Meet Johnny Lokke
MI-What is your birth date?
MI-Tell me about Wrecking Ball.
Johnny-Wrecking Ball is my second release. I play the guitars, bass and handle the vocal chores and Scot Goacher returns on drums, and believe me, he is a monster drummer (I should also plug his website - www.skinbasher.com). I also managed to twist the arm of my friend Stefan Leibing, who plays guitar for Primal Fear, to play a couple of solos for me, which was awesome. If you don't own any Primal Fear cd's, you are missing out...they are going to be huge very soon!
The cd is a big step up from my first cd, Early Warning, in that we were more comfortable with the whole recording process and were really focused in capturing the energy that we have together, rather than trying to get each note perfect. There are mistakes on the cd, but you definitely get the feeling you're right there with us and we're working hard, you know? No Dokken-polish allowed. Also, Early Warning was
written over the period of about a year and a half, so it sounds a little more diverse, where as Wrecking Ball came together in about 3 or 4 months (on the writing side), so it has a nice flow to it. If you dig the classic Iron Maiden/Judas Priest sound, you are going to be pleased with my stuff. If you are looking for Nu-Roc or rap-rock however, you are not going to be a happy camper...also, I promise my fans I will never perform with a symphony orchestra, unplugged isn't going to happen, and I will never release a cd purposely made to sound like crap and have no guitar solos (no offense to Lars and James)! If I run out of things to do with a Les Paul and a Marshall amp on ten, I'm done.
MI-If you were king of the world for one week, what would you do?
Johnny-Try and get rid of all the me, me, me crap that goes on in this world and start trying to get people to relax and want to help each other again. For some reason, everybody hates everybody now, and we've got to get that fixed up, especially in the kids. It's crazy anymore.
MI-What is your favorite song to play live and why?
Johnny-I'm not playing live right now, although I'll be putting a new band together after I finish working on my next two projects. I am currently back in the studio doing a "cover-song" cd as a free giveaway for the fans (you can download a song or two off of it from
www.johnnylokke.com right now), and then we're getting started on Lokke cd number 3 because we had some good stuff leftover, and I like to hole up in the studio during the winter. When I have friends come over and jam, though, I would say "Fast Strike" off of Early Warning and "Wrecking Ball" off of the new cd, because those are for the fans. I open each cd with a song written just for the fans, because they have really done all the work for me. Things have been moving so fast over the last year, and it's all due to a huge grass-roots, word-of-mouth thing done by the fans. Especially in Europe...it's incredible, and I thank each and every one of them a million times over.
MI-If you could be any superhero, which would you be and why?
Johnny-I was always a Superman guy...it's hard to beat being able to fly and having X-Ray vision. I've never met a girls locker-room I didn't like...
MI-What is in your cd player right now?
Johnny-I have two vehicles with cd players, so in one you'd find Bruce Dickinson - Scream For Me Brazil, and in the other it's Armored Saint – Nod to the Old School.
MI-Have you ever inhaled?
Johnny-Never have, never will.
MI-Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
Johnny-I absolutely do. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I was coming through Arkansas, and I decided to stop and play golf. I had my wedding ring in my pocket while I was playing and lost it on the course (which I didn't notice at the time). When I got home and discovered it was missing, I drove back down and searched the hotel room, left my name and number at the course, and was really sick about it being missing. Next day I was telling someone about it and a gentleman overheard and said his wife was a psychic and I should call her. I decided to give it a shot, and she not only described the ring exactly to me, she asked if I had been outside because she saw it lying in some grass. I hadn't told her what I had been doing at all. It was incredibly freaky. Long story short, she said she was going to try and "will" the ring to be found, and she told me to go somewhere alone where I could really concentrate, and focus for 15 minutes on
trying to bring the ring home to me while she did the same. I did, and 15 minutes later I walked back in my office as the phone was ringing. It was the golf course in Arkansas...someone had found my ring and had just turned it in. Tell me that was coincidence...
MI-Who are your musical influences and why?
Johnny-My biggest influences would have to be Elvis, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford. Those three have the complete package...huge voices, incredible stage presence, and supreme confidence. Musically in general, it's a lot of European bands...Maiden, Sabbath, Priest, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Diamond Head...really anybody that has power, style and melody. There is so much music without melody right now. Plus we have so many bands trying to sound alike; they end up all getting mixed-in together and disappear. I love bands that are "break-the-mold" type bands, but you just don't see that much anymore.
MI-What about the world pisses you off the most and why?
Johnny-The fact that we can do just about anything with science, yet we still are dependent on oil, health care costs are out of this world, and most of the money spent in the world goes to finding better ways to kill other people.
MI-When and how did you first get interested in music?
Johnny-My mother took guitar lessons at the YWCA when I was 8 or so, and she would come home and show me what she learned. After that, I started watching my brothers and all their garage bands and thinking how cool it looked. Finally, when I was 13 and playing my first party for money, we finished and as I was carrying my stuff out to my dad's car and looking at the 20 bucks I made, a 15 year old girl I didn't know came over and kissed me. I figured it was a pretty good business after all.
MI-What piece of your work do you like the best and why?
Johnny-I like all my projects because I push myself on every one of them, and I learn something new every time. As for songs, I would say "Fuel", because I had my wife and 10-year-old son sing backing vocals on that, and it's something we'll always have together. It was really cool.
MI-Where is your favorite place to play live and why?
Johnny-Anywhere someone wants to listen to me is like the Garden, you know? If they want me, I'll be there, guitar in hand, smiling ear to ear.
MI-What three people would you like to be stranded with on a life raft in the middle of the ocean?
Johnny-Family and personal friends aside, I would say Elvis, Bruce Dickinson, and Steven Tyler. These guys can talk music, but they are also just great conversationalists, period. If I'm spending my last days with them, I want some people that can really carry their end of the conversation.
MI-If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring one person, one cd, and one book-what would that one person, one cd, and one
Johnny-My wife (reasons understood, I think...), Catcher in the Rye for the book, and I can't have just one cd, so I'll give you a few essentials: AC/DC - Powerage, Iron Maiden - Live After Death, Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith, TT Quick - Ink, Diamond Head - Behold the Beginning and Metallica - Ride the Lightning.
MI-Who do you think the greatest musician of all time is and why?
Johnny-Unfortunately, it isn't going to be a rock musician. You can't beat what all the classical composers did, just not going to happen. Now if you're asking in rock music, I'm going to have to say in the all-around category Bruce Springsteen. That S.O.B. can take 3 chords and work them into 150 different songs, all with different feelings and melodies, and still have something left over for later! I also have to say that I haven't ever heard a better rock guitar player than Zakk Wylde, either. I have got to get in touch with him to do one song with him before I die. Do me a favor...interview him and pass on my number!
MI-What is your greatest achievement and why?
Johnny-I see my greatest achievement everyday when I see my son tell strangers "Excuse me" or say "Please" and "Thank you". If everyone with kids had the goal in life to make sure their children were kind, understanding people, this world would be a really great place. It's not that hard, either, you know?
MI-What is the worst job you have ever had and why?
Johnny-I've been lucky, I guess. I've never really had a crappy job. I've had some that were hard or boring, and I've worked two and three at a time when I needed to, but nothing that just outright sucked. Anything that someone pays me money for and helps me survive has some good points.
MI-What do you want people to know about you?
Johnny-That I make music because I love it, not to be a star or to be rich. It makes me happy to do it, and I also think that I can make others happy as well, and that is a really cool feeling. I remember so many times in my life when I was really down what a good song could do for me, and now I want to be there for that kid who is going through some tough times, and he throws on "Wrecking Ball" and feels better. That's too cool. That's also why I answer every single e-mail and letter I get. That 2 or 3 sentence response I send may be what helps someone decide to stay around another day, you know?
MI-What person would you bring back from the dead and why?
Johnny-No need to even think on that one. Elvis. He had so much left to do. I was supposed to go the show in Kansas City that was scheduled for a few days after his death. Talk about sucky timing.
MI-Who in the world would you most like to have lunch with?
Johnny-Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. I'm a huge golf nut.
MI-Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not? If so, who would you like to have been in history?
Johnny-I haven't really thought about that one much. I try to never rule out anything, though. I suppose I'd like to have been someone close to important historical happenings...the fall of Rome, the time of Christ, the surrender of Japan...someone on the inside.
MI-Where were you when 9-11 happened, and how did it affect you?
Johnny-I was talking to some friends when someone came into the room and said the first plane had just hit. We turned on the TV and saw the second one. It affected me deeply, being as how it was my birthday, and here I was celebrating life as thousands of innocent people were dying. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about and pray for those people and their families.
MI-If you were to design a 9-11 memorial, what would it look like?
Johnny-I'm not one of those people that say "We'll show them! We'll build a building even taller as a tribute!" For what, so that it's another target sometime down the line and thousands more can die? The greatest tribute we could give would be a way to find peace.
MI-Tell me what you think about what America is doing in the Middle East.
Johnny-I think we are doing a lot of good work for both right and wrong reasons. Yes, we are helping a lot of people gain their freedom, and yes, we are ridding the world of some very evil people, but when they say it isn't about oil or money, don't give it too much weight. We aren't as pure as we like to pretend we are. I just wish there were better ways to do it. My thanks and prayers go out to every single man and woman over there putting there lives on the line for me and my family, though. Words can't express my gratitude for what they are going through.
MI-Where do you get your inspiration from as a musician?
Johnny-People, current events, just life in general. I've never been one to write the "Ooh, ooh baby" songs. It's got to mean something or it goes in the trash pile.
MI-What in the world do you like to do the most and why?
Johnny-Besides spending time with my family, just writing, recording and playing music. It's such a great release and pleasure. I also love talking to all the people that music has helped me to meet. They are the coolest people.
MI-What does success mean to you?
Johnny-Happiness, satisfaction and acceptance with your life.
MI-Give me your favorite quote of all time.
Johnny-"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll."
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