With a strong passion for music and a keen desire for rock stardom Johnny Whiteside took up the drums at age nine and by the time he turned twelve he formed his first pop/punk cover band called Axiom with his stepbrother and two middle-school friends. The band performed various shows in Johnny’s hometown of Vero Beach, Florida but soon realized they can only go so far performing cover tunes. So in an effort to help Axiom write original material Johnny picked up a guitar and started writing songs. Due to various circumstances Axiom broke up a year later but, unwilling to give up his life-long dream, Johnny quickly rebounded with the formation of Allegiance who, as Johnny describes, were “a dark underground punk band with strong political views.”
Throughout Johnny’s high school years he jammed with several different bands and continued to not only develop his guitar playing but also made it a point to learn how to play other instruments including bass and keyboards while also refining his vocal skills and honing in on his songwriting ability. But after years of performing with bands in the southern Florida region Johnny had an increasingly difficult time finding musicians that shared his passion so in 2005 Johnny made the decision to go solo. Johnny remembers, “I got a lot of shit from other musicians in the area who were telling me, ‘you’re crazy, rock musicians don’t go solo…only country and pop musicians go solo.’” But this didn’t faze Johnny in the least as he continued to write and record his own music and at age seventeen Johnny churned out his first EP entitled The Death Of Common Since. On that EP Johnny performed all the instruments and handled all the production duties himself. He later acknowledged, “It’s a lot of work doing everything yourself but I really enjoy having that freedom as a musician.”
As far as influences, Johnny’s passion for music runs deep and his inspiration is derived from a vast range of musical styles. “I grew up listening to a lot of thrash metal like Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. There’s a huge underground metal and punk scene in Florida which I really dig but I also have a strong desire for good mainstream rock and I felt it was important to develop my own style as a songwriter so I made it point to expand my musical horizon” Johnny confesses. Growing up in the south obviously had an affect on Johnny’s songwriting style and Johnny is not shy to admit it, stating “my dad listened to a lot of country music and my mom listened to mostly mainstream rock/pop when I was growing up so I was exposed to a variety of music at a young age. But it was Southern-rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revival that really made a long-lasting impression on me.”
When it comes to writing lyrics Johnny makes an effort to display the same amount of diversity and integrity as he does with his music. This is expressed in Johnny’s second solo release, simply titled The Johnny Whiteside EP, where Johnny once again performs all instruments and handles the production duties. “When I was younger I was so used to writing about hate and anger but now that I’m a bit older I feel more comfortable to express my inner emotions in my songwriting and touch on topics about love and relationships” Johnny confesses. This is clearly exemplified in the song “1994” which reveals the mixed emotions Johnny experienced during his parents’ bitter divorce and how it affected his life. Other songs such as “Shame, Shame, Shame” are more light-hearted telling the story of a married man chasing a younger woman whereas the song “Breath” showcases an ambient sound with an upbeat dance feel.
In 2007 Johnny moved to Los Angeles and began working in a recording studio in Santa Monica. Johnny continues to write and record all his own material as a solo artist but he realized the need to perform live so he hooked up with drummer Brian Lupo and started gigging in the LA area handling the guitar and vocal duties himself with Brian on drums and various musicians on bass. Johnny reveals, “I recently started writing music together with Brian and it’s been working out great. He inspires me so much and is constantly pushing me to record new songs and to book shows. He has been like both a mentor and an older brother to me.”
In late 2009 Johnny released his most recent EP entitled Anthem of Pain that’s comprised of the three tracks “Superman,” “Crazy” and the title track that features an absolutely stellar riff. These three new songs clearly validate Johnny Whiteside as a first-rate songwriter and musician. Both Johnny’s Anthem of Pain EP and The Johnny Whiteside EP are currently available through iTunes. Johnny’s philosophy is plain and simple stating; “my main goal is to tour and further my fan-base and to get my music in as many peoples hands as possible.” It simply doesn’t get more honest or noble than Johnny Whiteside