Touring as the opening act for Hedley, partying every night like a rockstar and never having to put a math economics degree into action: there are a lot of perks to being the frontman for the ska-punk band The Johnstones.
But the biggest coup resulting from signing on, as an EMI/Stomp Record recording artist is Ryan Long’s burgeoning career as a filmmaker.
“It’s been a lucky break for my video career,” he says cheekily, referring to his YouTube.com junkie ways.
Long is using his rising stardom of The Johnstones to levy his “talents” as a handi-cam operator. His YouTube antics, found at youtube.com/phatbredrens, are sort of the Oscar anti-Christ with the hoodlum of tighty-whitey-clad boys posting the most ludicrous things they can think of at 5 a.m. in between show and road time out in the middle of nowhere.
YouTube is the new marketing machine of music and anything else that can be posted on the web.
One image of a band member smoking an entire pack of smokes (literally with cigarettes and cardboard box hanging out of his mouth) gives viewers not only an idea about where The Johnstones sense of humour lies, but in the kind of music that is going to be crashing in along with it.
And most of the time, their music is charging along as a soundtrack behind the tomfoolery.
So it was no wonder, The Johnstones were the perfect opening act for equal-punkers and pranksters Hedley who are coming to Whistler as part of the Whistler World Cup Feb. 21 to 23.
For three nights, live concerts will turn up the volume on Whistler Village with Canada’s biggest chart toppers dialing up free outdoor shows on the World Cup mainstage located in Skier’s Plaza.
DJ Shortfuse and Black Swade will kick the series off Thursday, Feb. 21 at 2:30 p.m. DJ Foxy Moron will warm up the crowds before The Johnstones step up to the mic at 3:45 p.m. followed by Hedley at 4:45 p.m. The music line up wraps up on Saturday, Feb. 23 with DJ Vinyl Ritchie at 2:30 p.m., Shad at 3:45 p.m. and K-os at 4:45 p.m.
Long and his band can’t wait to tear up the stage as well as a few runs on the mountains. The Ontario boys just returned from an almost two-month tour of California and Canada – some of the dates with Hedley.
“We are kind of at a crossroad period,” Long said. “We get a lot of radio and video play, but we haven’t crossed over to a larger audience where everyone knows who we are. The Hedley shows were really large. A lot of them with 2,500 people so it really got our music out there. We’ve got a lot of new fans these days.”
Sunny Days is the latest hit single cranked out by The Johnstones. However, it was the re-release of their album Word is Bond with the new single Gone For A Long Time that really put this band on the map. The band was signed by Stomp Records and managed by Zack Werner (the mean judge from Canadian Idol). MTV appearances, heavy rotation on the Much Music countdown and a spot on the Vans Warped Tour helped the band leach their infectious ska-punk sound into everyone’s frontal lobes, North America wide with trumpets leading the way.
“We have a horn section,” he said. “It’s kind of punk with a light reggae influence. It’s not so much fast and hard, but fast and light.”
Think Rancid or No Doubt – in tighty-whities.
Besides, their myspace.com site only allowed the band to pick two genres in their profile, so ska and punk songs bemoaning girls and heralding good times it was.
“All of the songs are about partying and girls,” he said. “We live out the life we sing about.”
So join the free party.