John Mahon has spoken with the Associated Content Web site. . . .
I understand that you chose to become a drummer at around age twelve when your father took you to Canton Ohio Police Boys Club and you signed up for the Drum and Bugle Corp. I also understand that, throughout your young years, you were extremely active in the performing ensembles offered by your schools. How did these experiences shape you as a music fan and as a performer?
Participation in the school music programs broadened my musical experiences. I was exposed to many different genres of music that I would never have heard or played if not for the school bands. Of course, we played marches but there were classical pieces and even some contemporary compositions. Another part is the choir which was a good way to learn pitch and ensemble singing.
These programs teach a musician to play with an ensemble, take constructive criticism, and be motivated by your fellow band members.
Is anyone else in your family musically inclined?
My father sang and played trumpet. My uncle was a Big Band singer and my grandfather played guitar.
How did you come to be part of the acclaimed Elton John Band?
I met Davey Johnstone after he heard a recording I was working on with Bob Birch whom I have known and played with for many years since moving to LA. I did some recording for Davey and Guy Babylon, and not long after that session, Davey asked me to audition for Elton’s band.
I’ve read on your personal Web site that you spend some of your free time writing and recording your own original songs. Can you describe how you approach the mysterious task of songwriting and tell us a bit about your original music?
My music, I suppose, is pop based with a soul/jazz influence. I like to write lyrics first most of the time. Sometimes I will just come up with a musical motif or loop that I like writing around. I write all kinds of music – soundtrack, electronic, organic – even some kid’s music. I think all these influences have put me in the musical blender! Of course I love drums and percussion based music – who doesn’t?
Asked about his own ambitions, the musician, who also plays piano, replied:
”Elton is touring almost constantly. I plan to continue writing lyrics and songs. I just played drums and percussion on some smooth jazz tracks for a new artist Ja Nya Sol. I’m producing and playing some music with a friend in Ohio, David Marchione, who is extremely talented. We are doing experimental soundtrack music right now. As always, listening, learning, and keeping the darn computer working!”