Johnny and the Headhunters
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Johnny and the Headhunters

Bethesda, Maryland, United States

Bethesda, Maryland, United States
Band Blues Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Kennedy Center for the performing arts July 2004"

Johnny and the Headhunters

They say ,"You have to pay the dues if you want to play the Blues". If that is true, Johnny Ticktin has been paying for 25 years.
Johnny spent a lot of that time backing up or sharing the stage with many of the Blues greats he was influenced by.
The list includes : Lightening Hopkins, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, James Cotton, Bobby Bland, Memphis Slim, Louisana Red, Carey Bell, Jimmy Rogers, Big Walter, Pine Top Perkins, Eddie Taylor and many others.
Learning to play the Guitar at the age of 6, Johnny soon began to be asked to play in bands as he was able to play the songs that were popular at the time, The Animals, Beatles, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix , Led Zepplin etc..
But as he progressed he found that the Music he was playing was really British interpretations of American Blues .
It wasnt until College that John would get an education on the Blues.
John met Bruce Ewan, Harmonica player and brother of Blues man, Bobby Radcliff. The Two would shop record conventions for Blues records and share many of the records the Bruce had mysterously ended up with from his brother. Some of These were the recordings of Bobby Bland, Otis Rush, Little Milton, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Guitar Slim, T-bone Walker ,The Meters, and of course, the favorite records of Magic Sam. Johnny started playing nothing but the Blues.
In 1982 Johnny moved back home to Washington Dc and began playing niteclubs starting the Band "The Headhunters" . Places such as "Desperados" "the Wax Museum" ,and "Child Harold" where Bruce Springsteen and Emy Lou Harris got started in DC, also the place where Johnny would meet "Louisana Red" .
Johnny became friends with a fine harmonica player named Larry Wise.
Larry was known for actually knowing and touring with famous Blues men and, when Louisana Red appeared at the Childe Harold, Larry introduced Johnny to him.
The three became known as "Nobodys Children" and began a whirlwind tour of the US and Canada.
During the time Johnny played with Red, they had the opportunity to play with many Blues masters as , Red himself was a ledgendary Blues man and having had hit records such as "Reds Dream" and "Sweet bloodcall", he was quite famous.
The Band "Nobodys Children" Toured, played Festivals and shared the stage with Greats such as Lightening Hopkins, Big Momma Thorton , Memphis Slim, Nina Simone, Taj Mahal, Duke Robillard , Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcgee, Albert Collins, Albert King, Big Moose Walker(Earl Hookers Piano Player) Buddy Guy, Phillip Guy (Buddy's brother) Muddy Waters, Big Walter , Pine Top Perkins, Luther Allison and many many more.
Johnny stayed for some time with Sunniland Slim, Ledgendary Chicago Piano Player and a member of Muddy Waters Band. He became friendly with Lurie Bell, son of Carey Bell, Famous Harmonica player for Muddy. The Two would go to sit in at Clubs on the North side of Chicago. One night Johnny went to a club on the north side to see Big Walter Horton play with Eddie Taylor . Outside the club met Steve Guyger and Eddie, taking a band break. Steve, was an up and coming Harmonica player from the Philadelphia area. The Two got to play with the band, featuring Eddie taylor, Big Walter , Odie Payne , Louis Meyers, and , Pine top.
Upon coming home , Johnny was asked to replace the Guitarist in the band that Steve had started in Philadelphia the "Excellos".
Johnny had already been Guitar player for the Ledgendary band "Rockett 88" from Wilmington Delaware, replacing George Thorogood as their Guitar player, Johnny was already becoming known along the East Coast as "The Guitar Slinger" at The Beaches of Maryland and Delaware.
The Excellos played places in Philadelphia such as "J.C Dobbs " with bands like "The Stray Cats " opening for them.
With the experience and knowledge he learned , Johnny moved back to Washington DC to form "Johnny and the Headhunters " Now a trio with Guitar / Bass and Drums.
Johnny is not only an Authentic Blues Guitar player, He is also an accomplished Blues Singer and can sing, play Rythmn and lead all at the same time.
He has an uncanny sense of rythmn and tempo and, can lead a band and audience with the knowledge of years of professional talent and finesse.
The Headhunters have performed for 20 years in and around the Nations Capital , traveling to New York to become popular in the Club scene for many years in Manhattan especially at "Manny's Car Wash" an upper east side blues hot spot , and along the Eastern Shore.
Having played many shows with Pete Ragusa, Drummer and grammy nominated producer for the internationally known, "Nighthawks" , Pete went on to not only
Play on several of Johnnys albums but, also produced the Headhunters Release, "Watch yourself".
The Band's Latest Release "Truckin The Blues" is Produced by Billy Hancock, and features Bruce Ewan on Harmonica plus, Saxophone's by Joe Stanley and Chris Watling.
The Band featuring Brian Mcgregor (who also backs up Chuck Berry) on Bass, is back in the Studio recording for a New CD and, has already completed some cuts such as "Every Time it rains" and
"Keep holdin on baby" , and promises to have that cool yet strong Headhunters sound. - Kennedy Center


"Johnny and the Headhunters" self titled album 1982
"Real Rok N Rol" Featuring Johnny Castle 1992
Watch Yourself - Produced and played by Grammy nominee Pete Ragusa from the nighthawks 1995
"Truckin the Blues" 1996 Produced by Billy Hancock
"You Just gotta dance" 2005
see for music and bio's There are 2 different CD's on CDBABY now


Feeling a bit camera shy


Johnny and the Headhunters Play the Blues Right!
(Steve Hoffman. The Blues Experience)

16 weeks at number one on the RMR with the new album “ that’s all I need”
Most Every Musician thinks they can play the Blues.
This band has over 25 years experience playing thousands of Clubs and festivals . We played with many of our influences , Albert Collins, Lightening Hopkins ,James Cotton, Carey Bell, Buddy Guy, Memphis Slim, Bobby Bland This is no kiddy Blues band. Google johnny and the headhunters

Band Members