The Yardbirds gave us Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page—and they’re still delivering godly guitar playing with Johnny A in the lead role these days. The Boston Music Hall of Famer known for playing brilliant chord-melody instrumentals such as “Oh Yeah” on his signature Gibson hollowbody cops a completely different trip with the Yardbirds, donning a Les Paul Jr. to rip into classics such as “Heart Full of Soul,” “Shapes of Things,” and “For Your Love,” with teenaged enthusiasm.
“My two favorite bands growing up were the Beatles and the Yardbirds,” says Johnny. “I probably wouldn’t be the guitar player I am if it wasn’t for the Yardbirds’ ‘Over Under Sideways Down.’ That band was hugely inspirational and influential for me when I was a kid.”
The Yardbirds—which currently includes, in addition to Johnny, founding member Jim McCarty on drums, bassist Kenny Aaronson, harp player Myke Scavone, and vocalist/guitarist John Idan—first came into Johnny’s orbit when they shared the same label, Steve Vai’s Favored Nations. In 2004, they asked Johnny to sit in when they toured Boston, and his appearances soon became a regular thing whenever he was in the same city as the ’birds. Ultimately, personnel comings and goings and schedules worked out for the group’s 2015 tour, and Johnny A stepped into the active musical history of a band that’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’re not simply churning up the past, however, as Johnny reports.
“This band seems to have its own life,” says Johnny. “We’re heading into the studio with legendary producer Jack Douglas this fall, and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
We’re looking forward to a pair of shows at Yoshi’s in Oakland’s Jack London Square—one show each night at 8pm on Tuesday, May 30, and Wednesday, May 31. GP will be onsite Wednesday with free magazines, D’Addario strings, Planet Waves accessories, and a Mesa/Boogie pedal raffle. Get your tickets now here.
Read Michael Molenda’s 2015 interview with Johnny A about joining the Yardbirds here.
Watch Johnny A play “Over Under Sideways Down” with the Yardbirds here.
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see GP Presents The Yardbirds click here and put “Yardbirds” in the subject of your email. Include a sentence about yourself and why you want to go. Phone contact greatly appreciated for confirmation. Winner must provide own transportation to Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, and have his or her own accommodations in the Bay Area on Wednesday, May 31. Best of luck. Again, that email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
GP Presents The Yardbirds
Wednesday, May 31
510 Embarcadero West
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607
7:30pm doors / 8pm show, All Ages
Free Guitar Player magazines, D’Addario strings, Planet Waves accessories, and a Mesa Boogie pedal raffle onsite.