Danny Johnson – Early On

Blade asks Danny Johnson, “How did you arrive to where you are today in your career?”

Boy! Heh, I hope I’m not getting graded cause I don’t know how to answer that, cause its too many, its so many steps. Its like, Blade, its like Aerosmith when someone said to Joe Perry, or was it Fleetwood Mac, when they were having their major successes, “Wow, you guys are doing really great, you’re so big, and you must feel great.” And, he said, “We’ve seen every step of the way.” In other words, that question has happened in increments.

If you’re asking when my lucky break was, I would say it was when Rick Derringer came down and I had this band Axis, which was Jay Davis who went on to Rod Stewart for seven years, and Vinny Appice who went on to Black Sabbath. In other words, three out of three guys in the band had pretty successful careers in the music business. So, Rick Derringer was looking for a drummer and we had just signed on Vinny Appice. Now, we didn’t have a record deal going on or anything, we were in Shreveport, Louisiana, and we did gigs on the weekend and whenever we could. And so, when Rick Derringer had his success with his solo record, it was kind of a chart buster and he was looking to put a band together. He heard Vinny play, and you know, Vinney’s an incredible drummer, and John Lennon had just used Vinney on some stuff with a John Lennon and Yoko Ono thing. Vinney had disappeared from New York City, so when Rick went looking for him, he found him down at my house. And so, basically, I answered the phone, “Hello?” Rick said, “Hey, this is Rick, I was looking for Vinney Appice.” I said, “Well, he’s not here right now. Rick who?” He said, “Rick Derringer.” I said, “Oh! I know who you are.” And, you know, that was my first talk with a famous person, anything other than, you know, outside the ballpark of just small town things. But, I think without sounding conceited, Axis and the people in it were…. Ahh…. You know people talk about lucky breaks, I learned in New York City that, and they even told me, you know my manager, I was managed by some people who managed Aerosmith, and some others, they said, “Don’t use the word ‘Lucky Break’ in this city.” You kind of make success. You know what I’m saying? You don’t wait at all for a lucky break.

You see there’s that thing when you ask me one question and I give you 10 answers but not the one you asked for.

Posted in Road Stories

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