With a playlist that includes tunes from Frankie Yankovic to Stevie Ray Vaughan, it is safe to say that The Joey Johnson Band may be the most eclectic band in the Twin Cities today. Combining over 80 years of experience in the music industry, Joey, Sam and Trax know exactly what you want to hear. Whether you are burning calories dancing to the ten minute polka medley or singing along with Sweet Caroline to end the night, it won’t take long to realize that The Joey Johnson Band is in the business of Fun.
All hailing from a range of musical backgrounds Joey Johnson, Sam Johnson and Greg Traxler (Trax) each bring a distinct array of talents and experiences to the stage. Joey began his life long career in the entertainment industry playing guitar and banjo when barely into his teens. In no time at all he was touring the country with acts such as America'a Polka King Frankie Yankovic and working in the house band at Mancini's Char House in St Paul. In the mid '90's, Joey made the switch to the accordion because, as he says, “there’s better money and more free beer playing the accordion.” His new foray led him to Alpenrose, a Bavarian show band in which Trax was the drummer. Trax spent years cutting his teeth on drums with the likes of Hot Rod and the Heartbreakers and the Crops, even performing at Carnegie Hall with Gene Pitney. Standing in front of Trax in Alpenrose allowed Joey to hone his squeezebox skills while forging a musical friendship that continues today. During those Alpenrose days, it was not unusual to see a younger Sam roaming backstage, selling t-shirts or running the bubble machine as he tagged along with his dad to gigs all around the Midwest. Saxophone was his first love but at the age of 15 Sam got sucked into the guitar world. “I grew up watching my dad play and wishing I could be up there with him” Sam explains, “Now, that kid inside me still gets excited before every gig.”
3 guys sharing good times and good music.
Watch what happens.
Photographer: Luke Nygaard