Newspaper Articles

Roots rock band back in Park
by Catherine Griwkowsky
March 22, 2011
The News
Sherwood Park, Canada

In between producing three CDs, Kit Johnson of the Joe Defendants speaks to the News about the group's show at Festival Place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

"Now as I get into a position where I don't want to carry bass amps anymore I've been looking to try other things," Johnson joked.

The Joe Defendants have not recorded an album as a group yet.

"We have not written together," Johnson said. "None of us have written a song with the others. I don't know why that is."

Now the band plays largely original tunes from the individual members' solo repertoire, and arrange the songs together.

Johnson said bands such as The Beatles would usually write separately.

"You can imagine the mayhem that would ensue," Johnson said.

As a professional bass player, Johnson often backs up other songwriters such as David Wilcox, Chris De Burgh and Murray MacLaughlin.

"It's sort of what I do," he said. "All the other three guys are (professional musicians). In order to cobble together a living from the music business, you end up having to work with other people."

Three of the four members played together in The Co-Dependants and Beautiful Joe.

Johnson moved to Calgary in 2000 from Ontario to follow the music.

"The Toronto music scene took a nose dive in the '90s,"Johnson said.

He played in the Edmonton Folk Fest house band for 26 years and made several contacts.

Group member Steve Pineo is releasing another album, his fifth.

The Co-Dependants were fronted by Billy Cowsill, and as his health failed, Johnson was brought in when Cowsill couldn't make it through the night.

"We figured it wasn't right to call it the Co-Dependants," Johnson said.

The Co-Dependants primarily played 1950s and '60s party music.

Pineo will sing half of the songs, while Tim Leacock will sing 30 per cent of them and Johnson will sing the original ones.

Johnson said Festival Place artistic director Gavin Farmer had the idea to bring the musicians up as themselves following two Neil Young tribute shows.

The Co-Dependants played at Festival Place about 10 years ago.

"We've got everything from acoustic, more folk-time stuff to some pretty full-on rock and roll," Johnson said. "Steve's new album is all blues."

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