The Johns
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The Johns

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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(Intro found on front page of Website):

The Johns are finally here. A new EP from Jon & The Johns combines great acoustic riffs, along with melodic and incredible lyrics. With songs like "Comfortable" The Johns have come up with a unique style that will make you sing along all the way throught the cd. Great production, presentation, along with well known live shows, this cd is one to own whether you enjoy local music or not. You will enjoy this one.

+ + + + + (I-Rock 5 plus)

(Full Feature found on the dedicated "Reviews" page)

This six song, self-titled EP is the latest release from Chicago based indie rock group The Johns. Upon listening to this album, several stylistic trends become immediately apparent. For starters, throughout this album The Johns place an emphasis on melody, harmony and musical textures, and rely on these elements to create interest, rather than just grooves or rhythm. This is apparent throughout the album, as each track contains well-crafted melodies, beautiful vocal harmonies, and intricate musical textures created by interwoven vocal and instrumental lines. As a result, a very mellow, relaxed mood pervades most of this album, making it a great listen on a rainy day. This is not to say, that the album is lacking in energy or emotion, however, as lead vocalist Jon Scarpelli carries the day with his passionate singing and his folk-like, story teller lyrics.

The majority of the songs on this album are of the electronic/alternative persuasion, bringing to mind bands such as Garbage, The Cure, or some of the later albums of The Smashing Pumpkins. Specifically, the majority of these tracks are chock full of FX, samples, and overall great production values, while still remaining guitar driven rock songs at their core. This fusion of rock and electronic music is especially apparent in the drums, as the Johns make use of both acoustic and electronic drums, often utilizing both on the same track.

In addition to electronic rock, this album also contains a very strong folk rock influence. For example, the first track on this album, entitled "Comfortable" is a very live feeling acoustic jam that could’ve been written by Bob Dylan himself. While the decision to make "Comfortable" the first track on the album seemed an odd choice (Since it set up the expectation of a live acoustic album), its inclusion served the dual purpose of demonstrating their diversity as song writers, as well as proving that they are not just a "studio band," but are more than capable of rocking the house in a live setting. This folk influence can also be heard on track 6, entitled "Worn" which has a distinctive southern rock flavor (though it lacks the live feel of "Comfortable" and was definitely produced in a studio).

With a diverse collection of well-composed music and excellent production values, the self-titled EP from The Johns is definitely worth a listen. You can check them out at, or of course, right here on I-Rock Radio.

Reviewed by Rod Ciombor
Featured on Website Front Page (Jan. 07)
- I-Rock-Radio (

""Foresight/Poorsight" CD Review"

<A HREF="">This review of The Johns April 2008 Release "Foresight/Poorsight" can found on the web HERE</a>

The review appears in Dutch... a very, very rough translation is as follows:

The Johns is a new group from Chicago that was built around
singer-guitarist Jon Scarpelli who still early in his musical career
in various styles has been active. So he spent several years in the
jazz, he played in a jamband and he cried some time Hees in a heavy
metalgroep who called Vessel. As a child he learned to play piano and
so he began even fairly new to compose their own songs, which he now
very useful in this new group which includes his brother Matt
Scarpelli and two old friends Mark Carlson (drums) and Tim Smyth (on
bass) have been given a place. With the group they want to indicate
that they prefer the anonymity of all in full would like to continue
working. Last year showed she first heard of themselves with "The
Johns EP" and now there is a first full CD.

The music on this debut for The Johns foresight / poorsight "
you can call alternative rock. In some songs like "Defeatist", "Bear Hugs"
and "Green Collar" seems even a Kooks song or a
Coldplay-hitje to that planet. Both songs have also inherited a swinging tune.
The remainder are the rather melodic ballads on this album.
"Love In A Dangerous Place" would you on a plate of Jeff Buckley can expect.
Other songs like "Compass Rose", "A Snake And Rose" and
"Wake Me Up" float on piano and melancholic sung
texts on personal life experiences. "Can not Carry No More" is the
exception which must confirm the rule: a classic swinging and rocking
niemendalletje but very funny and a welcome change among the many
songs about misery, grief and sadness. "Translations" begins very
quiet and is a genuine Coldplay-style developed into an epic rocksong
as we also sometimes offered by a band like My Morning Jacket. The
closing song "You Are Still Coming" begins with the sound of a train
voorbijsporende and has been sadness at the top.

Yet there is something that makes us suspect that these Johns with their debut
album immediately on the right track towards honour and glory. Wait
and see what the successor brings: confirmation or reason to forget.
"Foresight / poorsight" is already very cool.

"Southside on the Town reviews THE JOHNS LIVE at The Store 7-26-08"

”…give yourself a round (of applause) because you’re here…” The Johns

Hey, Fearless fans… The Store’s becoming a popular venue among local artists such as Jah Roots to perform live music… For more information about The Store, visit or

…Opening with a Neil Young classic (“After the Goldrush”), The Johns [followup] brought the crowd to life with a rockin’ rockabilly song (“One after 909” by the Beatles). This really fueled the crowd’s momentum getting them to dance the night away. This was an extra special performance by the band which combined covers and their originals into a 2 hour set. The Johns covered songs from a wide spectrum of genres from classic rock to pop including songs by The Beatles and The Band. SouthSide liked their take on The Coasters’ Poison Ivy which had many in the front dancing and singing along with them… [and] the band having a blast on stage while performing. Everyone in this small room was having a great time. What impressed this reviewer the most about them performing covers, they kept the integrity of the original composition. There was no skimping out on the music and lyrics though they did add a few twists to their versions. Besides covering another Neil Young song, Love Is A Rose, their best cover song of the night was Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over. This song had the entire room singing along...
Though enjoying their fun spin on the classic covers, SouthSide enjoyed hearing their own compositions better. This reviewer noticed some of their originals were mostly country ballads that took the lively momentum down a notch at times. That doesn’t mean the music dulled to a sleepy lull, Fearless fans, on the contrary, the energetic vibes felt during their covers was still there in their originals but at a slower tempo. The Johns’ new song, Let On, was alive with music and highly energized rhythms from beginning to end.. She also liked The Johns’ usage of an acoustic rock sound for their other ballads like “A Snake and Rose”. During others, a harmonica was used to give it that touch of acoustic/bluegrass rhythms especially in the instrumental. There was a moment when The Johns did lose that momentum with the audience. It was nicely recovered when the audience helped sing “Can’t carry no more” during the chorus.
However it wasn’t merely the music that impressed this reviewer. SouthSide enjoyed hearing the natural harmonies off the three guitarists. You could feel the emotions expressed within the lyrics off the vocals as well as in the music. For example, while performing Compass Rose, she marveled how they harmonized perfectly together as one voice. In her opinion, it was the best she has ever heard by any band reviewed. Another good example of their amazing vocals would be Love In a Dangerous Place... Performing other songs like, Green Collar and Comfortable, The Johns performed one heck of a show for their fans. Since everyone was having so much fun, it didn’t feel like two hour set at all! SouthSide highly recommends seeing The Johns not only for their cover songs but for their harmonizing originals. The guys are full of energy, spirit and ready to party with their fans. For more information about The Johns, visit or
Until next time, Fearless fans, support your local indie artists and music.
- Fearless Radio

"10-31-07 The Johns Featured on Fearless Radio"

Happy Halloween!

The Daytime Debauchery show on is featuring us today, Oct 31st, 2007.

thanks to DJ Dan McGuiness.
- Fearless

"3/28/08 The Johns Troll for Something Personal"

The Johns' singer/guitarist Jon Scarpelli is something of a musical Zelig, having tackled virtually every style of music imaginable—be it jazz, jam band noodling or even heavy metal—since his parents first made him play piano as a child.

"When I was 10 years old I played drums in a metal band," says the singer. "Our name was idiotic [Antecedent], but our logo was pretty cool. It was dripping with blood."

But Scarpelli, whose grandmother purchased that first drum kit from a church garage sale, never felt comfortable with metal's angst ("We grew up in the suburbs; we were harmless"). Still, the band afforded Scarpelli the opportunity to write some of his earliest songs—a challenge for the frontman, who admits that, until his late teens, "I didn't think I had anything to say."

Now that the Johns are about to celebrate the release of their first full-length, "foresight/poorsight," with a concert at Schubas on Monday, Scarpelli is no longer at a loss for words. The Orland Park native talks candidly about wanting to relate to his audience, and "foresight" finds the singer at his most personal. The introspective "Love in a Dangerous Place"—reminiscent of one of Jeff Buckley's soul-baring ballads—is a harrowing breakup anthem. The shuffling "Green Collar" begins as an everyman decree ("I go to work. ... I'm not lonely") before evolving into a meditation on the detachment of modern life.

That's not to say the band is humorless, far from it. At one of the group's early shows at the Store, Scarpelli handed out lyric sheets to the entire bar, turning one tune into a rollicking sing-a-long. The Johns are also aided by the innate chemistry among its band members; Scarpelli is joined by his brother, Mat Scarpelli, and a pair of longtime friends: Mark Carlson (drums) and Tim Smyth (bass). Smyth played alongside the frontman in Antecedent.

Prior to forming the Johns, the musicians played together in Vessel, a hard rock band that Scarpelli describes somewhat vaguely as "an immediate reaction to the hard times in our lives."

"We wanted to make it so you couldn't ignore [the music]," he continues. "We would just scream at people."

The recording sessions for "foresight/poorsight," which started in August at Joyride Studios before concluding in Scarpelli's Logan Square house in recent months, were far more reserved.

"I had a sense I wanted to be in touch with a sadder thing," says Scarpelli. "I guess that's what happens with life. This other side of you develops."


article can be found online at:,0,6746004.story
- The Chicago Tribune (Local Sounds)

"The Johns and The Boston Red Sox"

After being asked to perform at The Jimmy Fund cancer research foundation's annual fundraiser in conjunction with The boston Red Sox, the Johns were invited to perform at the 2007 Rally Monday playoff celebration in Boston Mass. for thousands of rabid Red Sox fans.

The event took place on October 2nd at Town Hall plaza in the center of Boston's financial district. Along with appearances by numerous Red Sox players and front office personnel, The Johns shared the stage with Peter Tork of The Monkees, Peter Cowsil, The Standell's and The Drop Kick Murphy's for the celebration.

The performances were broadcast live and replayed later that night on the New England Sports Network. - Skeyelab inc.

"Review of The Johns "Foresight/Poorsight""

This band revolves around singer / guitarist Jon Scarpelli. Together with his brother Matt and 2 comrades, he at The Johns. Their first release was the LP "The Johns EP in 2007. At the end of 2008 published their first full album 'Foresight / poor sight.
The sound of this group from the Windy City can be described as alternative rock. Despite that they and top American, they clearly British bands like Coldplay and Radiohead young listened.
Occasionally, they leave the britpop sound. "Can not carry no more 'is a real western most just that the live audience will sing along. But the bulk of the 11 songs are melancholic ballads. In 'Love in a dangerous place ", the vocal strengths of Jon upwards. In the low registers as it sounds Thom Yorke and he is in high echelons in the vicinity of Jeff Buckley.
Perhaps for some the whole sounds gloomy, but for me The Johns were a pleasant acquaintance.
Live shows, this band covers Neil Young and Beatles songs along with their own work. Hopefully the band leaves the covers behind. With 'Foresight / poor sight " they are already on the right track.

original found at: -

"The Johns - Foresight/Poorsight"

The John's hail from Chicago, brandishing their style of honest, mid-western Rock N Roll like a sigul. The Johns have barnstormed the Mid-West, making friends and fans at each stop along the way, and even entertained a crowd in Boston's Town Hall in the past year. Everywhere you look these days you see things in contraction, but not The Johns. Their dream in creation just continues to grow. Their latest release, Foresight/Poorsight furthers that dream in wonderful and melodic ways.

Yes, they sound like early U2. The Johns, more than any band I've heard, have captured that blend of melody, grand harmonies and grander themes that made U2 such a success. Lead vocalist Jon Scarpelli even manages to sound a bit like Bono at times. Foresight/Poorsight opens with Sun For Days. Sun For Days is built on a simple melody and even simpler arrangement. Trim harmonies and workman-like guitar work making for a stark and lovely song, steeped in that melodic bigness U2 was known for in the 1980s. Defeatist sticks to a similar style, with sublime vocals and a sort of minimalist quasi-minimalist instrumental approach. If you want to hear angelic harmonies check our Love In A Dangerous Place. The song is a highly melodic ode to death and love and how one doesn't necessarily overcome the other.

The Johns change pace with the country-flavored Compass Rose. The wailing, ethereal pedal steel is almost dreamlike before the song returns to the pop/rock form The Johns are adept at. Wake Me Up is a darkly sweet waltz hiding in a ballad obsessed with mortality. The song is beautiful. Can't Carry No More is good old-fashioned honky-tonk country full of wit and not just a little spirit and is probably the feel-good standout of the album. Other highlights include Green Collar and Are You Still Coming?

It's hard to say the Johns are entirely unique, but they certainly have the market cornered on melodic pop. There is no one quite likely them in the music scene right now. The U2 comparisons are going to be made, and they aren't entirely unfounded, but The Johns make the sound all their own. This is one incredibly talented group. Foresight/Poorsight may just call for the crown of kings of melodic pop to be change hands again.

found 1/28/09 at: - Wildy's World (

""Foresight/Poorsight" Review"

July 08
Originally in Flemmish, roughly translated...

The Johns is a new group from Chicago built around
singer-guitarist Jon Scarpelli who, though still early in his musical career,
has touched various styles of music. He spent several years in
jazz, a jamband and he dpent time scraming in a band called Vessel. As a child he learned to play piano and
began composing songs very early, which has proved useful in his present group
which includes his brother Matt Scarpelli and two old friends Mark Carlson (drums) and Tim Smyth (on
bass). Though the band name attempt to represent a sort of anonymity the group is intent to continue working. Last year is when The Johns first made themselves heard with "The
Johns EP" and now there is a first full CD.

The music on The Johns full-length debut, “foresight / poorsight ",
you could call alternative rock. Some songs, like "Defeatist", "Bear Hugs"
and "Green Collar" seem like they might be Kooks songs or in the
a similar vein as Coldplay. The rest of the songs on “Foresight/Poorsight” are the rather melodic ballads.
"Love In A Dangerous Place" sounds like something you might expect from Jeff Buckley and other songs like "Compass Rose", "A Snake And Rose" and "Wake Me Up" float on piano and melancholic lyrics about personal life experiences. "Can not Carry No More" is the exception which makes the rule: a classic swinging and rocking country lament, but very funny and a welcome change among the many
songs about misery, grief and sadness. "Translations" begins very
quiet and in a genuine Coldplay-style developing into an epic rock song sometimes offered by a band like My Morning Jacket.

There is something that makes us suspect that The Johns, with their debut album “Foresight/Poorsight”, are immediately on the right track towards honour and glory. Wait
and see what the successor brings: confirmation or reason to forget.
"Foresight / Poorsight" is already very cool. -


Foresight/Poorsight - Full Length released 3.31.2008
The Johns EP - 2006
The Johns - "Moontime (demos)" 2005

Previous releases and side projects;
Push - A naive Push to Escapism 2006
Vessel - "Roll Over EP" 2005 (song "Standoffish" made college radio nationwide)
Vessel - "Living Lavishly in the Public Eye" 2004
Husky Toughskins - Self Titled 2000



It seems it doesn't take much to be considered an "indie band" these days. And that's where The Johns would disagree.
Hailing from Chicago's hallowed streets, The Johns are the truest voice in modern rock for audiences to trust, leaving everyone who sees their show bobbing heads and tapping toes, wondering when and where they can be seen again. Four lifelong friends, they deliberate, bicker, conspire and compose music with more power and insight born of the Midwest in years... and they do it knowing full well that, while the industry suffers and stumbles to find its new way, their audience continues to grow.
Embracing the Internet and new media is not unique to The Johns, but it is their candor, wit and genuine love of what they do that distinguishes them from the pack. Having conquered Chicago with the release of their widely-received new album, Foresight/Poorsight, their reach continues to expand throughout the Midwest and across the nation at large. Last year, The Johns ripped through a set in Boston's Town hall Plaza in front of thousands, leaving Beantown with that same question that seems to pop up everywhere they play: when and where next?
With an ecumenical sound that tips hats to Buckley, Wilco, Nilsson and Young, The Johns are not making music for followers, but for fans. All the while, they adapt and twist their shape to remain relevant and aggressive. Hailed by critics and adored by fans, The Johns present a package of songs that lay the cards out on the table and push the chips to their winning hand. With a long road behind them and a longer one ahead, The Johns ask one simple and definitive question: Are you still coming?

The answer is most certainly and unanimously, yes.