The young native of Louisiana was discovered by Rick Derringer at the age of 18. Johnson played guitar, wrote and sang on four Derringer records for CBS. He then reformed his own trio Axis, produced by Andy Johns and landed a contract with RCA. Rod Stewart heard Danny and made him and offer to write, record and tour with him. Johnson accepted and wrote, played, toured on the “Tonight I’m Yours” record and tour which spawned the hit, “Young Turks”. At the same time Danny also did records for Phil Seymour and Alice Cooper.
Eddie Van Halen was once quoted in Guitar Player Magazine as saying, “One of my favorite guitarists is Danny Johnson”. Van Halen backed this statement up by asking Danny to play for a band he was recording. The band Private Life, completed two albums, produced by Van Halen and Ted Templeman for Warner Brothers and did two tour major tours including opening for Van Halen.
Once again the phone rang and Danny was faced with one of his biggest challenges, being asked to fill the shoes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai as the guitarist in Alcatrazz with one of rocks great voices, Graham Bonnet. He wrote, recorded and toured with Alcatrazz on the Dangerous Games album and tour, including writing the title cut. He would later reunite with Graham Bonnet when he wrote material, played guitar, sang, and produced Graham Bonnet’s solo CD, “Under Ground”.
Johnson always returned home to Louisiana to work on his own sound, where he has a substantial following. He was tracked down by producer Bill Wray and Zachary Richard to replace Stan Ridgeway as the guitarist on the “Snake Bite Love” tour for Zachary’s A&M release.
After accepting an offer to tour and record with Steppenwolf, Johnson moved to Nashville, then to Austin. He is currently touring heavily World-Wide with Steppenwolf and is on the most recent Steppenwolf CD, “Feed The Fire”, the new solo John Kay CD, Heretics and Privateers, and released a solo CD, “Over Cloud Nine”. Finally feeling the call to return to his roots of Louisiana, bluesy, electrifying, rock n roll, Johnson’s newest solo CD, “Love Sweat and Blood”, will be sure to captivate you. Filled with the guitar riffs he is noted for across the world, chalked full of songs from the soul of a real rock n’ roller, and sang with a conviction only the voice of experience could have, this album will be sure and mark Johnson as the true raw talent that Rick Derringer and so many saw in that young 18 year old.
Since Danny Johnson’s earliest album, Danny Johnson and The Bandits, to Grih Grih Thing, to Over Cloud 9, and his latest work Love Sweat and Blood, his timeless Sound continues to intoxicate an International body of followers. A new horizon blazes ahead as Danny continues to premier his sound carved from innovative talent laced with experience from many great artists. A metamorphosis of Danny’s spiritual and emotional triumphs and trials have given birth to “Over Cloud Nine” and now to his latest work “Love Sweat and Blood“. The lyrics deliver a haunting message while incredible guitar work, mystical harmonies and mesmerizing percussion captivate the listener. Michael Wilk’s (Steppenwolf) keyboards bond with Danny’s guitar in compelling mastery. Rick Derringer reunites with Danny for the first time in 25 years on “House of the Rising Sun” to once again harmonize in an electric bliss. Richard Young from the Kentucky Headhunters, Carmine Appice, Leo Lyons of Ten Years After, and former band mate Jay Davis of Axis and Rod Stewart, all appear in various cuts on the album to enhance the final work. “Over Cloud Nine” is currently available at dannyjohsondj.com.
Considered one of the best guitar players in the world. Danny has lent his talents as a guitar player, singer and songwriter, either in the studio, on stage or both to Rick Derringer, Alice Cooper, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Zackary Richard, Alacatrazz, (Replaced Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai), Steppenwolf, Carmine Appice and Dwight Twilley. He wrote and played on five songs for the multi-platinum selling “Wayne’s World”, has songs in “Gremlins I and II, Fade To Black and The Nolan Ryan Story. He has a total of 20 albums and 8 films to his credits. Danny has three solo releases, “Grih Grih Thing“, “Over Cloud Nine“, and his latest “Love Sweat and Blood“.
Danny Johnson has toured with Rod Stewart, Rick Derringer, Van Halen and recorded with artists Alice Cooper, drummer Carmine Appice and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks among others. He has also written songs for, and played guitar on several movie soundtracks, among them Gremlins II and the smash hit Wayne’s World. His unique combination of blues, rock and roots (which he has termed ‘psychedelic swamp rock’) has garnered praise from such established publications as Rolling Stone and Guitar World. His current solo effort “Over Cloud Nine” showcases Danny’s vocal talents as well as his instrumental prowess, and delves even deeper into his Louisiana roots. For a complete discography, check out this section of the website.
Axis was a power trio made up of Danny Johnson (guitar/vocals), Jay Davis (bass, vocals), and Vinny Apice (drums) that made only one album, “It’s A Circus World“, in 1978. Axis was a legendary band with Shreveport, Louisiana as its home base with local guitar hero, Danny Johnson, the drummer’s drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Jay Davis.
Axis members, Vinny Appice and Danny Johnson later joined forces in NY with Rick Derringer in the 70′s as the band DERRINGER. After leaving DERRINGER, Danny and Vinny reunited with Jay Davis and put AXIS back together to record “It’s A Circus World” for RCA. The ageless rock anthems of ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Bandits of Rock’ foreshadow the incredible marks that these individuals went on to make on the history of Rock N Roll. In 2008 the original Derringer band reunited for a tour and hopefully more great rock and roll hoochie coo! Do you want to go to Heaven? Do it – rock n’ roll style with Axis!
Guitar World Magazine:
“His roots lie in the Blues, Chuck Berry, B.B.King, Jimi Hendrix, His Style combines the soulful qualities of those types of players, with the ardor and fire of more contemporary musicians.”
Rolling Stone Magazine:
“The band’s real find is Danny Johnson, who has stretched Hendrix and Clapton style riffs into a style of his own.”
“Wrapped up in a skinny frame with a Les Paul that looks out at the audience and says “Hi, I’m gonna rip your ears off before the night it over.”
“Danny looks like a cross between Jimmy Page and Keith Richards, and plays like a cross between Hendrix and Clapton, all without copying anybody. Danny has something very few players have, that outrageousness that makes a great live guitarist. Danny understands that all is fair in love, war, and rock n roll. He’s absolutely shameless.”