Michael J. Media Group
Matt Hogan, Aaron Stern, Adam Johnson and J.P. Johnson of the band God or Julie.

When J.P. Johnson was 14, he and his older brother, Adam, sneaked into a night club in Denver. He saw Dick Dale and was blown away.

The two decided music was going to be their career.

"I had been playing piano since I was 11," J.P. Johnson said during a phone call from the road between New York and Boston. "I got my first guitar when I was 14, and that's when we saw these shows. While we knew we had to play music, we really didn't know what we wanted. But sneaking into the clubs solidified our ideas for our own music. It changed our lives, and we decided to play our own music and take it as far as we could go."

A few years later, the boys found themselves moving from their hometown of Denver to Brooklyn, N.Y. And that's when the to decided to get a band going.

They hooked up with drummer Aaron Stern and guitarist Matt Hogan and formed God or Julie.

The name, said Johnson, was inspired by a friend who wrote songs about his wife, Julie, and God.

"He didn't write about anything else," he said with a laugh.

The band has toured with such notables as Everclear and Buckcherry. In February, it released it's debut album, "This Road Before."

"The album didn't happen all at once," said Johnson. "We demoed and recorded a song here and a song there. We worked with different producers on different songs. In fact, the album wasn't suppose to be our first album. We had just wrapped up recording the last song for an album and decided since it took so long to finish that all the other songs didn't represent the band anymore. So we wrote new songs. And those eventually became 'This Road Before."'

Taking the "new-song" philosophy a bit further, Johnson said he has a hard time looking backward.

"I see the future," he said. "I do remember the past and can't avoid it, but right now, we are looking at the tour and what will happen afterward. We have already gone into the studio and laid down some tracks for new songs on the next album.

"While I'm proud of what we did on 'This Road Before,' it's the future that keeps us motivated," he said. "Regardless of how hard it is to be in the music business these days, we are still happy we're doing it."

If you go ...

What: Ours, Plain Jane Automobile, God or Julie

Where: Avalon, 3605 S. State

When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

How much: $12

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com


E-mail: [email protected]