An Interview with Johnny Conqueroo

IPB: Tell me a little bit about yourselves. Who are you, and how do you all know each other?

Photo: McKenna Rigney

JC: We are all lexington natives, we met through school. Grant Curless (guitarist) and Wils Quinn (drummer) met in middle school. Wils met Shawn Reynolds (bassist) in high school. Grant and Wils began jamming in middle school and built up a strong musical relationship. However it lacked a nice low end and so Wils enlisted friend Shawn Reynolds.

What makes three guys your age want to play in a blues rock band?

We are all really moved by the blues and soul music. We love the culture and the history around the blues. As for the rock portion we believe that my just be a part of our interpretation of the blues. We just naturally rough it up a bit, make it a bit tougher.

What was your all’s process like for writing and recording your EP?

The interesting thing about the EP is that we were really just recording our rehearsals, as we continued to save our money to go into a real studio.   We decided our “basement recordings” sounded good enough, and it allowed us to self-fund and self-produce our own record which was a great experience.

Where do you get your inspiration for lyrics in your songs? (I would imagine that none of you have actually spent a ‘night in jail’ – please forgive me if I’m assuming wrong).

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Photo: McKenna Rigney

You are correct none of us have spent a night in jail. However that song is based off a true story that happened in one of the band members life that is re told in the first person. Songs like those are really inspired by old blues songs which usually revolve around dark topics such as: Adultery, revenge, intoxication, voodoo and whatever else we can squeeze in there to make us seem tough. Its all a part of the game, Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno but builds a strong image and makes for a good song.

Why did you choose the Howlin’ Wolf tune to cover? What do you like about that song particularly?

We are really big fans of Howlin’ Wolf and his music, he was one of our bigger inspirations. We were messing around with playing Smokestack Lightning as well as Spoonful. We chose Smokestack Lightning just because we felt like it was more accessible to being “rocked up” it was easier to add our own twist to it.

Do you feel like being young helps or hurts your all’s case for being a band – do some people not take you seriously, are people especially interested in you all because of your age, or does it seem to make much difference at all?

Being teenagers can both be our best friend and our worst enemy at times. We get a lot more attention because we are young. This is great, we love any attention we get, its also nice because we have more time to build ourselves up as a band before the real world hits us and we have to go to college or get jobs. However being young also comes with its disadvantages, we are a little tired of being referred to as a teen band. Yes, we are all teens, but we want our music to speak for its self, we want to just be a band, our ages should have nothing to do with it. It can also be tough to get gigs at real bars because of the age difference.

What has been your all’s favorite experience as a band thus far? Your strangest?

Recently we have had some shows where we could pull in some large crowds of peers. The last one we played we were able to get the whole crowd dancing and even a few dancing on the stage. During that show there was a lot of great energy, so Grant decided to jump out into the crowd during his solo. He jumped off the stage and landed wrong and ended up dislocating his knee cap. He finished the last two songs on the ground, having a audience member holding the mic for him. That may have been the best and worst experience we have had as of yet.

What plans do you all have for the future of Johnny Conqueroo?

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Photo: McKenna Rigney

Recently we have been fortunate to work with several people interested in helping us take the band to the next level.  Meanwhile we keep writing, recording and rehearsing for upcoming shows and our next EP.

What music are each of you listening to the most right now?

We are listening to all types of music right now. We have been listening to the classic blues as usual: Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, BB King, RL Burnside and Son House. We recently have been influenced by more heavy or psychedelic acts such as: Early Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Reignwolf, Ty Segall, tonstartssbandht, King Gizard and The Lizard Wizard.


Thanks to Johnny Conqueroo for taking the time for this interview – if you’re interested in seeing them perform soon, you can see them at the following times and places:

(TODAY) Saturday, October 17th at 8:30 PM at the South Side Pub (Free + All Ages)

Saturday, October 24th at 3:00 PM at the Feeders Cup Food Festival 

Wednesday, November 25th at 9:00 PM on WRFL-Live!

Find Johnny Conqueroo on the internet: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ben Southworth – October 13th, 2015 – Kenwick Place

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