John Justice

I play music because I HAVE to.  That’s the simplest way to explain why so much of my time and effort go into drumming and playing in bands.

It all started way back when, in the 1960’s, when I was a kid who wanted to like what my older brother liked.  Luckily for me, he loved rock music and through his influence so did I.  I first learned to love Keith Moon’s drumming in my favorite song at the age of three, “Happy Jack”.  By second grade I had broadened my tastes to include The Beatles (of course!), Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The James Gang, Free, Alice Cooper (with the original band), and Black Sabbath.  My classmates listened to The Osmonds and the Jackson Five.  Needless to say, I didn’t fit in well.  I began my drumming career banging on trash cans with my very first pair of drumsticks provided by that cool high school drummer who lived next door.

The 70’s brought disco, a dark era for young rockers such as me, but I discovered Rush, my favorite band of all time.  And there was also Aerosmith, Boston, Triumph, Van Halen and other bands to carry the flame.  The 70’s also brought my participation in school band and marching drums.  But still no drum set, despite my constant pleas for one as a present for Christmas. (If I had a proper work ethic, I could have gotten one on my own, but that is another story...)

Then the glory years of hard rock and heavy metal hit in the 80’s, with more bands than I can possibly mention here.  The 80’s also brought college, marching band and half-time shows for my team.  War Eagle!  And my first drum kit, purchased with money earned at a summer job between school years.  Then began the long road of learning proficiency with the feet to match what I had trained my hands to do for over 10 years.

The years since brought my participation in many local club bands that few people will remember, but my playing got better and I had the joy of performing for so many nice folks.  I made many friends, both listeners and fellow musicians.  I’ve known Kevin and played in several bands with him over the past 15 years or so, and after 9 years of nagging I finally got Bill to play out live.

Fortunately, rock has continued on in one form or another ever since it was declared dead in the 70’s.  Just watch the documentaries on VH1 Classic and you’ll become aware of just how many forms there are now.  I follow many of today’s bands of all styles and I am constantly amazed at just how many good drummers there are out there.  They have their influence on me and my playing, but underneath it all you’ll still find a rock drummer.  That is the heart and soul of my playing.  Just like Moon, Bonham, Peart, and the many others.   And I’m still drumming after all these years.  I have to.