotely retro. This one is a steady modern day rawboned rocker. Slinky vocals, snakey guitars and pounding percussive effects. Johnny sings in an absorbing, matter-of-fact manner. I think that's what we call, confidence.

Away from the rockabilly just long enough to bring it back with a salute to “Baby, Let’s Play House,” of Elvis-era badass. “Heartbreak Goodbye,” is a dirty-blues inflected raunch tune. Harmonica adds some swamp junk to the steady jaunty bubbling bop of the rhythm. This is dance music for those who have given up walking. The song slows down at times to tease the ears and the dancing feet. It could be said it's haunting, mesmerizing and it adds diverse blends of music. You would have to decide for yourself and ask yourself, if Elvis had lived, (and he would have been 81 on January 8th 2016) -- would he tackle a song like this? I would like to think he would. The attraction of this song is also the uncanny sound. It "feels" like it’s old -- from another era but, the showcase is pure 21st Century. How could you go wrong? Somethings just will not die.

Balancing his album perfectly, Johnny starts “You Keep Your Own Time.” A primal ballad with an absorbing cross-pollination of instruments. The buzz of guitars, the steady bass and drums, the fine, fine vocal by Johnny Chops. It’s almost like a calliope beat from a carnival. Hand claps, foot taps and a thread of vitality. This is easily one of the songs that could be covered by many artists. Toward the finale, a nice piano outro, warm and purring.


The album was recorded in Austin, Texas and the overall production has that high gear feel. Amazing how Nashville is Nashville, New York is New York, Memphis is Memphis and Austin – it gives us a conglomeration of basically all of those magical musical places.

“Nobody Gets Everything,” is a basic rocker. Amazing how many singers and bands can't pull off a basic rocker. Probably because they play the music but they don't understand it's mojo, what makes it special, the feeling and the drive. While Pat Boone is actually a good singer, it only takes one listen of his version of "Tutti Frutti" to understand that Pat just didn't get what Little Richard was singing about in the original. Johnny Chops understands it. With its chiming guitars, saturated with the relish that is rock and roll -- Johnny spreads it on heavy. Over the years the Hammond organ lost ground as a lead rock instrument but it was nice to hear it loud and clear through key passages of this tune. That sound is like the best of anchoring notes. There's a pleasant guitar solo in this tune but it's brief with great tone and it soars. Sometimes less is more. This song is a foot stomper and definitely possesses the ability to wake up anyone who is falling asleep. Who could sleep through a Johnny Chops song? That would be a mystery.

Johnny Chops continues to balance his album with every song. Acoustic guitar opens the title track “Sticks and Stones,” with pensive vocals, splendid back-up vocals and a penetrating musical attack as the song progresses. I hesitate to say -- it has a Bon Jovi slant to it – but fortunately there are too many Austin-type slights of hand in this to make it a hair-band ballad. It’s too strong in its presentation and weaves itself counter to any 70’s band like Kansas or Styx that wrote great songs but their vocals were a little on the anemic side. Johnny Chops sings with authority and continues to do so with “No Room In the Graveyard.”

The guitars again -- in a high gear and the accelerator is floored, and the top is down. The album art is filled with skeletons, one with a top hat, a beauty in a gown under a chandelier, skulls and crossbones. Almost as if Johnny knows he is resurrecting a music from the past and injecting it with B12 integrity. The song could easily have been covered by The Grateful Dead – had they not decided to fold up their tent.

“Evangeline,” is a track with some seasoning and proves that Johnny Chops and his band are capable of a more pensive, powerful song. Maybe not as powerful and meaningful as The Band’s classic of the same name or the dramatic Icicle Works' song of the same name. But, it does summon up a respective attempt at adapting a classic name -- Evangeline -- to yet another, wholly different and unique song. Could they be singing about the same woman? Nice lead guitar take – memorable in the fashion of late the 60's band Gun. Their lead guitarist Adrian Curtis-Gurvitz (“Race With the Devil”) who went on to form a band with Cream's former drummer Ginger Baker. Adrian was one of the guitarists to employ an excellent -- fuzzy tone to many of his classic songs back in the late 60's-early 70’s.


The closer is the swamp blues harmonica driven “Praying For Rain.” It has that humid voodoo sound – often part of anything happening to do with “Black Cat Moan,” type music. As a closer, this is an effective piece because this is where Johnny Chops is perhaps at his comfort level. If nothing else -- Johnny Chops has a wonderful blues voice, aching, seductive, with shards of whiskey throughout his bravura performance. This is juke joint good, with an effective sidewinder of a lead guitar that follows the moan of the tin sandwich (harmonica).

You may not like every thing on this collection but there are little pieces that are memorable, creative and likeable. An entire album of “Praying for Rain,” type tunes would be ideal. While all the songs have something to recommend them it’s this song that sounds like home to me. This is one of the songs that will be on repeat.

The album is available on CD as well as glorious vinyl. - No Depression


Discography

1. Sticks & Stones - 10/1/2013

2. Believer-Single - 10/13/17

3. Taking a Chance on Me - Single - 1/5/18

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Bio

Rock music you can sing along with while stomping your feet.  2 guitars, drums, bass and keys with a little nasty harmonica thrown in. This is guitar driven storytelling that will keep you awake at night. Catchy choruses and novel arrangements make this the band that takes a familiar recipe and creates its own new sound. From the Delta blues and the Texas heat, to SoCal sidewalks and the Memphis barroom, the origins of rock and roll are showcased under a new light.  

Band Members