Johnny Unicorn and his marathon recording session!

Many of you will know Johnny Unicorn as an artist featured on several of the awesome Phideaux Xavier’s greatest musical moments. He also has a rich catalogue of his own mostly quirky and always interesting music. His album Angels In The Oort Cloud was one of my favourites from 2014!

And he’s about to extend his catalogue significantly by performing a marathon recording session from 4am on the 31st of December to 4am on January 1st.
Madness? Probably, but no doubt lots of fun to be had.

So if you’re the type of person that can’t pretend that an incremental change in an arbitrary measurement of an abstract concept such as time is more worthy of faux celebration than any other, you may yet find solace with Johnny at his YouTube channel

Johnny Unicorn: A Bit of History

Earlier today, before a quick hike in the Rockies with my kids, I asked Johnny Unicorn (in reality: John Adams; but not the former president) to give me a bit of history of himself.  He very kindly sent the following (below).  As some of you might remember, I was really taken with his previous release–SADNESS AND COMPANIONSHIP.

sadness and companionship

The forthcoming, ANGELS IN THE OORT CLOUD, looks even more interesting.  As I mentioned at the time of the first release, I think that Johnny Unicorn embraces the spirit of PHISH–wacky, innovative, and yet always very serious about the art.

Here’s what Mr. Unicorn wrote today (a huge thanks to him for taking the time!):


“Johnny Unicorn” has been my solo project since 2006.

2006, 2007, 2008 – “Dates Or Non-dates”, “Riversongs”, and “Put Your Mind Inside My Mouth”

    JU was the only member of the recorded or live band except for occasional live backing vocalists (Audri the Great, Joy Moore) and one show with a full band (Jabari Parker on drums, Joel Weinstein on bass, and Audri and Joy on backing vocals).

2010 – “Sweet Edith Manton” 

    JU recruited old friend Jason Campbell to play drums on the album. Toured the Northern U.S. as a one-piece

2011 – “Thinking Hard To Overcome Nervousness” 

    Lots of guest musicians played on the album. JU toured the U.S. again as a one-piece. Later in the year, Naomi Smith and Jesse Mercury (formerly Plack)( joined the live band on synth and drums respectively.  Roy Garcia played drums in the live band also in 2011.

2012 – West coast tour with Plack, Smith, and Unicorn (playing JU songs and Jesse Mercury songs) plus Autumn Electric.

2013 – “Sadness And Companionship” – Album recorded with just two musicians, JU and Naomi Smith. After successful Kickstarter campaign, Max Steiner joins live band as guitarist, and Ian Steiner replaces Jesse on drums for another Northern U.S. tour.

The forthcoming album from Johnny Unicorn.
The forthcoming album from Johnny Unicorn.

2014 – “Angels In the Oort Cloud” – Album recorded with a handful of guest musicians, including “Edith Manton” drummer Jason Campbell. Chris Barrios joins live band on drums. Max Steiner moves to Germany.

2015 and beyond – “Heavy Jugs To the Moon” is a 25-27 song double album that includes a horde of guest musicians, including all current live band members and many past members, and people i met on the internet. The songs are in a dramatic range of styles and they are all relatively short. The following album “Indentations” will be a four song album (all over 15 minutes) and will only include the current live band members and possibly some piped in guitar from overseas, except for one song that is a string quartet with vocals. Following this album, I am writing an album for jazz orchestra. In the interest of saving my ears, future JU tours will most likely be acoustic. After that, it’s all just vague ideas that will solidify as soon as room is freed up in my brain.

I am currently actively working with the following bands:

Horace Pickett ( since 2011

Autumn Electric ( since 2012

Phideaux ( since 2007

johnny unicorn image


What an amazing person.  Again, thank you, Johnny, for taking the time!  To pre-order the new cd, click here.

Johnny Unicorn–Aerobic Prog

johnny unicornYou know that Prog–as a genre–is healthy and thriving when a band can devote itself to what it calls “progressive rock exercise.”  Yes, I’m not joking.  Yesterday, a review copy of a new cd, Sadness and Companionship, arrived from Seattle in the Progarchy mailbox.

The CD consists of four songs–two 14-plus minute songs and a radio-length remix of each.

How to describe this?  I’ve only given it one listen, but it’s. .  . fun.  Really fun.  Imagine a lot of mid-80s acts such as Madness, Yaz, Erasure, B-Movie, or Pet Shop Boys, and then prog them up.

A card accompanying the CD states:

Johnny Unicorn has been making progressive rock, art pop, and silly music since childhood.  He currently operates out of Seattle, WA, where he performs with his three-piece band, which is made up of songwriter Jesse Plack, and keyboardist Naomi Adele Smith (Autumn Electric).  Johnny Unicorn also performs and recordes with Phideaux (L.A.) and Horace Pickett (Seattle).

The packaging, by the way, is rather charming.  The cd packaging incorporates lots of houndstooth mixed with bright yellows, funny glasses, vicious looking animals, and what appears to be a Darwinian evolutionary chart from fish to man to alien to death to devils.  I wouldn’t decorate my house in it, but I do like it.  It’s playfully quirky.

To listen to the music online, click here.