Johnny Neel & The Criminal Element

Johnny Neel & The Criminal Element

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Johnny Neel & Criminal Element " Johnny Neel & Criminal Element is breakin' into the scene and not taking any prisoners".... They have a natural connection for creating the funkiest songs around, in many different styles and genres. The Criminal Element always sounds fresh."


Born and Raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Johnny cut his first single at the age of twelve, as Johnny Neel and The Shapes Of Soul. As an adult, the Johnny Neel Band had a strong following up and down the East Coast and released two well-received independent albums.

Writing more and more, but frustrated with virtually no outlet, Johnny moved to Nashville, the premiere song writing city, in 1984. Immediately settling in as an "A" player in studio sessions, he found his own songs being cut by acts such as the late Keith Whitley, Restless Heart, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Forrester Sisters and many others. More recent cuts include those by John Mayall, Ann Peebles and Travis Tritt.

Moonlighting, with various bands, in area clubs drew the attention of former Nashville resident Dickie Betts, who asked Johnny to join his road band, and begin work on Dickie's solo LP for Epic Records. That relationship led to seven cuts on the "Pattern Disruptive" LP including the Top 10 AOR hit, "Rock Bottom." Johnny's stellar keyboard and harp playing on that album caused Gregg Allman to "borrow" Johnny, when available, for his own touring road band.

All of the aforementioned naturally led to Johnny joining the eventually reunited Allman Brothers Band. A massively successful tour followed, culminating in a number one AOR smash hits during the summer of 1990. Car radios all across America blasted "Good Clean Fun", co-written by Johnny with Gregg and Dickie, to the top of the charts, and provided the reunited Allmans with their highest charting single since "Ramblin' Man" fifteen years earlier.

Johnny was also Grammy nominated for his keyboard work as an Allman Brothers Band member on the instrumental cut, 'True Gravity" from the "Seven Turns" LP.

Johnny met Mile 8 ( 2001 through a mutual friend and his band, Chef Dave. Frequently sitting in and jamming with Mile 8 led to a musical friendship that would last for years to come. Curt Redding and Randy Boen ( had plenty of experience backing up Johnny. Russell Wright had stepped in on bass with Mile 8 near its end and developed an immediate connection to Curt and his drumming. When Johnny sprung the idea of this band The Criminal Element was born almost instinctively. These guys were meant to play together. Who knows where this burgeoning experiment will go? "Get on the bus early and ride this thing 'til the wheels fall off!" The band is celebrating the release of Volume 2, their second effort in a year.
review: Johnny Neel & Criminal Element

"Johnny has a smoking new band called The Criminal Element that is really on the cutting edge. They can improvise better than most bands could ever hope to. This new sound has given Johnny’s always tasteful melodies a driving energy of their own. I was given a rare and intimate glimpse inside the creative studio sessions for Johnny Neel and the Criminal Element’s new album. This was quite an eye-opener to see the creative process first hand. Johnny is very meticulous in his vision of the musical soundscape, and his band always responds like seasoned veterans. After listening to hours of live shows chocked full of spontaneous great moments from the last tour, the band found enough melodies and grooves to spawn many great songs. Once the core elements were discussed and in place, the band would just do their thing and inject these jams with more positive spontaneity in the studio. This formula seems to be working well, because not only does the band love it-the world is going to love this music!"

Pete M.


Studio Recordings
* The Criminal Element Volume 1
* The Criminal Element Volume 2
* The Criminal Element Volume 3
Johnny's other studio recordings include :
* X2
* Gov't Mule
* Warren Haynes
* Blue Floyd
* Allman Brothers Band
* Willie Nelson
* Gregg Allman Band
* Dickey Betts Band
* Todd Snider
* Peter Wolf
* Suzy Bogguss
* Janie Fricke
* Mickey Gilley
* David Lynn Jones
* Johnny Van Zant
* Pirates of the Mississippi
* Tiny Town
* Blue Floyd

Band members' previous releases:
*Mile 8
*Whatever Works
*Crazy Things
*Different Agenda
(available @ &

Set List

New tracks from Volume 1 include:
I Can't Believe
What Am I Gonna Do?
Damn Right
Find My Way
Slap It On Ya
Funk Pump

and for Volume 2:
Here Right Now
Thunder and Lightning
Playin On The Tracks
and so on...

Sets for Live shows are always unpredictable, even by the members of the band.