John Bendy : Osiamo/Mooer Artist Update

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John Bendy was born in Brooklyn, New York October, 5 1980. He started playing guitar at age 10 and his first gig was a school talent show at age 12 after just 2 years of playing. Since then there have been hundreds upon hundreds of gigs and late night jams.

Early in the 2000s John was taken under the wing of blues masters Bill Perry and Popa Chubby. He also shared the stage with the Bendy Pastorius Group of which he was a founding member along with his brother Mike Bendy on bass and Julius Pastorius on the drums since 2007.

John played guitar on Chrissie O’Dell’s 2010 release “If I Had a Dime” which charted extremely well on blues music charts around the nation. Also in 2010 John started playing with the Hipster Assassins featuring Felix Pastorius and Mike Bendy on bass, Chris Ward on saxophone, Michael Purcell on piano and Kenny Growhowski on drums. The band would go on to have a two year Monday night residency at New York City’s Zinc Bar where John was able to share the stage with such luminaries Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) and Roy Hargrove.

2013 found John in Felix Pastorius’ The Social Experiment (1313) as well as the group Bendy Effect which he leads with his brother Mike.

Here’s a short YouTube playlist where you can hear some of John’s inventive guitar work. We’ve had him perform in our booth at NAMM, Brooklyn Guitar Show and have had the pleasure of catching him live numerous times at the 55 Bar and the Zinc Bar.


The story continues in 2014 and beyond. If you get a chance go see John play live.

John uses the Ana Echo, Hustle Drive, Ninety Orange, and Trelicopter, from the Mooer micro series.

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John Bendy Exclusive Interview

John Bendy and Mike Bendy1) Tell us about your musical background?

There was always music in the house. Neither one of my parents play instruments but they turned all three of us kids onto artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, Carlos Santana and Stevie Wonder. I remember being five and hearing Jimi’s version of the Star Spangled Banned. My brother and I would listen to it on repeat completely entranced by the sounds he was able to manifest through his instrument. My dad would blast Wilson Pickett’s version of ‘Hey Jude’ featuring Duane Allman on the guitar all over Brooklyn in his blue Ford Van. The first guitar player I remember hearing and realizing it was a guitar was Chuck Berry doing Johnny B Goode. Everyone in my family calls me Johnny, that was my cue.

I started playing guitar at around age ten or eleven. This was the early 1990’s so there was cool guitar stuff happening on MTV such as Nirvana, Metallica’s black album had just come out as well as Pantera’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’. I was able to dig into that and add that to my bag as well. It was about that same time that my brother and I heard Jaco Pastorius’ debut solo album which devastated us and led us to jazz. I also heard Stevie Ray Vaughan around that same time which led me to the three Kings as well as Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters. I love James Brown, Bob Marley and those old records by The Meters. I don’t discriminate. If it’s good and honest I’m all over it. I love it all.

2) What are you working on now?

The main goal from here on out is focusing on Bendy Effect, a group I lead with my brother. Since getting sober I’ve realized how much time I’ve squandered. It’s sad that in this business it’s the norm to be wasted on and off stage. Real musicians are conduits. The great stuff doesn’t come from you, it comes through you. Your vessel is merely the vehicle. It’s just that it’s easier for most people to get out of there own way after they indulge in chemicals. I’m here to tell you they are not necessary for any of the the magic to occur. You are not your body, you are the eternal light which illumines it.

3) What is the role of education in music?

I’ve had no formal education in music. I have taken a handful of lessons from a guitarist out of Warwick, NY named Jeff Ciampa when I was 18. He was at Berklee when Pat Metheny taught there for a minute in the 1970’s. He was one of Pat’s students. He turned me on to the Major scale and its modes, the Melodic and Harmonic minor and Diminished scales and the harmony behind them all. He put me to work big time. He opened my eyes to a lot of things that I am still working on fourteen years later. He taught me how to practice. Thank you Jeff.

Knowledge is power. Feed your head. Never stop learning. Never be satisfied but don’t beat yourself up too hard over it. There is information that you have to acquire in order to evolve. You can learn it in school or through a great private teacher but you still have to do the work. You get out what you put in. In school it’s all condensed. What might take you twenty years to acquire on a bandstand you get in four. But you still have to do the work. That said you can practice all you want on your own but where it counts is up on the stage in front of the audience. There are plenty of cats who sound amazing in their bedrooms but that don’t mean scat.

I was accepted to Berklee when I was twenty years old but didn’t have the scratch to go. The thought of being tens of thousands of dollars in debt frightened me. When I was twenty I met Michael Brecker and he told me “Take every gig that is offered to you. Every gig. You might be on a polka gig and the drummer might be a super bad mutha like Jeff Tain Watts” You dig!? So I really took that to heart and I took every gig that was offered to me and continue to do so. My motto is if you are the best player in the band you are in the wrong band. Loosing the fear of playing with great musicians when you have insecurities is imperative. We are humans first. The people that I have met that are the baddest killin muthas on the bandstand are some of the nicest cats I’ve ever met in my life.

4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?

It is what it is. My intention has never been to be some rich rock star. If I had been one in my 20’s I’d be dead already, no doubt in my mind. I want to make people feel the way I felt when I heard Jimi, and Stevie, and Jaco. My main focus has always been the gig and taking people to a place where they are bathed in sound and forget their problems and worries. If the music makes you shake your ass and gives you goosebumps my job is done. All that other stuff is your ego screaming for validation.

5) Why do use Mooer pedals?

Tone for days, and they don’t weigh down my gig bag like other pedals!!! Rawn is one of the nicest cats I’ve met and Mooer has been nothing but supportive since day one.

Exclusive Interview with Mike Bendy

Mike Bendy Ultra Strap

1) Tell us about your musical background?
Since I heard Jimi Hendrix play the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at the age of 4, I knew music was IT for me. My brother John Bendy started playing guitar a year before me; when my father asked me what instrument I wanted to pursue, to not totally copy my brother, I chose the electric bass.

My first bass hero was Cliff Burton of Metallica and about a year later I was introduced to Mr. Les Claypool. Things changed when I was 13 and discovered Jaco Pastorius… I haven’t been the same since. Through Jaco, I was introduced and inspired by a multitude of music from Jazz to Caribbean and everything in between. Being influenced by so many different styles of music and musicians, I developed my own personal identity as a musician.

2) What are you working on now?
Currently, I am a part of a slew of ideas and projects. I am working with keyboardist and composer Sean Wayland as well as an up and coming heavy metal band, Resolution15, which replaces the guitar with a 7-string electric violin. Besides my steady gigs with the Bendy Effect, and the Felix Pastorius Group (Hipster Assassins), which feature musicians such as Felix Pastorius, Julius Pastorius, John Bendy, Chris Ward, Kenny Grohowski, Michael Purcell, Ian Rapien, Devin Collins and William Tatge among many others. In my spare time, I compose as much as I can and am inspired by my amazingly beautiful and creative wife, Kate Bendy.

3) What is the role of education in music?
I do not have any formal education in music besides for my band teacher, Paul Myrusky, who taught me how to read music and theory. My music education began with my brother and I bouncing ideas off each other and starting numerous bands in our teens. From there I made a musical pilgrimage down to Florida to visit the grave of Jaco Pastorius… While I was down there I located his house in Deerfield Beach… When I finally garnered up the courage I knocked on his front door and Felix answered. Felix, Julius and I met a year before at Bass Day 2000 up in NYC, so we immediately connected from where we left off. Then soon after that Ingrid Pastorius took me under her wing and had me move in with the family… While living there I had the blessing of studying Jaco’s hand written charts and began my lifelong relationship with Julius and Felix. The other huge part of my music education was going to see both the Wayne Krantz Trio and David Binney Group weekly at the 55 Bar in the west village!!! Those groups really changed how I see, hear and play music.

4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
It’s show business… so there’s obviously gonna be a lot of bullshit surrounding the real meaning… creating and performing MUSIC. It used to bother me, now I know what is real and what is illusionary. You have to be true to yourself and as honest as possible when playing, all the other things should fall into place… EVENTUALLY 😉 Keep on improving and strive to be better every day.

5) Why do use Ultra Straps?
Ultra straps are extremely balanced and comfortable. Even with some of my heavier basses… everything is comfortable and easy on the back/shoulders. Why not use Ultra Straps??

Hipster’s Kill 55 Bar!

The Hipster Assassins bought their unique brand of fusion into the 55 Bar and took no prisoners. The bass tandem of Mike Bendy and Feliz Pastorius show and incredible knack of staying out of each others way. Mike used his UltraStrap playing his Xotic 5 string through Phil Jones Cabs. John Bendy tore up the night on guitar as usual. His combination of funk, blues and rock is perfect in this lineup. John employed his Mooer micro series Hustle Drive when he needed to turn it up a notch!

Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming gigs and check out their website:

http://hipsterassassins.com/home.cfm