Biography

Whether as a solo artist, guitarist/producer with Mark Lanegan or bassist for Dinosaur Jr., the talented Mike Johnson has always been an active part of the indie rock scene. Starting in 1985 with the melodic punk combo SNAKEPIT he sang and played the guitar with that group for five years. In that time they released material locally in Eugene, OR, but late in 1989 they broke up. Also in 1989 Johnson began working with Mark Lanegan, becoming the instrumental force behind his solo albums. He co-wrote, co-produced and played the majority of the guitar on Lanegan's the Winding Sheet, Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, Scraps at Midnight and Field Songs albums. Johnson met up with J Mascis in this time, and eventually found his way into Dinosaur Jr. as a bassist during their 1990/1991 tour. He contributed to the following album, 1993's Where You Been, and eventually outlasted original drummer Murph and became the only other member left besides Mascis. Johnson finally released a solo album (Where Am I?) in 1994. His material echoed the stark acoustic work he had done with Lanegan, and showcased his folky songwriting skills. The Dinosaur Jr. album Without a Sound came out around the same time, and Johnson's time was mostly taken up by his work with Mascis. But 1995/1996 was a busy time for the musician, as he released Year of Mondays, toured, and worked on an album with the band Juned. When Dinosaur Jr. came back together for their last record, Johnson was not as involved and was not surprised to see the band split in 1998. He turned his attention to his solo effort I Feel Alright and more work with Lanegan, but surprisingly took an invitation from Caustic Resin to work on their new album. Their collaboration, Trick Question, appeared in 1999. After more work with Mark Lanegan, he spent the next few years playing live gigs with his various collaborators and putting together his next album, 2002's What Would You Do, an effort inspired by the tragic passing of friend and founder of the Up label Chris Takino. After four years of relative inactivity, Johnson returned with his rawest, most guitar-driven album to date,2006's powerful Gone Out of Your Mind. ~ Bradley Torreano, All Music Guide