An In Depth Interview with Johnny Mac
The Johnny Mac Band is a Long Island, New York/Metro based band that plays Blues, R&B, Funk, and Reggae as well as their own brand of original music. The Band has wracked up hundreds of successful performances since its inception in 2012.
“What I also have found by the newly emerging Long Island jam band scene is the cross-breeding across bands. If a drummer or bass player or lead guitarist or keyboardist can’t make a gig, someone is always around to fill in. It’s that kind of “incest” that has let me enjoy guitarist Johnny Mac in several different bands in just the past few weeks, including his own Johnny Mac Band.” – Phil Matera, music writer
As early as the 2nd grade, Johnny was trying to put together his own band styled after the Jackson Five with fellow students in his class. Soon thereafter, he started guitar lessons. His musical journey changed forever the day he snuck into his older brother’s room and put on his stereo. With headphones on, he listened to Peace in Mississippi off of Jimi Hendrix’s Crash Landing Album. From that day on he became committed to playing guitar and singing in the styles of Jimi and the master blues performers who came before him.
In 1986, Johnny and his band mates formed Undercover FUNK, a band that played and recorded various styles of music including the blues with Mohair Sam Wylie. Sam has been a long time member of the band. Undercover Funk appeared at the world’s largest block party on Madison Ave and was a headliner at University of Albany Mayfest. They also performed with Percy Sledge and were runner’s up in the Musician Magazine’s Best Unsigned Band Contest.
In 2012, with a new gig on the books and no one available to play it, Johnny recruited Dave Ice and Raymond Hauck to cover the date and realized he had the ingredients for an outstanding rhythm section. In 2013, they added saxophone extraordinaire Drew Vandewinckel to the band. On September 20, 2015 the band won the Long Island Blues Society’s Blues Challenge and represented Long Island for the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis in January of 2016.
Upon their return to New York, Joe Roberts was asked to sit in on for number of dates in early 2016. The added chemistry of Joe’s keyboard and vocal performance proved to be just the right fit and launched a new chapter in the annals of the Johnny Mac Band. The band has gone on to consistently thrill audiences across Long Island and the New York City area.
Every performance is high energy and improvisational. They are always fresh and leave audiences clamoring for more. The Band can comfortably and authentically morph into any musical style ranging from the Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock, Motown, Dance, Funk, Island, and the Dead. They also frequently attract the area’s finest musicians to their performances to sit or jam as featured guests.
Always approachable, the band is happy to talk music with anyone who is interested. Each of the band members has had long and successful careers in music and music education. All of the members of The Johnny mac band are deeply committed to giving something back to the community through teaching and educating young musicians on various levels.
On September 10, 2016., The Johnny Mac Band was once again successful at the LIBS Challenge and will be returning to Memphis to represent Long Island at the International Blues challenge in January of 2017.