One-man band comes to AACC


Photo by Cameron Terrlonge

Gary Johnson performed on Oct. 9 at AACC.

Daniel Salomon, Reporter

A one-man band entertained a lunch-time audience in the SUN dining hall on Oct. 9.

Gary Johnson, who goes by the stage name GJ Solo, improvised a variety of songs based on suggestions from the audience.

He played songs such as “Stacey’s Mom,” “Barbie Girl,” “No Diggity” and “Billie Jean” using guitar, his voice and various effects pedals.

“The fact that he can mix and mash so many songs is awesome,” broadcast journalism major Jonathan Fears said. “He makes it look easy … I didn’t know there were such a variety of vocal effects.”

Johnson said he has been playing music since his father, who was a bassist, taught him to play guitar at about 4 years old. His mother, who he called a “nasty awesome drummer,” taught him to play piano as well.

He said he was not a good singer as a child stating, “I wasn’t good at it, it didn’t come easy, it still doesn’t come easy, but I just work really hard at it.”

He said he’s played crowds ranging from 100 people to 35,000 people.

“I think it’s a pretty cool experience. The way he uses the effects to layer and build up to the song is really cool,” freshman athletic training major Alicia Worrell said.

Last semester the Campus Activities Board, who coordinate many of the activities held on campus, went to a convention hosted by the National Association for Campus Activities in which they found and booked Johnson.

He said he very much prefers smaller venues to bigger stadiums saying “You gotta do what you do … I let myself be vulnerable. I’m just being real.”

He also wanted to give advice to up and coming musicians saying, “I’m a firm believer that you fall as quickly as you rise. If you skip a step on the way up, you’re going to skip that step on the way down.”

“It’s lunch; you don’t expect much, but it’s here. His use of effects is really unique and smart,” freshman history major Emily Bailey said about the performance.




Photo by Cameron Terrlonge