IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO A BAR IN COLUMBUS, CHANCES ARE YOU'VE SEEN THE FABULOUS JOHNSON BROTHERS. LIKE OSU'S BALL-BEATIN' BUCKEYES, THESE BOYS ARE A STAPLE IN THE ESSENCE OF THE CITY. THEY'RE MUSICIANS ON A FUNK AND ROLL QUEST FOR A GOOD TIME, AND TASTES LIKE CHICKEN'S GROUPIE OF GAB, DEBBIE, SPENT AN HOUR WITH THE BOYS CALLED JOHNSON TO FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THEM SO DAMN FABULOUS.
debbie: What is it about you Johnson Brothers that makes you so Fabulous?
Curtis: The crowd. That’s what I always thought.
Doug: I thought it was just something that made The Johnson Brothers sound not so boring.
Aaron: Basically, the band kept changing, and so did the name. First it was Johnson, then it was The Johnson Brothers, then it was The Fabulous Johnson Brothers.
C: Once we put that in our name, it was everywhere!
A: It’s more of an introduction than a name.
D: It’s our preamble.
C: Good word.
d: That’s an S.A.T. word. Okay, this is a stupid question-- are all your last names Johnson?
C: No. But we all have a johnson.
d: Rock and roll! Next question: where does the music come from?
C: It comes from us three. Like, I can have a (bass) riff and Doug will finish it, or he can have a riff and I’ll finish it, or he can have something almost finished and Aaron has words that just go right to it.
A: I think it runs a little bit crazier than that. Sometimes we’ll be sitting around and somebody will have a riff that’s good, but not all there. Other times, we’ll get together and write three songs.
d: Are there any influences you have that stand out from the rest?
A: Wade (their manager) is my biggest influence.
C: My grandfather was a big influence on me. Musically, anyone who can get up there and do it. I don’t care if they’re country, rap or whatever! If they’re true to their form, that’s influential to me.
A: You can tell when someone’s doing it for real and when someone’s doing it just to be famous. Like, Jimi Hendrix was the man. Jimi Hendrix did it because that’s what he was put on Earth to do.
C: There are so many different influences, like Jimi Hendrix, The Chili Peppers, Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone--
A: It’s all about who’s got the funk.
C: Who has the funk?
A: That’s a good question, because I don’t think anyone’s got the funk.
d: Hey, now. Let’s not forget Fishbone.
C: Hey, you know Truth and Soul?
A: Yeah! That’s a great album. That’s actually a great influence on us. Our Chili Peppers influence is undeniable. We listened to them and Kiss. What Kiss was to kids in the '70s, the Chili Peppers were to us.
C: I read a lot of articles on how rap/rock is kinda big right now, and a lot of those bands never talk about the Chili Peppers at all. They’re the first people who did it.
A: The Chili Peppers have been doing it since 1983. And, they’re still doing it!
C: George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice was definitely an album that influenced us. Just the name, Listen Without Prejudice,.. I didn’t even get it until a year later!
A: Yeah. Just listen to the music. Don’t judge me because I was in Wham.
d: Do you guys make any art besides music?
D: Curtis is a motherfucker of a good artist. Ya know, drawing and painting.
A: I like to decorate.
D: I’m a huge video game freak.
d: (to Curtis, who just returned from a bathroom break) I asked the guys if they made any other art besides music, and they tell me you’re quite the artist.
C: Yup. I do murals and portraits and all kinds of shit. Now I try to concentrate most of my art on the band and making logos and stuff.
d: What, other than the music you make, ties the band together?
D: We’ve been friends since we were 15-years-old.
d: Could you guys kick the Beatles asses, or would they totally fuck you up?
D: Oh, we would kick their old asses!
A: They’re English!
C: Wade would sabotage them before they even got to the fight. (laughing) He’d be like, “I took care of them Beatles.”
d: What’s the worst concert experience you guys have ever had?
A: Our worst concert experience was when Doug fell asleep. We were playing a show at some festival and Doug fell asleep in his truck.
C: We didn’t know where he was, so we sent Wade to go find him.
Wade: I went and walked right up by the truck and I couldn’t even see him. I sat down and smoked a cigarette on the tailgate. I looked back and could see that the windows were all fogged up. I was like, “Wait a minute.” I looked in and he was all curled up (imitates Doug's peaceful slumber).
C: We played half the show without him!
d: Whoa! Okay, change of pace: do dogs have lips?
D: They can smile. My dog smiles. They’ve got chicken lips.
C: They got pussy lips!
D: You ever see anybody with really thin lips? Like Gary from Knots Landing? My mom was always like, “He’s got chicken lips.” Yeah, dogs have lips.
C: Yeah. Dogs have lips.
A: What was the question?
d: In your professional opinion, do dogs have lips?
A: No. Dogs do not have lips.
W: Aw, bitch, whatever! (calling to his own dog, Shelby) There’s a dog right there!
A: It doesn’t have lips.
D: But they smile.
A: That doesn’t mean they have lips. It means they have teeth.
W: (gesturing to Shelby’s mouth/snout region) Now, look. What is this? What is that?
A: That’s not really a lip. That’s a mouth.
C: Ask her! Shelby, do you have lips?
d: What’s your favorite game on The Price Is Right?
D: The golf game.
A: I like Punch-Out, too.
C: Oh, and the yodeling guy (begins yodeling).
d: If you were trapped on a desert island with only Iron Maiden’s Live After Death and Queen’s A Kind Of Magic to listen to, which one would most likely drive you to commit suicide first?
All: Iron Maiden!
d: What’s the last CD you listened to before this interview?
A: Organs In Orbit.
D: I listened to Rubber Soul last night and tried to learn a song off it.
C: Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July.
d: Where does Batman get those wonderful toys?
A: The Garden.
C: From Prince.
D: Sharper Image catalogues.
VISIT THE FABULOUS JOHNSON BROTHERS AT THEJBROS.COM