Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
John Santiago (aka Johnny) - lead vocals & Guitar
Erik Neuberger (aka Erkwon) - bass & vocals
Ryan Adams (aka healthy adult son) - Drums
Danny Kenny - Drums/secret ops
For starters, tell us about yourself! What bands were you guys a part of prior to Johnny & the Bootlegs (if any)? How long has the band been around?
John Santiago is an NYC singer/songwriter who has performed with a number of artists including Chris Stills, Of Clocks and Clouds, Babyllon, The Cooke Band, Emily Angel, Charlie Red and more. In the late 2000’s Santiago fronted pop-rock outfit, The Mellow SpaceShips, alongside Mr. Cotter (now of Teach Me Human) and not long after, a short lived group, The LoverJacks, whose recorded material still has yet to surface, despite having played many NY shows.
Erik Neuberger has been writing songs and performing in Carmel, NY since the late 2000’s and has been performing professionally since his part in founding Johnny & the Bootlegs.
Ryan Adams, the youngest member of the group and recent college graduate, is experiencing his first taste of live performance, outside of formal training in younger years, with the Bootlegs.
What’s the origin of the bands name?
On a Monday night in late May of 2015, John, Erik & Danny joined in a backyard barn of Carmel, NY (at Danny's family property). Dan and Erik had been brewing beer from the property on their free time and offered John a taste. With adulation, John was impressed and satisfied, calling them, "a couple of real bootleg motherfu%$ers". At that point, Johnny & the Bootlegs were born.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
It’s about half and half. John writes a lot of the material and brings it to the band, allowing it to grow from there. There are some tunes that are born strictly from the gathering of energy, brought to a session by each individual. The topics vary but have a great deal to do with not taking ourselves too seriously and having a good time, mixed with moments of pensive reality. Love, sex, beer, good times, loss and women are means to telling a story that both expresses the dichotomy of all things. John thinks too much and puts it into his lyrics, basically...
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Green Day are the classics that inspire us.
Gary Clark Jr, JD McPherson, The Black Keys, Left Lane Cruiser & Rival Sons (def more but ya know...)
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
The music Video for “Under the Bridge” by RHCP made me want to create and express myself through music and visual representation of myself. -Johnny
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, rituals, etc …
A few push ups and play the blues on my guitar. - Johnny
Drink a solid pint. - Erkwon
Kind’ve just chill and make sure john is wearing the right colors... -Ryan
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
We had an amazing time playing for the celebration of Lagunitas’ merger with Heineken. Those guys that run that company are really chill and down to earth. On top of that, they love music and really support the arts. We got to open for Son Little at those shows and he’s been making some really great music. We have a lot of excitement for our EP release show on Thursday, May 10th at Coney Island Baby, a brand new independent music venue on Avenue A in NYC. The independent scene is dwindling in NYC and to perform at a Jesse Malin venue for our release how is super exciting, so we anticipate that taking the cake!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
PAST : ZZ Top
They were just down home kinda dudes like us. Good times and blues rock is the idea for us.
PRESENT : Gary Clark Jr
He’s keeping the tradition of the blues alive and really creating a platform for Blues rock to rise again. Everything is cyclical and this dude is the turnaround!! ..... not to mention his music is phenomenal. Johnny is a huge fan of the track “Numb” off of the Live in North America album.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Y’all are kick ass for reading this and we’re really fortunate to be NYC natives that love playing a style of music lesser appreciated at a lesser level of fame, in the city. We do our best to keep it alive and bring our unique blend of Blues•Punk•Rock to the table of enjoyment.