Johnny and the Moles is a band steeped in the great American musical traditions of jazz, blues, funk, New Orleans second line, and rock n’ roll . With a Tuba and Drums driven rhythm section their music has a whimsical vibrancy rooted in groove, immediacy, and uncompromising authenticity. A band that leans forward while never forgetting the giants on whose shoulders they stand.
The story behind the formation of Johnny and the Moles has its origins in the subways of New York City. Former Reptet band-mates Izaak Mills (sax) and Nelson Bell (tuba) were busking in the underground tubes of Brooklyn and mused to each other that they would have an incredible little band if they included their former band-mate John Ewing on drums and vocals. They vowed to make this happen the next time Izaak (now a New York resident) visited Seattle. Soon after they were offered a gig. When the venue requested the band name to advertise, Nelson suggested “Johnny and the Moles” and so It stuck. The Tuba/Drums driven groove sounded so distinct that Nelson and John decided to keep the project going. Instead of replacing Izaak with a permanent member, they came up with a plan to have rotating horn players every month. This process has allowed them to play with some of the best horn players in town as well as have Izaak in the band whenever he visits. Soon after, The Moles began their current three year residency at the Backdoor at Roxy’s in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, playing sets leaning heavy on their Jazz and Blues influences with a funky New Orleans flavor.
About a year later they invited another Reptet alum Stefan Nelson to sit-in with them on keyboards and voice. Adding Keys and another vocalist further evolved the sound and lead toward writing original material. In 2016 guitarist Mark Lerro joined the band and the final piece of the puzzle was in place forming a solid rhythm section with a unique sonic identity.
Johnny and the Moles play an off-the-beaten-path musical style rooted in Blues, Jazz, and Funk. Incorporating a rotating cavalcade of top notch Northwest horn players as they unconventionally interpret traditional music and create unique original music that is appealing, approachable and infectious. Look for their debut record coming in early 2018.
Johnny and the Moles are currently playing:
nightclubs, concert halls, private parties and public events.
*See website for booking info.