I grew up in a small suburb of Columbus, Ohio and spent my teenage years during the decade of the 1960s. Musically, the 1960s encompassed Beatlemania, British Invasion, Motown, Surf Music, Garage Bands, Folk Music, Coffee Houses, Protest, Folk-Rock, Psychedelia. All, genres which our parents likely objected to— or, at best, simply didn’t understand. The 60s was much more than fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of nostalgia for later harvesting by the folks at TIME-LIFE Music. It was also a decade of turmoil and confrontation. A rotten conflict in Southeast Asia that divided us so badly and claimed so many lives… the civil rights struggle… the plight of migrant farm laborers… the assassinations of national leaders.

The Montereys are (L to R); Steve Keller, Bruce Bryant, Dan Moore, John McCann (photo courtesy of Bruce Bryant)

My interest in music began with a $25.00 acoustic ‘beginner’ guitar. Did retailers such as Sears & Roebuck sell a ton of these impossible-to-play guitars! By the mid 60s, local rock and roll bands were springing up everywhere. Our little town was no exception. Three of my junior high school classmates had formed a band and debuted their budding skills at our school’s variety/talent show. They performed ‘Pipeline’ and ‘Louie Louie’. Sounded pretty good to my ears! I was invited to attend one of their basement practices. Even sang a song or two with them. Whether they liked my voice, or, simply embraced a belief in ‘strength-in-numbers’, I was invited to join the band. Few things at the time gave me more of a sense of place and a sense of belonging than that band. We performed at such hallowed venues as; Valleydale Battle of the Bands, Blue Dolphin East and Frankie’s A-Go-Go! We never made a nickle during our short career. Our parents– who would take turns driving us and our modest collection of gear to our ‘play-for-free gigs’– graciously absorbed the cost of gasoline. The photograph you see, above, only recently resurfaced on bandmate Bruce’s Facebook page. So great of him to keep this photo all these years!

In high school, my music interest turned to folk music. Dylan was huge, Peter, Paul & Mary had some hits on AM radio. Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, ‘folk-rock’ pioneers The Byrds, Phil Ochs, Simon & Garfunkle… songs with meaning and conscience. A classmate of mine was playing folk music as a duet with one of the prettier, more talented girls in school. But, her ‘social calendar’ had become filled to the point that my buddy began looking around for other music outlets. I had abandoned rock n roll bass guitar and had picked up the acoustic 12 string guitar. We formed a folk duet and performed together the final 2 years of high school.

College and ensuing careers break up old gangs… it’s life. Families and other obligations crowd out the time available for music. Nevertheless, I find that many of us never lost that love of music. We play in our homes, we play for friends at small gatherings, we play in ‘pick up’ bands, we duck into ‘open mic’ nights at coffee houses. Best of all, we preserve our fond musical memories and remain, as Mr. Dylan sings, “Forever Young”!

All the Best,


2 Responses to “About Me”

  1. 1 folkblogger November 20, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    From a dear, high school buddy: Hi John, Well, you had me fooled. Those two mp3s that you sent me… I listened and was convinced they were the original artist recordings that you had ‘ripped’. Having read your blog, I stand corrected. Nice work! (I should have known better, based the intelligibility of the Dylan lyrics.)

  2. 2 dON November 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    John, Give our regards to Nikki for a job well done

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