Johnny No
Gig Seeker Pro

Johnny No

Mobile, Alabama, United States | INDIE

Mobile, Alabama, United States | INDIE
Band Blues Rock


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



"Unsigned Band of the Week"

May18-25 - High Times

"Johnny No"

Mobile-based Johnny No’s new release “The Riviera Sessions, Vol. 1.” is intended as “old school blues” in the vein of Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. But, according to the liner notes, “This album begs to transport the listener to the darker days of blues by riddling their music with tales of murder, adultery, the devil, vengeance, intoxication, heartbreak, betrayal and sex.”

Mod Mobilian interviews The Rev

MM: How did Johnny No get together?

The Rev: This incarnation of Johnny No was formed about a year ago. Al and I had been friends for a few years, and we had always talked about doing a project that concentrated on original blues. Al and Bob have known each other forever and have been in several bands together. Bob had a desire to do original blues as well. P.T. and I had been really close friends for years, and I had wanted to do a project with him. These days, it almost seems like fate has brought us together. We seem to gel so well both musically and socially. It seems as if we are always on the same page with everything.

MM: How was the album made?

The Rev:

Songwriting Process: Al and Bob had a few originals that had worked on previous to P.T. and I entering the band that included “Death Don’t Win” and “All Her Lovin’.” “Death Don’t Win” was written by our former bassist John Nordmann and Bob. P.T. and I just added our element to songs like that. Otherwise, every song was a collaborative effort. Whether it was the lyrics or instrumentation, everyone had a hand in composing the music on this album. We intentionally made many of these songs thematically dark. Blues was once called “the devil’s music.” So, we peppered a lot of these songs with tales of murder, sex and intoxication. We did this without the need for a parental advisory sticker, might I add.

Studio: We wanted this to sound as old school as possible without sacrificing sound quality. So, we looked at several different options when it came to choosing a studio. You know, it seemed like blasphemy that we focus on Muscle Shoals, but the vibe didn’t seem to point us in that direction. We thought about John Prine’s studio The Butcher Shoppe, and we also thought about going DIY with it. Eventually, we came across Delta Recording Services. I was a fan of Jimbo Mathus’ solo work as well as his work with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and he has Grammys for his work with Buddy Guy and the North Mississippi All-Stars. I also noticed that folks like Elvis Costello and The Hives had cut tracks there. So, this place sounded legit from the get-go. Delta also had an arsenal of vintage gear that they strongly encouraged us to use. They seems to have a work philosophy/process there when it comes to that. They’ll let you use your own stuff, but they strongly encourage bands to use their equipment, which we did. Another reason we chose Delta was that it was located in the heart of the Mississippi blues country in Como. Como is the home of Otha Turner and Mississippi Fred McDowell. It’s a tiny little place that’s a ghost town except at night when folks from the surrounding area come to town to eat, drink and listen to a few bands. We just felt that maybe we could tap into some of the same spirits (or demons) that they did.

Recording Process: One of the strongest traits that we have is our live show, and we decided to record it live in the studio. Our engineer Justin Showah had me in a booth with a huge ribbon mic, and the rest of the band was in the main room. Just about everything was tracked in one take with a few exceptions and one or two vocal and guitar overdubs. They acted amazed that we were able to go through the recording process so quickly, but we had been practicing to go into the studio for months. Then, Justin took the tracks and took it through his mix-down process. One curious thing about that is that they acted like they didn’t want us in the studio for any of the mix-down process. It almost seemed as if they had some sort of secret recipe. Maybe they didn’t want us bugging them. Either way, we found the final product to be just what we wanted, and everyone that hears it seems to like it too.

MM: What inspired you all to make the album?The Rev:As far as the band as a whole goes, we hope this album gives us the credibility to get our foot in the door in other towns. We don’t want to limit ourselves to Mobile. We want to spread our music and live show around the region. We also hope that it will perk the ears of festival organizers and promoters around the Southeast. None of this is easy, but having a legitimate album makes it a little easier.

- Mod Mobilian Interview with The Rev.

"Johnny No Shoots for Old School Blues Vibe"

As many a blues band has learned over the years, the vibe that comes so easily in the smoky, sweaty confines of a blues club can easily wither and die in the antiseptic environment of a recording studio.

When things go wrong in the studio, the boozy conviction sours to a bleary hangover grind. The greasiness congeals. The smoke turns to a coating of ash.

The only fitting response is to just say “No.” As in Johnny No, a Mobile-based band that will celebrate the release of its new album, “The Riviera Sessions, Vol. 1,” with a special show Friday, March 25, at T.P. Crockmiers. The band didn’t just avoid the trap — it demolished it.

From the opening salvo of “All Her Lovin’” to the closing notes of “Tall Grass Rag,” the debut disc brims with the funky blues-club vibe that some performers spend their whole career trying to capture. Yet, for all the live feel, it benefits from a clarity often lacking in the albums recorded live in those same venues.

You could chalk it up to beginner’s luck, but the fact is that the quartet enlisted the help of a ringer with some impressive credentials.

The album was recorded at the Delta Recording Services studio in Como, Miss., and produced by studio owner Jimbo Mathus. Grammy winner Mathus first came to national attention as a member of the “hot jazz” throwback group Squirrel Nut Zippers, but since then has amply demonstrated his affinity for rowdy, stripped-down blues, both as a performer and producer.

He turned out to be a good match for Johnny No, which consists of guitarist Al McNab, bassist P.T. Marston, drummer Bob Scroggins and a vocalist who goes by the stage name The Rev.

“We were fans of Jimbo’s work, especially me,” said the Rev. “His studio was in the right place, he was in the heart of blues country, and the studio is filled with vintage equipment. We were wanting to go for an old school, raw, gritty sound, and having a studio with 50-, 60-year old amps and mics, that’s the way to do it.”

The Rev. said Mathus gave the band what it needed, providing moral support rather than micromanagement. He didn’t attempt to alter the band’s sound or vision — but, at the same time, he had a profound impact on the scope of the project.

The Rev. said the quartet went in thinking they’d lay down a dozen songs adding up to about 80 minutes of music. Mathus gently persuaded them to take a “less is more” approach, and “The Riviera Sessions” weighs in at eight songs and just under 40 minutes.

“Working with him was really easy,” the singer said of Mathus. “We flew through the process.”

That’s also true of the bigger picture. The band’s current lineup gelled only about a year ago. But the Rev. said that the four musicians came together from the git-go with the sense that they wanted to produce a serious album that would, in turn, serve as a calling card for more serious touring.

“We really wanted to go for street cred for this,” said the Rev. “We really wanted to do it right.”

The band’s tastes are firmly old-school; although the music may well appeal to younger listeners, it’s not going to turn off any old blues hounds. One might detect just a trace of Duane Allman here and there, but other than that, Johnny No’s influences seem to be hard-core Mississippi and Chicago blues.

Now the band brings the album back to the clubs where it honed its sound. In addition to Crockmiers, friendly venues have included Moe’s in Daphne and The Shed and the Blues Tavern in Mobile.

“I don’t think that we could be a blues band with original material in Mobile and not be able to go play the Blues Tavern,” said the Rev. “That place is kind of an institution.”

The album is available now through iTunes, and, with other distribution channels in the works.

The plan for Friday night’s release party is straightforward: Starting at about 8:30 p.m., the band will play a set of covers, standards and crowd-pleasers.

“That’s going to be a warmup for the second set,” said The Rev. “The second set is going to be nothing but all originals. We’ll be playing everything off the album, stuff that didn’t make it on the album, including a song we just wrote about two weeks ago. They’re going to get plenty of Johnny No.”

The group’s next ambition is to spread its touring range, to start hitting motorcycle rallies and blues festivals.

“One of the many things that bonds us is that we want to quit our day jobs,” said the Rev. “That’s the whole goal. We know that that may be possible, that may not be possible. But we’re going to give it the good fighting chance.”

“We’re pioneering something we call the Port City ne’er-do-well blues. We want to be Mobile’s blues,” he said. “We try to throw a little bit of Mobile in the songs. I feel like sometimes we’re doing it for the city.”

- Mobile Press Register


TITLE: The Riviera Sessions, Vol. 1

YEAR: 2011

PRODUCER: Jimbo Mathus


Recorded, mixed and mastered at Delta Recording Service, Como, Ms.



Over the years, blues has become a foundation for a variety of musical genres. It is this ideology that has brought together the members of one of the blues scene’s most promising up and comers. Johnny No is proving that the various faces of blues can provide an aural common ground that transcends genres and generations in order to create music that appeals to all. Johnny No has been spending a majority of its existence appeasing the masses crowded into the various watering holes lining the Gulf Coast.
One must look first to Johnny No’s line-up in order to understand their unique blues sound and philosophy. Guitarist Al McNab and drummer Bob Scroggins were shaped by Southern Rock pioneers such as the Allman Brothers in the 70s. They spent a good portion of their career rocking glam metal in the 80s. This exposure and experience has shaped McNab’s untouchable guitar skills and Scroggins unbreakable rhythms. Bassist P.T. Marston is a jam disciple with a vast array of eclectic sensibilities, which he throws freely into the mix. “The Rev.” rounds out this five-piece blues powerhouse with vocals full of fire and fury pulled from his time in underground rock. Despite their diverse musical backgrounds, they have found a bond in the blues.
Johnny No is currently promoting their debut release “The Riviera Sessions, Vol. 1.” Johnny No’s goal was to create an old school vibe in the same vein as Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. The band journeyed to Como, Ms. (home of Otha Turner and Mississippi Fred McDowell) to lay down tracks with Grammy Award winning producer Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Buddy Guy) and engineer Justin Showah at Delta Recording Services. This facility prides itself on providing a recording environment filled with vintage equipment. Delta Recording Services has attracted a variety of musicians from Elvis Costello to The Hives. Mathus and Showah captured the live essence of Johnny No in this ideal aural environment to produce eight tracks of raw, gritty blues.
From raucous juke riffs such as “Gimme Some” to mesmerizing, traditional blues numbers such as “So Hard” to the hard-driving “So Unkind (P.T. Blues),” Johnny No have tried to cover as many styles of blues as possible with The Riviera Session, Vol. 1. This album begs to transport the listener to the darker days of blues by riddling their music with tales of murder, adultery, the devil, vengeance, intoxication, heartbreak, betrayal and sex. With their debut in hand, Johnny No will be working overtime to spread their sounds to the four winds and bring their intense live show to every corner of the world.