Jon ~ Harmony Vocals ~ Drums/Percussion
Well, where do I begin? I was just seven years old when I started thinking I wanted to play music. One day my brother and I were in the car with our mother when she asked us if we wanted to play music and I said yes just as fast as James did. I decided to play drums and he decided to play guitar, it was that easy. Mitchell was too young to play anything, so he got stuck with the tambourine. Mom and dad bought me a practice pad and a pair of sticks and I was well on my way. A few weeks later they bought me a Star drum set. It barely held together but it was enough to learn on. A year or two later I was learning how to play to records. I remember the first song I ever played to was a song called “Day After Day”. I was learning how to play drums in the marching band at school when I met Greg Holly. I thought he was a god on the drums! Greg took me to the next level and told me “Jon if you stick with it you will be a great drummer.” I began listening to other drummers, learning their beats and really studying what they were doing and realizing just how good they really were. I was in awe of drummers such as Steve Gadd, Alex VanHalen, Neil Peart, and Phil Collins, just to name a few. But the greatest drummer I ever heard was Buddy Rich.
It wasn’t long before my brothers and I were rehearsing in our mom and dad’s house. By this time, Mitchell was playing the bass guitar and was the natural MC of the group. My mother sacrificed the comforts of her living room by removing the furniture so that we could set up our equipment to practice. I remember many nights my dad would stub his toe on my bass drum leg and holler out “Jon! You didn’t move your drum back!” It was kinda like the kid who always leaves their skateboard or tonka truck in the walking path. This was our practice room for several years, but as my drum sets grew larger, the living room grew smaller. Mom and Dad built an addition on to the garage out back and sound proofed it (mainly for the neighbors) so we could have a larger, more private, place to practice. Mom and Dad always did whatever they could, however they could, to enable and encourage us to pursue our dream. Soon we started taking vocal lessons from our chorus teacher in high school. He taught us how to sing three part harmony using gospel songs as a tool to find our range. I became the baritone of our group and I am honored to know that he is one of our biggest fans. My favorite harmony groups have been The Oak Ridge Boys, The Eagles, JD Crowe and The New South, and many others. However, the group that made the biggest impression on me was The Gatlin Brothers. Their sibling harmony was like no other.
My brothers and I started performing churches, dance halls, festivals and anything else we could find – or anybody that would listen. Our first paying gig was $20.00 at a place called The Red Barn. We were rich!! Eventually we started traveling, playing clubs, earning more money, and honing our craft as musicians and singers. Our mother taught us the importance of entertaining the audience. I get such a high performing on stage or in the studio with my brothers. Performing together comes so natural – we seem to know what one another thinks. I can’t explain it better than that.
Although I am passionate about playing music, I also had to make a living. I have worked on a farm and in construction for several years. I was also a lineman for a local television cable company. I was responsible for stringing up the wire, climbing from pole to pole. My dad was a lineman for our local utility company and he taught me how to climb poles. “Keep your hooks sharp, your butt out and your knees straight,” he instructed. Sometime later, I landed a job with an electrician where I learned a new trade; one that would eventually offer me the opportunity to venture out and own my own business. James and I became partners and have run a successful business in conjunction with playing and writing our music.
During my down time, I love to be home with my family. This is a time when I can relax and take time to read some drum magazines or play with my dogs…I have three! I enjoy watching a good action or suspense movie with my wife. And yes, I do have to watch a “chic flic” from time to time as well. I enjoy dining out with family and friends; sometimes I get great song ideas just from the simplest conversations. My wife is my soul mate. She and I met when she was just thirteen and I was fifteen; we have been together ever since. We have two sons which are different as night and day, but they both make me proud and glad to be a dad. I would have to say they are my biggest accomplishment and always will be.
Because of my faith, my family, and my love for music, I will always persevere. This life is not an easy road traveled so I am blessed to have a great support system all around me. I thank God for giving me my family and for blessing me and my brothers with a musical gift.