The Swinging Johnsons, a.k.a. the Johnson Brothers, is a club/G.B. (general business) band based in the Boston area. In our heyday we averaged about 200 dates a year. Most of you will remember us from our regular residencies, Thursdays at the Burren (2001-2009), Fridays at the Skellig (2003-2011), and Sundays at the Green Dragon (1998-2009) (as well as the over 700’s weddings we’ve performed at over the last 17 years).
As of late, we’ve been performing more at private events and functions, but we still book the occasional special club date to keep in touch with our fan base. We’ve always enjoyed playing weddings and corporate parties, as they give us even more of a chance to play music from the different eras.
The band still specializes in bridging the gap between the traditional wedding band and the crazy, high-energy club band. Our strength is that we have a working repertoire of over 2,000 songs, spanning the length and breadth of American popular music over the last six decades. The SJs / JBs are a unique musical entity that can effortlessly and spontaneously go from one end of the musical rainbow to the other. There are hundreds of generic wedding bands out there, but there’s only one Swinging Johnsons / Johnson Brothers.
About our Two Names
The Swinging Johnsons and the Johnson Brothers are the same band. The only difference between the two is whether or not we’re adding our fourth and fifth members (keys and sax), and whether or not we’re wearing suits and being well-paid. Seriously, we started using The Johnson Brothers for wedding/corporate events because it seemed less offensive (“No daughter of mine is going to have a band called the Swinging Johnsons play at her wedding,” etc.). The reason we still use both names is that we’ve done a lot of good work under each one, and we want people to be able to find us when they need us.
At the heart of the band are the “dueling” Chris’s, namely, Chris Marsh (bass and vocals), and Chris Leadbetter (guitar and vocals). These two recently celebrated their 3,000th gig together over a 16-year period, an amazing four gigs a week on average. Their enormous repertoire and telepathic connection are a testament to these years together in the trenches. Fearlessly following them into battle are Perry James on drums and vocals, Dave Ramsay on keyboards, and Bob Kirby on saxophone and vocals.
(Don’t fall for the “bigger band is better” myth. The average wedding band tries to make up for what they lack in energy and spontaneity by adding a huge horn section, a couple of American Idol-rejects on vocals, and some matching vests. The five-piece SJ’s/JB’s is popular because it is a real band of musicians, each of whom is carrying his own weight on stage, and is always “in the moment” whenever and wherever it performs.)