The Johnnies 2001: Keep on Rocking in the Free World

Let’s make 2001 the year in rock our parents warned us about.
Contact me at or just stop by the Senator!
For every band in Chico, there is at least one story that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand in remembrance. For example, take the longest-running metal band in town, Fallon. Not only have they been banned from playing every bar in Chico (though the band has outlasted most of the clubs), after they played the old Sports Club years ago, by the railroad tracks, it burned down.

But no band holds more of a legendary status in town than Bone Gruel. Love them or hate them, few stand in the middle.

Perhaps it’s their notorious stage show. Ask any Chico old-timer lucky enough to be at the Annie awards in years past, and you will hear a tale worthy of Chico legendary stature. Seems good old Bone Gruel was unsure just what the sterile audience of art patrons expected, but when the band entered Laxson Auditorium led by a bevy of leather-clad nuns, the audience was mortified. Lead Singer Johnny Von Graves Esq. recalls the curtain came down and his bass cord looked severed! Whatever happened to the giant hook? And for that matter what happened to the Annies? The caring hand of Mary Gardner (who is opening a restaurant with her sister and Thomasin Saxe) helped the Annies along, but now that she is doing good things elsewhere, this year will see no Annies. Isn’t there anything worth rewarding in this town anymore? I think there is!

In the spirit of all that is fair, I am proud to announce that the 5th Annual Johnnies Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, from noon till two in the morning. The goal is to have every single band in Chico play! There will be an actual awards ceremony at 9 p.m., and all local musicians in town are invited to attend for free (no guest lists … aha) to share in the festivities. From 12-8 p.m. each band would play one song no longer than 10 minutes on the same equipment, and then we close for one hour to get ready for the awards ceremony.

If you want to help organize the biggest local music event of the year, please contact me. We will be giving awards for local music columns, radio shows, groupies, biggest fans, new releases, and achievement in furthering the scene. Get involved with making this a truly momentous show. Stand tall, Chico.