Well, where has 2016 gone! Long time, no update! Are websites even a thing anymore, with social media and all? Anyhow, it’s been crazy since I updated in late January with news of the re-release of my single, Run Away, featuring Nicole Laurenne of The Love Me Nots. The track is still doing really well and if you haven’t downloaded yet, please do so now!!!
In February, to celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite guitarist, Poison Ivy of The Cramps, I released a cover of their song, I’m Customized from their 1987 record, Flamejob; my favorite Cramps album and an absolute necessity for any party. The tribute features Nick Torri on guitar and yours truly on vocals, bass and drums. Dig it.
Continuing on the music front, after taking many motorcycle camping trips sans guitar, I got with luthier Greg Reszel of Distressed Guitar in Indiana and he cranked out the Gretsch Johnny Zapp Custom parlor guitar to accompany me on said trips. The guitar is outfitted with a K&K pickup, a bone nut and saddle and a custom, one-of-a-kind distressed finish, featuring a pinup girl playing card – hand selected by me – inlaid on the lower bough. The axe straps to my back comfortably for long hauls and is both a great conversation piece and performer both at the campsite, and the gig. Check out my column for Jafrum Motorcycle Blog, Unplugged and in the Wind, on a recent Southwest acoustic tour my buddy Bernie and I did on our motorcycles.
In August, I was invited to participate in the Tucson Songwriters Showcase, performing four JohnnyZapp original numbers. It may sound weird to say, but I had to learn songs that I wrote! Typically, I write a song, record it and that’s it. Being as that I rarely perform live, I never play these songs after they are recorded. So not only did I have to learn them, I had to put one part, solo acoustic arrangements on them. That night, I grabbed my Gibson Hummingbird and performed solo acoustic versions of my singles, Alone Again, Poor Pitiful You, Dirty Good Time and Run Away. It’s a pretty vulnerable feeling being on a stage with nothing but a guitar and a mic, with all eyes and ears on you! It was a great time and I hope to do it again. Learning and performing my songs that way was a great experience for me and I’d like to make it a habit. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, and that’s where the magic happens.
I am also very pleased and honored to announce my recent endorsement deal with Curt Mangan Strings, and the release of the Curt Mangan Johnny Zapp Signature Acoustic Guitar Strings. Since 2004, string maker, Curt Mangan, has been churning out strings in Cortez, Colorado using nothing but the finest American made wire and his own proprietary methods. All of my acoustics, archtops and mandolins are now outfitted with Curt Mangan Strings – and yours should be too.
Vintage Guitar Magazine has also been keeping me busy this year with columns on my pal, Mark Dutton aka: Muddy, formerly of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, legends Jay Geils of the J. Geils Band, Nils Lofgren of Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Derek St. Holmes of Ted Nugent’s original band, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, Craig Ross of Lenny Kravitz’s band and Michael Johnny Walker of The Love Me Nots. Subscribe now and keep your eyes peeled for my forthcoming columns on Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and Ryan McKay of Louis Prima, Jr. and the Witnesses, plus Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Aaron Eisenberg of the Soft White Sixties and many more. It’s truly a pleasure and honor to be writing for such a great magazine! Building friendships that will last a lifetime, while earning a living. Thanks Vintage Guitar!
I’ve also started writing a regular relationship advice column for a new, international women’s lifestyle print magazine called, FabUplus. This is a fantastic read published quarterly, with two issues under their belt right now – the Fall issue hit newsstands in the US and Canada September 1st. You can grab copies at Barnes and Noble, order online and subscribe here. This magazine is a lot of fun to write for.
And finally, I’m currently in the midst of working on some new music. Basic tracks for a few new tunes are in the can and now that I am done travelling for a bit, it’s time to pick up the momentum again and get ’em done! Please check back here frequently as I am planning on being better about updates.
xo – Johnny