Band/Artist Name: The Johnny Lingo Band
Members: Johnny Lingo (piano/vocals); Chase Leonard (drums)
Label: Onetime Records
Genre(s): Piano rock
The past year has brought The Johnny Lingo Band a great deal of well-deserved attention from fans and publications alike in and around the greater Providence, RI area. The Johnny Lingo Band currently consists of only two band members, although you would think there were a lot more listening to the band perform live. These two individuals are vocalist/pianist Johnny Lingo, who has performed with the Violent Femmes, Spin Doctors, The Presidents of the United States of America, State Radio, Max Creek, and Dispatch, among others, and drummer Chase Leonard.
Johnny and his own band, The Lingo, first hit the music scene in 2004 when he won local radio station 95.5 WBRU’s Rock Hunt competition. In 2008, Johnny returned to the live music arena as The Johnny Lingo Band with highly talented drummer Chase Leonard and recorded the band’s first CD, Shake It Off, which features contributions from the legendary local rock group ZOX. Most recently, Johnny Lingo was named “Best Male Vocalist of 2009” by The Providence Phoenix and the band joined other local winners, including Sexcoffee and The ‘Mericans, in opening for The Rustic Overtones at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel this past August. In addition, Johnny and Chase were also showcased at the 2009 NACA Mid-Atlantic Festival in Pennsylvania which resulted in a number of bookings at colleges and universities around New England.
The Johnny Lingo Band’s sound is categorized as “piano rock,” and the band is often compared by fans to Billy Joel, Elton John, Ben Folds and Jack’s Mannequin, although there is a significant difference between The Johnny Lingo Band and the majority of mainstream rock performers, whether they have a pianist or not: The Johnny Lingo Band has no guitarist. Having a guitarist in the band is generally a prerequisite to songwriting and performing, but The Johnny Lingo Band has risen to success without one. As was the case at the band’s most recent show — last Thursday at Wheaton College in Norton, MA — audiences are often taken aback when they discover that the only instruments to be used in The Johnny Lingo Band’s performance are an electric piano, a drum set and, every so often, one or two inanimate objects that happen to be within range of Chase’s drumsticks. Nevertheless, Johnny and Chase continue to wow crowds with a level of musical talent, impressive vocals and lyrics, and a unique sound that is not easily forgotten. Coupled with the guys’ good looks and pseudo-grunge-meets-hipster style, it is clear that Johnny and Chase have the potential to go extremely far in the music industry.
Shake It Off, which was recorded in 2008, is available for purchase/download on the band’s MySpace page or through iTunes. The track list includes the following songs (starred items can be heard for free on the band’s web site):
- Step Outside*
- Foolin’ Around
- Fallen Angel*
- Mister Can U See Me
- Wouldn’t Be Nice*
- Marquee Move*
- This Man*
- Guess Again
Although the majority of The Johnny Lingo Band’s songs have a similar underlying musical theme that can be attributed to the sole use of a drum set and piano, the band’s compositions do not suffer as a result; rather, both Shake It Off and the band’s live performances benefit from a strong sense of harmony not often displayed by local bands that are more unsure about genre classification and musical style.
For more information on The Johnny Lingo Band, head over to the band’s recently launched web site, where you can read blog posts from Johnny and Chase, listen to several of the band’s songs, view future tour dates, read press clippings, check out band photos, and more. Also look for The Johnny Lingo Band on Facebook, Twitter, and iLike. Make sure to stay tuned for future articles about and interviews with The Johnny Lingo Band as they continue to perform across the greater New England area.