Erik "Johnny" Johnson
White Dog House
Eric "The Viper" Neuhauser
Joshua "Gorgeous" Borges
Erik & Jojo Johnson started the Flat Foot Floogies because they love listening and dancing to jump blues from the late ’40s and early ’50s. Live music is inseparable to swing dancing – in the days when this genre was popular, there was a great connection between dancers and the bands that were playing for them. The Johnsons have worked hard to assemble a group of like-minded people who are not only musicians but enthusiasts of the genre, style, and overall vibe of the era. The band brings together five musicians from a variety of backgrounds; this is the first time any of them have formed a group like this.
Erik “Johnny” Johnson studied jazz and classical guitar with Fred Benedetti, and played in San Diego punk rock bands throughout his life. His mother is a musical inspiration to him – she was a professional musician in the 1960s, who performed with such greats as Nat King Cole & Bobby “Blue” Bland with the USO. She taught him much about singing with soul. Johnny has also been an avid swing dancer since the early 1990s Swing Revival and wanted to create the band he would love to dance to. He wears out as many leather soles as he does guitar strings.
A classically trained pianist since the age of six, “Jojo” Johnson’s heart has always been drawn to boogie woogie piano. She spent her youth performing as a concert pianist at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. After meeting Johnny and discovering their mutual appreciation for swing music and early rock ‘n roll, she decided to pursue her life-long passion for boogie piano. Inspired by the sounds of Fats Waller, Meade Lux Lewis, and other boogie & stride pianists, Jojo is both excited and terrified to break free from the regimented boundaries of classical piano over to the playful style of boogie and stride piano.
Ryan “Smiley” White is a Coeur d’Alene native who co-founded the local punk rock band Scatterbox over 15 years ago. As a bassist, he has always appreciated that the roots of punk rock originated from early jazz and blues. Although the genres sound different, they are actually quite similar in progressions, scales, and even attitude at times. Ryan loves being able to put a smile on someone’s face while playing music.
Eric “The Viper” Neuhauser is the newest member of the Flat Foot Floogies. A large portion of his chops come from time spent touring and recording with the late great H-Bomb Ferguson. We are very fortunate that he moved to the Spokane area from Cincinnati; he is a multi-instrumentalist who gigs as a solo act frequently in the Spokane/Coeur d Alene area. It is an honor for all of us floogies to get to play with someone that directly links us to the rich origins of jump blues.
Josh “Gorgeous” Borges comes to the Floogies as a multi-instrumentalist, with a 20 + year background playing drums, guitar, and lap and pedal steel in a variety of bands. His musical endeavors started when he got his first drumset at the age of 11. His father played guitar professionally but Josh was only interested in drums. His earliest musical influences come from Buddy Rich on the Muppet show and old Jerry Lewis movies. These influences have led Josh to spend the last decade teaching music, as well as building and modifying instrumental gear. He strives to play music that has the inexplicable “it just feels right” groove.
The music that Johnny J & The Flat Foot Floogies play is about having fun. It’s about not taking life and ourselves too seriously, but instead enjoying songs about dancing, motorcycles, fish frys, and chickens … to name a few. Several of the songs that JJ & the FFFs play were written by Johnny in the early 1990s and are just now being debuted for the first time.
Besides playing music together, Johnny and Jojo build vintage cafe racer motorcycles. They started 59 Cafe Classic Motorbikes’ Vintage Motorcycle Group in the Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene area. Occasionally, you can even find JJ & The FFFs playing at their monthly Vintage Bike Night – bringing the best of both worlds – vintage motorbikes and swing music – together for an evening that will transport you right back to 1951.