Johnny Different
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Johnny Different


Band Rock Punk


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Press - San Diego Union Tribune STREET

Deftly blending elements of power pop, punk and various other hardcore and alternative threads, San Diego's Johnny Different's new album is like caffeine for your ear.

There's a buzz about the music, or more accurately, about the energy coursing through it. Johnny Miller's hectic guitar and John Spaid's insistent drumming create a hum that runs behind the lead vocals of Miller and bassist Jay Culbertson. And Culbertson thumps like a man possessed on that bass ---- his low-end gymnastics are an absolutely integral part of the band's sound.

It's a fun sound, one that's hard to stop listening to (even when the song's lyrics are as heartachingly sad as on "Down On Your Luck," about a dying father's last message to his son).

All that's lacking on this album is that one great hook-based song, the tune that gets stuck in your head and won't get out.

They find that song, the men of Johnny Different will have that one, last missing ingredient they need to create real magic.

Johnny Different performs March 15 at Cane's in Mission Beach.

---- Jim Trageser, Staff Writer

- North County Times

Thursday: I know I usually start off my week with Wednesday but I have been so busy with the site I just didn't make it to Farmers market this week (or any other show that night. I went to Canes on Thursday to see my friends Johnny Different for what was billed as a "Rockin' Johnny White presents Sham-Rock Showcase 07". An early celebration for St. Patrick's day on the 15th. Also playing was Black Market Hearts, Foil and The Crowley's. I have heard Johnny Different before since I made friends with John and Jay through Chuck Schiele. Chuck produced their new CD at Studio 921OB (which is excellent BTW) the first time I heard Jay sing he was getting over a bad cold (I didn't know that at the time) and I remember thinking how awful the singing was. But after listening to them here I realized something was different about Johnny Different! Jay has a nice voice and this is a great band. John Miller cranks on the guitar and also sings and has a good voice too! And these guys kick ass! My favorite songs are Growin' Up or Wine Song but all of them are great. There is a hidden track on the CD that has a growl at the end of blank space just to see if you are paying attention. [Grin] I don't know how many of you ever go to a punk show. I have been to raw punk shows and hard rock shows and def metal (or Death some call it) shows and lots of Metal. But I went through a period towards the end of my marriage and listened to a lot of corporate punk and it is raw and very high energy. High energy is what we had at Canes that night. Not only did Johnny Different get the ball started they were being filmed by San Diego Music Scout. A video production company that filmed the Johnny Different segment in High Definition. You can find that video in a podcast or on iTunes. -- Scott Zensen - Scott Zensen

So from Allegra's beautiful melodies I went to have my ears numbed at O'Connell's to listen to my friend's in Johnny Different. Johnny Different is a heavy rock band with their feet dipped in punk. They get on a lot of punk bills but I am not sure they are a punk band just a really good rock band. But then again yeah they are punk too! they play really fast and hard! When I got there I found out from Johnny Miller (lead Guitarist) that they were not going on till 11 pm. Which isn't all that strange for O'Connell's. Shows normally are supposed to start at 9 pm, but inevitably start late. I wasn't there by nine but the first band was still going. They were called "Arroyo" and I wasn't a big fan but maybe they have to grow on you. Next up was a band called "Leopold and his Fiction. A two piece band from San Francisco. They didn't do any pre-setup with the drum kit so it took almost 20 minutes to set up for this two piece band, the guitarist had two guitars. but it still should have been a smoother transition than this! The band was a little more than disappointing and if not for Johnny different I would have actually left a gig. I don't usually do that unless its because of a ride issue. The band thought they were the white stripes reincarnation. They did their own songs but in White Stripes fashion sometimes the guitar playing wasn't up to it in my humble opinion, but other times I almost got into it. But then he opened his mouth. He sang it like he was Jack white and I have never heard anyone make that work for them except Jack White. I couldn't tell if he just had a bad singing voice or if it was he was trying to sing that way, But for me it didn't work and I asked a couple of other patrons and they weren't diggin' it either. Johnny Different's playing time was dwindling by the minute. The first band ran a little long and this one took a long time to setup and then played their full set. Johnny Different's time got bumped to about 12 pm. Still plenty of time, but most bars want to start the wind down at 1:30 am but Rick was being cool about it and let them do a full set.

Johnny Different is a three piece band consisting of John Miller (lead Guitar and vocals), Jay Culbertson (Base and lead Vocals for most songs) and their drummer John Spaid. Now these guys really crank it up a notch. Yes they are loud but I like that in a band. They are my second favorite local rock band next to Sweettooth and third on that list would be Superunloader. But I have heard these guys play more than a few times but tonight I learned a few new things. John can play his guitar a whole lot better than he has been letting on in earlier shows I have seen. And John Spaid is a hard working, great drummer. He really does a great job and its tough to play in a band that is skirting the punk rock genre. They play fast and hard and don't do very many ballads or slower beat rock tunes. They do a few covers one of them is a punked out version of an old Jerry Reed song. Its the best version i have ever heard of the song. But favorite songs are "Growin' Up" and "Arab Oil" or "Late 20's Lament". But if you just want to get crazy listen to "The Wine Song" it will rev your body into overdrive. There were a few semi-drunk girls there that understand what i meant because they were up and dancing or just jumping up and around for most every song. I learned something else I didn't know about potential rock star's...they can get a little flabbergasted like the rest of us. One girl upon leaving walked over and pinched Jay while he was playing. He kept on playing like a pro but he had shocked look on his face. And John Miller was distracted a little when one of the girls decide to let out her very large breast in a flash to the band. You don't see that very often in O'Connell's. that kind of thing happens a lot in rock n roll but usually at outside venues where it would be hard to get arrested. Luckily no one but John and Jay saw, but John's wife was laughing out loud. I don't know if she just found it funny or John's reaction to it? Its fun to get drunk once in a whiles but I am usually pretty conservative on my actions while inebriated. I think this poor girl would have been devastated had she gotten busted and woke up the next morning in jail. Having to explain why she exposed herself in public to family and friends. Of course I think it was just the booze and her friends that coaxed her into it. I doubt had she been there by herself with out the friends if she would have done it in the first place. Course I sound like an old fuddy duddy, but personally I don't care and don't mind seeing a pair of breasts out for a night on the town but I sometime get too empathetic for people. Its just in my nature. Too bad I missed it myself! Funny thing is I was watching them dance around most of the night. I just looked away at the wrong moment. Oh Well! [grin] - Scott Zensen


Album: Growin' Up (Released, January 2007)

Radio Airplay: AM 1360, Air America / FM 94.9 - The Local 94/9 / (Internet Radio) / KPRI FM 102.1 Homegrown Hour

Streaming: Several songs from Growin' Up on Scott Zensen's "My Week In Music" - - - Neil Young's Living with War




Hailing from San Diego, Johnny Different blends elements of power pop, punk and various other alternative threads to produce their high energy sound. Originally kicking off in late 2004, like most bans, JD stumbled over their first few steps, ending up as a three-piece power trio by August 2005 with John Miller (Guitar/Vocals), Jay Culbertson (Bass/Vocals) and John Spaid (Drums). For the next year and a half Johnny Different played a rotating circuit of San Diego clubs including Cane’s, The 710 Beach Club, Brick By Brick, The Tiki House, The Ocean Beach Farmers Market and their home away from home, O’Connell’s.

In January 2007, Johnny Different released their first album, Growin’ Up which was recorded and produced at StudiOB by long time San Diego musician Chuck Schiele (Chuck is also a member of San Diego's The Grams). The album received a wide variety of reviews in the San Diego Union Tribune, North County Times, San Diego CityBEAT and San Diego Reader. The band has continued into 2007 gaining popularity including a feature in the San Diego Union Tribune STREET section.

In April 2007 the guys of Johnny Different decided to add to the mix and the sound of the band by adding lead guitarist Ryan Vernazza. Now, a four-piece band again, the future is looking bright for these lads and we all hope you, our fans and friends, stick around to see the growth and development of Johnny Different from nice guy musicians, to tabloid and mug shot notoriety.