Since the day Rod Johnson was born his parents forced music upon him. If you look through his baby photos you will see images of him holding toy plastic guitars, microphones, drum sticks...and himself. It is with a tear in his eye he recalls how, at age 4, he learnt how to read music, and by 5 was writing his own elaborate music scores. At age 6 he had his first big break when he performed live on "Soon To Be Washed Up" a TV show for kids that are so freakishly talented that no-one will know or care who they are in 12 months time. When Rod performed on the show, The New York Daily Times was quoted as saying, "Not since Mozart has there been a child with talent so freakish!" and so Rod's rollercoaster ride through the world of classical music began.
By age 7 he had been dubbed a "child protege" and was performing his original music scores to sold-out audiences in such venues as Carnegie Hall and the London Palladium. But by age 10 it had become apparent that Rod had burnt himself out. He had been touring relentlessly for over 3 years and was now looking to broaden his musical horizons.
It was around 1987 that 12-year-old Rod Johnson decided it was time to sport the infamous "mullet" hairdo. This was brought around by new a taste for bad 80s hair bands. He was now taking most of his influence from bands like Guns n' Roses, Poison, AC/DC and Kiss. It was one night in a packed-out stadium while singing along to AC/DC's classic tune "Back in Black" that Rod realised what he believed to be his true calling in life. He decided it was time to start a band.
It took about Rod a year until he was happy with the mix in his first band, "The Bad Guys". He had recruited three of his good friends from round his local area, they were: Kris Roe on guitar, Josh Freese on drums and Mike Burkett played bass. The band practiced hard and scored their first gig opening for another local band, "Lagwagon". It was around this time that the bass player Mike's other band "NoFX" was beginning to gain tremendous popularity. He left The Bad Guys with the reason that he no longer had time for two bands and NoFX was headed more in the direction he wonted to go.
But this did not spell the end for The Bad Guys. They recruited a new bass player, known only by the name Roj. Roj had just moved in across the street from Rod and they got on like a house on fire...until they were both locked away in juvenile detention for arson. The two new friends vowed that wehn they got out The Bad Guys would get back together and rock harder and faster than ever.
It was in juvie that Rod met his first girlfriend, and it was the classic tale of girl meets boy, boy stalks girl and gets shifted to maximum security. Now separated from his best friend Roj, Rod was forced to fight on his own. When he re-emerged to society to find that his fellow Bad Guys had all moved onto new things, the effect was devastating. Roj was now playing with some guys calling themselves Less Than Jake, Josh Freese had become a Vandal and Kris Roe had moved to Santa Barbara. Subsequently Rod locked himself in his room watching only pornographic movies and eating beer nuts until one day he read in the paper of an audition for a new pop group.
Rod took the first plane to London and auditioned for a new group called The Spice Girls; he was the only male member of the all girl group and management decided that it would be best for him to leave. So after his 15 minutes of fame in each of The Spice Girls, Rod left London and headed for Wellington. Once he had arrived there he met many new people who were intrigued by his life story, none more so than one of Rod's Massey University class mates, Dave. Dave was a young aspiring classical guitarist who was being corrupted by a good friend, Red, a drummer with an interest in punk rock. Rod and Red met and after an initial tension quickly became good friends. They decided to form a band but lacked one vital ingredient, a bass player. Dave said he knew someone who played bass and thought would fit in the mix perfectly. This was Steve. Steve was the most perverted person Rod had ever met, so they got along well and spent many nights drinking beer and watching porno.
So the band was formed, but required a name. Many suggestions and possibilities floated round but the band couldn't find that perfect name. It was not until one day the band was driving along when Steve said he had a dream. Red and Dave both wondered which one of their mothers this dream would be about, but were both pleasantly surprised to find out it was about their first gig. Steve said he dreamed that they played and after their set some guy was talking to Rod, mentioned that he was glad he had seen them play and was proud to say he had received "The Rod Johnson Experience"! The band finally had a name and continued to work.
Everything was going fine until early 2000, when Rod said he was sick of music. This came as a shock to the other three and they thought nothing of it. This was until they went to pick Rod up for practice and found a good-bye note. It said, "Guys, I'm really sorry to do this to you, but my hart is no longer in music. I hope we can still be friends and will one day remember our days together as The Rod Johnson Experience fondly. As you read this I'm probably on the plane to LA, where I hope to fill my life-long dream of being a porn star. Please don't hate me, it's just what I have to do for me. Good luck guys, Rod" and so his letter ends.
The other guys tried not to be to down in the dumps about this and Dave said he would take up the vocal responsibilities. They continued to work hard and practice and have since played shows with some of Wellington's finest; bands like Royal Rumble, The Offbeats, Dirk Drent and Channel Thirteen.
Despite an up-and-down ride, the three friends have managed to stick together and continued to play the music that they so dearly love.
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