All Photos by jodi B. darling
Rowdy Johnson - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Born on February 13, 1973 in Apopka, Florida with a chip on my shoulder and songs in my heart, I quickly found that I had a gift for expressing myself through words and ultimately through music. With a name like Rowdy Johnson, it’s only fitting that I do what I do and yes it is my real name. Growing up down South with the sounds of so many greats such as Alabama, Bocephus, Marshall Tucker Band, Skynyrd, Cash & ultimately Waylon Jennings among countless others, it was easy to find inspiration and a sense of freedom in music. Never bowing to labels and the desire to blaze my own path has allowed me to take all my influences and roll them into what Rowdy Johnson Band music is all about. It’s complete musical freedom to do what feels good and to write songs I feel and can relate to directly. In doing that, listeners will be able to get to know me personally and that is important to me. It’s the love of the fans that drive me to push myself farther than I ever thought possible. I’m a fan myself and I never want to lose that. I am and always will be accessible. You can reach me directly & follow me on twitter @rowdyjohnson and on . Thank you to our loyal fans. God bless y’all and we LOVE you!!!
I have recently been selected to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Outlaw Music Association. What an honor!
Ken Whitcomb - Bass & Vocals
In 1961 I got my first band job as an accordion player and vocals in a country band in Frederick MD. I joined the army and in 1970, while stationed at the Pentagon, I started the cover band
Opus 5, which quickly became the number two cover band in D.C.. Opus 5 continued to play in
various venues until 1976 when I was transferred overseas. I have played
for Bertie Higgins ("Key Largo") and for over two years as a duo with
T.J. Brinson. I was a member of the blues band
Shades of Grey
with the legendary
I retired from the Army in 1981,
spent 25 more years consulting in nuclear power, computerized GIS crime analysis
systems, and casino gaming before retiring for good and moving to AZ. In
2010 I put a new band together called Thunder Mountain.
After a year and a half with the band I decided to change directions and
resigned to return to my country music roots. I am also the manager, publicist, booking agent, and web site designer for the band which keeps me
busy as a bee!
Dan "Steely Daniels" Showalter - Lead &
Pedal Steel Guitar|
I am originally from Wisconsin. My first group was a polka band where I played lead guitar. The group eventually turned into a Country/Rock group, which was too rock to play in country venues and too country to play in Rock venues. One of my main groups was a band called Broken Bow which played Country and Contemporary gospel music in and around Taos NM. I also spent some time on tour with Michael Martin Murphy, playing the pedal steel guitar. In 1992 I retired from music to raise a family and moved to Sierra Vista, AZ where I played lead guitar for the Christian rock group Remnant.
On a lark, I went out to Tombstone one night to check out RJB for possibly playing in a video of a song I wrote. The band asked me to set in for a bit and that was all I needed to realize that we were playing the music closest to my heart. From that night I was hooked and joined RJB the very next day!
I have been a professional drummer since 1966, working in numerous Arizona bands and road groups (Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Iowa) in venues from dance bands to concerts and festivals. I was the drummer on the Ernie Menehune Show for a season at the 5-Star Arizona Biltmore Hotel (Aztec Lounge and the Gold Room) followed by tours of the Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Carson City and Colorado Springs circuit. I have also done extensive live TV performance and production work as well as a weekly show on KNIX Radio (a Country Music Association Number One Station of the Year).
I have logged over 20,000 hours in various recording studios as a manager, recording and mixing engineer, producer, musician and studio designer with credit on three hit records to date. My playing experience includes Rock, Blues, Soul, Gospel, Nostalgic ‘50’s, 60’s and Country.
I am a musician/composer/arranger with a degree in music from Northern Arizona University. In the eighties and nineties I was the keyboardist for the house band at the legendary Phoenix Country night club Mr. Luckys. For over seven years I backed up or opened for an endless list of country and rock legends who packed the historic venue. I have shared the stage with Dwight Yokum, Waylon Jennings, Lyle Lovett Kieth Whitley and scores of other artists.
At the same time, I have kept active in recording. For the last 30+ years I have composed and produced national and regional commercials, some award winners, as well as artists and up and coming songwriters.
From 1982 to 1986, I was in charge of audio post production at Timberline Productions, a company that produced videos and live shows for hundreds of high profile corporate clients, such as Delta Airlines and Coldwell Banker. For my commercial sound tracks in advertising, I received the prestigious ADDY and TELE awards. I was also the producer of a top ten country single "C.B. Savage" by Rod Hart. Since 1990, I have been a key element in the Airzona project, contributing to corporate events as musical director, vocalist, keyboard/bass player, and when called upon, band leader.
We opened for Alan Jackson and Asleep at the wheel on different gigs a few years ago, too ,and played with Clint Black back in the Lucky’s days
I have found a home with the Rowdy Johnson Band!
Raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Graduated from Maryvale High
Meet Krista Elyse -- Professional Motorsports Model, Sponsored Drag Racer, Video Series Hostess, & Radio Personality. Not only has she been sponsored by some of the top companies in the aftermarket auto industry as a drag racer, she's also appeared at some of the biggest motorcycle & automotive events in the country alongside top industry drivers, hall of fame & famous sports stars, motorcycle industry & tv stars, top bands, & more. You can find Krista in features across the internet, in calendars, & in both domestic & international magazines such as Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Magazine, Playboy Miss Social May 2012 spotlight, Steel Scene Magazine, Bully Girl Magazine Bike Issue, Extreme Ink Magazine, Splash Automotive Magazine, Inked Bombshells Magazine, We Rise Magazine, Awesome Online Magazine - UK Edition, & Elite Streetz Magazine just to name a few. Krista is also heavily involved in the radio & Web TV world and has been a correspondent and co-host on such shows as ESPN Sports on Tap, In the Pits Racing Radio, Performance Motorsports Network, Steel Scene TV & more!
ABOUT THE BAND
We have an impressive list of acts that we have opened for and are contracted to open for, including:
Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson At Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Grand Funk Railroad, Jackyl, Lynn Anderson, Colt Ford, 38 Special, Doo Wah Riders, Ray Scott, Billy Don Burns, William Clark Green, Jackson Taylor & the Sinners, Shooter Jennings, Tommy Jennings, Hells Bells, The Davisson Brothers, Messenger, The Cherry People, Kashmir, and more to come
TOMBSTONE — Cochise County’s Rowdy Johnson Band, a local group known for delivering high energy live shows with a country outlaw style, will be opening for two big headliners in Sturgis, S.D.
Performing at the Full Throttle Saloon, hailed as the world’s biggest biker bar, RJB will be opening for Gretchen Wilson on Aug. 5 and for Big and Rich on Aug. 7.
“This is very exciting news for us,” said Ken Whitcomb, RJB manager and bass player. “Our promoter has been working on this gig for a few months now, and we had almost given up on it. When we heard today (Monday) that we would be performing in Sturgis, we were pleasantly surprised, to say the least.”
The four-piece band belts out songs composed by lead singer and songwriter Rowdy Johnson while feeding off the crowd and playing to the fans.
Johnson’s songs are reminiscent of county music’s classic outlaws, while staying true to his own sound. A prolific songwriter, he takes life’s experiences, both good and bad, and weaves lyrics into soulful creations that replicate such country music icons as Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr., preferring that traditional country style over the contemporary superstars heard on today’s airwaves. Johnson is backed by Whitcomb on bass, Dan Showalter on steel/guitar and Ray Peter on drums.
For more than two years now, the band has called Tombstone its home, playing several venues throughout the historic town, along with performances in McNeal, Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Benson. Considered one of the “up and coming” stars of country music, the band is featured on the Gray Beard Records label out of Tucson. Johnson’s personable stage presence and fiery energy are the right formula for performances that bring fans to their feet.
RJB’s brand of independent music is played throughout the Phoenix area, parts of Tucson, Texas and in most states across the country. The band has also opened or played with the likes of Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Grand Fund Railroad, Jackyl, Steppenwolf and more.
RJB merges country music with southern rock, reaching audiences that include veterans, bikers, rockers, country music fanatics and everything in between.
“My music represents the voice of the people when it comes to traditional country fans with true country roots,” Johnson once said.
In recent months, RJB was one of five groups from across the nation selected for an upcoming TV series, “The Real Life of a Country Music Entertainer.” The production is expected to air later this year.
The band will be leaving bright and early Saturday morning in a van, towing a trailer loaded with equipment as the group heads for Sturgis.
“It’s a great honor for us to open for well known, talented acts like these two coming up in Sturgis,” said Whitcomb. “We’re always happy for the opportunity to open for these big name acts this early in our career.” - Sierra Vista Herald - Dana Cole - 8/2/2013
Here is the latest review of our new CD:
I've seen the Rowdy Johnson band twice in Arizona, and I found young Rowdy to be an engaging and passionate performer. Great stage presence, humor, and fiery energy with a growl a mile long. The Rowdy Johnson band hails from Tombstone, AZ, and frontman/songwriter Rowdy Johnson puts on a great show. Perhaps geographically inspired, their debut album named Outlaws Today carries all originals, with a Waylon Jennings cover of "Lonesome On'ry and Mean."
The title track,"Outlaws Today," has a nice sparse production and lots of passion. "Where My Friends Are" feels more like being at a live Rowdy Johnson show and is a catchy, feel good tune. There are some tracks on here that seem more suited for a new-country album than the title suggests yet throughout the collection of songs, it is obvious he is a Waylon Jennings disciple. In one of my favorite tracks on the album, Johnson's tribute to Waylon in the song "Haunted Guitar", the words and music flow and the reverence for his hero rings true in a story about finding Waylon's guitar in a pawn shop.
The word "outlaw" is tossed out with a vengeance on this album, but it is in the song "Riding Shotgun With The Devil" where I feel like he's operating in the true meaning of the word beyond cliches. One of the challenges Artists can face when they begin a music career, is finding their own sound. On this standout track, Johnson is on his way to that in a deeper, more personal reflection about facing the wrong path in life and seeking redemption.
Here are a few comments from some respected people in the music industry:
Cochise County’s very own Rowdy Johnson Band is one of five groups from across the nation selected for an upcoming TV series, “The Real Life of a Country Music Entertainer.”
Nashville TV was in Cochise County earlier this month to film the band’s live performance at the Western Junction Bar and Grill in McNeal, said Ken Whitcomb, RJB manager and spokesman. Locally, the band plays venues in Tombstone, McNeal, Sierra Vista and Bisbee, along with Fourth of July concerts in Benson. Considered one of the “up and coming stars” of country music – while not heard on Cochise County radio stations – the band is featured on the Gray Beard Records label of Tucson. RJB’s brand of independent music is played throughout the Phoenix area, parts of Tucson, Texas and in most states across the country. Between local performances, the group has opened or played with the likes of Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Grand Funk Railroad, Jackyl, Steppenwolf, Ray Scott, Bill Don Burns, and more. Known for delivering high-energy live shows, the band belts out songs composed by lead singer and songwriter Rowdy Johnson, while feeding off the fans and playing to the audience. Rowdy’s songs are reminiscent of country music’s classic outlaws. A prolific songwriter, he takes life’s experiences, both good and bad, and weaves lyrics into soulful creations that replicate such country music icons as Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr., and Charlie Daniels, preferring that traditional country style over the contemporary superstars that dominate today’s airwaves.
“My music represents the voice of the people when it comes to traditional country fans with true country roots,” said Rowdy. “I’ve actually had people tell me that I’m ‘too country;’ that outlaw-style music is a thing of the past. I don’t believe that for one minute. When I write a song, I want you to hear my story. I want that song to move you. And that’s what my songs do.” Whether it’s “Haunted Guitar” or “Elly May’s Biscuits,” the Rowdy Johnson Band prides itself in delivering outlaw-style, rollicking country songs with that deep-down, home-grown appeal. The band’s high-energy performances merge country music with southern rock, reaching audiences that include veterans, bikers, rockers, country music fanatics and everything in between. The Rowdy Johnson Band plays for a wide array of venues, making appearances at county fairs, rodeos, military installations, honky-tonks and biker bars.
“To have this kind of thing happen to one of Cochise County’s own is a real honor, yet there is not one mention of it on local news or radio,” said Whitcomb. “It is a difficult thing for a struggling group of musicians to make it in this day of decreasing venues, but when a group finally manages to garner national attention, any support from their community is appreciated and helpful.”Whitcomb says that after the show starts airing its 13 episodes, the Rowdy Johnson Band will be on everyone’s music radar. “The band will be a household name for country music fans everywhere.” Dana Cole - San Pedro Valley News-Sun
"Rowdy Johnson Band is a little ol’ band with a big ol’ sound fresh out of Nashville. Somewhere between Hank & AC/DC you can find this band doing what they do best and that’s playing rowdy music for Rowdy fans. When they take the stage, whether Country or Rock, they make a statement by doing it their way and the crowds agree. Known for their high energy live shows, these guys are the Real Deal. Country Bars, Biker Bars & everything in between, these guys are right at home and don’t miss a beat, blurring the lines between Outlaw Country Music & Southern Rock, while still paying tribute to Country Legends like Hank Williams & Waylon. If there’s a good time going on and the crowd’s a little rowdy, you can bet RJB is rockin’ the stage. When you get a chance to see these guys, don’t walk, run to their next show. You can find him today as I did; playing the Honky Tonks, County Fairs, Rodeos, Military Bases, or anywhere there’s a fan hungry for music with a little meat on the bone. With a band that’s second to none, this collection of musicians will put the pedal to the metal ‘till the last note’s played. Even then, they’re sure to do an encore or two if the crowd’s rowdy enough. In a time when Nashville has lost it’s way and is becoming more and more like pop music, the Rowdy Johnson Band is a breath of fresh air and is determined to set things right again. Call it a revolution or whatever you want, but as long as these guys are around, Country’s in good hands!" B. We s t - Nashville
The self proclaimed “Six String Outlaw” is a breath of fresh air in a time where the true rebels in music are getting harder and harder to find. Rowdy grew up with the sounds of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels ringing in his ears and it didn’t take him long to discover fellow Florida boys Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchett. It was somewhere in the middle that Rowdy found his way and began to forge a sound that would make his heroes proud.
Known for his songwriting and powerful lyrics, Rowdy soon began his trek to put Outlaw Country back on the map. Anyone that has seen a Rowdy Johnson concert can attest that he sings from the heart in every song he plays and does it with a passion that would rival his heroes. Always in search of venues that will allow him to run wild on stage without a leash, Rowdy continues to fight the system and refuses to back down or change just to make a dollar. With a name like Rowdy, what would you expect?
As a proud veteran himself, Rowdy is on a mission to bring recognition to all of our service members in a way that is anything but politically correct. If you ever want to know what he thinks, just ask him or listen to any one of his songs. Rowdy wears his heart on his sleeve without ever apologizing. It’s a shame there aren’t more that do the same.
Growing up in Apopka, Florida was tough for Rowdy. His mother was murdered by his then step-father when Rowdy was only four years old. As an only child, Rowdy then went to live with his uncle and aunt who he eventually came to know as his Mom and Dad. The family tragedy didn’t stop there. He went on to lose his uncle, grandfather, cousins, friends and eventually his Dad. Rowdy began to turn to music to express himself and escape from reality. It’s little wonder that when he sings of heartache, pain and loss, it’s done with every ounce of his soul. If you are looking for the real deal without the smoke and mirrors, look no further than the “Six String Outlaw” himself, Rowdy Johnson." - Wyatt Chambers
Rowdy Johnson is a throwback to the outlaw country legends of that time like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. With a soulful voice and a gift for songwriting, Country Music is in good hands. Somewhere Waylon is looking down on Rowdy and smiling. mp3.com
TOMBSTONE — Step aside Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury, there’s a whole new brand of outlaw in town. The Rowdy Johnson Band, a five-piece group that frequents different venues in the “Town Too Tough to Die,” has found its niche in Tombstone. The band, with lead singer/songwriter Rowdy Johnson, gets its inspiration from such country music outlaws as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels and Hank Williams Jr.
“I’m known for pushing the envelope when it comes to what Nashville is looking for in today’s country music,” said Rowdy. “But I’m not listening to Nashville. When people hear my music, I can feel the connection with my audience. I like writing songs that make people laugh, make people cry, make people search down deep into their souls.” Rowdy says his band represents “the voice of the people” when it comes to traditional country fans with true country roots.
“I’ve actually had people tell me that I’m ‘too country’ and that outlaw-style music is a thing of the past,” he said. “I don’t believe that for one minute. When I write a song, I want you to hear my story. I want that song to move you. And that’s what my songs do.” Rowdy’s band members are Ken Whitcomb on bass guitar/vocals, Mike Winkler on drums, Dan Showalter on Lead and Pedal Steel guitars, John Monfore on keyboards. “There are no frills or tricks to make us sound like something we’re not,” Rowdy said. “My band reads the crowd and plays off the people. It’s one of the greatest thrills about playing for live audiences. For me, music is my calling. When I’m gone, I hope to leave a footprint in this world we call country music.”HDana Cole Sierra Vista AZ Herald/Review
I finished the mastering on your song
"Haunted Guitar" today and I am really looking forward to working with you guys
and hearing the rest of your work. I can honestly say I was impressed with
that song. I hear thousands of new songs every year and it is at the top
of a pretty short list. You guys are
going to do really well if you keep producing great songs like I have heard so
far. Andy Bartow -
Black Dog Mastering Studio - Tampa Florida
Country musician Rowdy Johnson confesses that his first name raises audience expectations wherever he and his band go on stage. The fact that he’s based out of Tombstone, Arizona only adds fuel to the fire, but he’s OK with that. "I realize what my niche is. I love to make people laugh," he said in a recent phone interview from Arizona. Three years after forming a southern rock band to replace the musical background of his Floridian youth, Johnson is taking the next step of out-of-state touring for his band. Tonight’s Waco gig follows one in Lubbock and precedes dates in Templeton and Littlfield, then its back to home dates in sweet home Arizona. "We found a home down here. I love the reaction we get." He said. The band leader and guitarist grew up on southern rock with two family members active in country star John Anderson’s band – at least until they were cut. Johnson, however, gained from their experience. "I got two bitter uncles who can play the hell out of a guitar," he said. Johnson didn’t get into performing the music he grew up with, however, until he found himself in Arizona homesick for some rough-edged southern rock. He started writing songs and playing his own music, but with a clear-eyed view of where it fit in his life. "I told my wife we won’t be eating ramen noodles and be homeless to chase this dream," he recalled.
For the last eight years, he’s been a daytime manager at SynCardia Systems, Inc., a Tucson based manufacturer of artificial hearts, and a country rocker by night. "I make hearts in the daytime and break them at night", he quipped. Johnson heads a five-man band made up of lead guitar, steel guitar, pedal steel, bass and drums. Three of his songs, "Elly May’s Biscuits," This Country of Mine"’ and "Haunted Guitar" are starting to get airplay in Arizona and a lot around Texas, and Johnson anticipates that he will have a new CD on itunes by November. As befits a musician named Rowdy, it’s the live show that wins over a lot of their fans. Johnson says its because he and his fellow musicians aren’t far removed from being fans themselves and know what their audiences want. Part of that is energy and part freshness. To get that feeling, Johnson and his band keep close tabs on audience reactions to guide their performance, even to the point of improvising their set list. "The number one thing is we never rehearse. Its up to the crowd to decide it," he said. Carl Hoover - Waco Tribune-Herald
Just four days after the release of our first three singles, RJB was listed as the best new Indie Band, on Indiependence Music charts
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