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Johnny "V" Vernazza to perform at Iwakuni Summer Music in Japan on September 21

On September 21, blues guitarist Johnny Vernazza will perform at the Iwakuni Summer Music Festival, held at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan.

On September 21, blues guitarist Johnny Vernazza will perform at the Iwakuni Summer Music Festival, held at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan.

Vernazza previously performed in 2011 at this event, which is held annually at the Air Base as a way to thank their host city. For this trip he’ll be accompanied by bassist Jim Reeves, keyboardist / singer Mark Bentley and drummer Tyler Eng. Vernazza and the band will spend three days in Japan, with a day each way for travel.

Best known for his work with the Elvin Bishop Group during their 1970’s heyday, Vernazza never toured outside North America at the time. “After I left Elvin, he did go to Japan,” Vernazza said. “When I was in the band, we toured the U.S. and in Canada for eight years. We played an average of 290 shows a year. There were too many big concerts at that time in North America for us to go elsewhere”

He considers the blues to be popular in Japan, but only to a point. “My new album, Lions & Thieves, is getting airplay there, but they love all genres’ of music,” Vernazza said. “ In fact, these gigs remind me of the way festivals were in the late 60’s and 70’s when we would do shows with E.L.O. or Rod Stewart. They were just concerts and not “blues” or genre specific. It was just music lovers loving music.”

He notes the band will be traveling light to this event. “We’re taking as little as possible,” he said. “I’ll bring just one guitar and use a couple there for my E and G tunings. My bass player is using a bass over there as well as keys and amps. They had a great back line last time, we’re talking Japan here.”

Despite more security at airports since his seventies tour peak, Vernazza doesn’t consider it too difficult to get gear through customs. “That parts not too hard, but dragging instruments around the airport is. Tokyo is one big airport and to get though customs and then to your gate takes a while.”

Although Vernazza has made his name as a guitarist, that was actually his second choice of instrument.”I was playing accordion and gigging, doing that at 10 years old,” he recalled. “I do remember seeing Elvis, etc. That made me want the guitar hanging on my accordion teachers wall. No one cool was playing accordion on TV at that time,” Vernazza said.

Johnny "V" Vernazza photo by Sandra Castillo

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On September 21, blues guitarist Johnny Vernazza will perform at the Iwakuni Summer Music Festival, held at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan.

Vernazza previously performed in 2011 at this event, which is held annually at the Air Base as a way to thank their host city. For this trip he’ll be accompanied by bassist Jim Reeves, keyboardist / singer Mark Bentley and drummer Tyler Eng. Vernazza and the band will spend three days in Japan, with a day each way for travel.

Best known for his work with the Elvin Bishop Group during their 1970’s heyday, Vernazza never toured outside North America at the time. “After I left Elvin, he did go to Japan,” Vernazza said. “When I was in the band, we toured the U.S. and in Canada for eight years. We played an average of 290 shows a year. There were too many big concerts at that time in North America for us to go elsewhere”

He considers the blues to be popular in Japan, but only to a point. “My new album, Lions & Thieves, is getting airplay there, but they love all genres’ of music,” Vernazza said. “ In fact, these gigs remind me of the way festivals were in the late 60’s and 70’s when we would do shows with E.L.O. or Rod Stewart. They were just concerts and not “blues” or genre specific. It was just music lovers loving music.”

He notes the band will be traveling light to this event. “We’re taking as little as possible,” he said. “I’ll bring just one guitar and use a couple there for my E and G tunings. My bass player is using a bass over there as well as keys and amps. They had a great back line last time, we’re talking Japan here.”

Despite more security at airports since his seventies tour peak, Vernazza doesn’t consider it too difficult to get gear through customs. “That parts not too hard, but dragging instruments around the airport is. Tokyo is one big airport and to get though customs and then to your gate takes a while.”

Although Vernazza has made his name as a guitarist, that was actually his second choice of instrument.”I was playing accordion and gigging, doing that at 10 years old,” he recalled. “I do remember seeing Elvis, etc. That made me want the guitar hanging on my accordion teachers wall. No one cool was playing accordion on TV at that time,” Vernazza said.

Johnny "V" Vernazza photo by Sandra Castillo

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