Still Drink' & Smokin' [book excerpt] - Chris Harford

Still Drink' & Smokin' [book excerpt] - Chris Harford

One of the most popular acts currently at John & Peter's is Chris Harford with Band of Changes. Chris talks about finding J&P's, and local musician Ian Everett of Solid Bronze describes the support Chris gives other musicians. What follows is an excerpt from the chapter dedicated to Chris Harford. 

Chris Harford: I'm the youngest of four so I grew up on my brothers and sisters record collections. When I heard about John & Peter’s I heard that The Chambers Brothers played there. And I was like, “That sounds incredible! What is this place?”  When I finally made it to check it out it’d have already been in the mid-80s.  I was already a musician playing in bands. I’d started a band that moved to Boston. Then when I was coming home to this area back to visit family and friends I decided let's go to John and Peter’s.

There might have been a line of motorcycles out front, 30 or 40 of them. It was kind of scary to be in there. It was really intense, look at all these different types of people, all hanging out together in this tiny little bar.

In the ‘90s I started playing there regularly. As a musician playing at John & Peter’s is a fantastic way to cut your teeth. For a long time, I don't know if they had any monitors, they do now. If it’s packed in there and people are talking, it’s a challenge. You had to rise above that to try to get it happening. It's a good training ground, to learn how to sing without monitors, people talking and whatnot. It sort of weeds out the musicians that get really upset by that.

Ian Everett (Solid Bronze, musician): One of the first times I stepped foot in John & Peter’s was the Thanksgiving Chris Harford Band of Changes show. It was a transformative experience, seeing a completely packed three-hour show.  It was eye and mind opening; Chris was playing with Mickey Melchiondo, Dave Dreiwitz, and a bunch of other people. People would keep getting up on stage. Chris would do something else then they’d join in. I remember being awestruck. Seeing him play put it into perspective that this place is the best of both worlds. We wanted to play here. It’s like a grandpa's basement bar and a legitimate venue that people go to all at once. Harford supported the hell out of us. Mickey helped us too. It’s definitely the feeling of love here as far as helping our musical identity grow, and what it means to be playing in front of as many people as we can cram into this little can of a place.

Interested? Still Drinkin' & Smokin' is available for pre-order now

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