They don’t call him ‘Funky’ John Blackwell for nothing! With a really big groove and chops to match, John Blackwell Jr. grew up listening to a lot of music. Everything from James Brown to Gino Vannelli, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Sly Stone, big band, rock, jazz, blues… he liked it all.
Plus his dad, John Balckwell Sr. was a drummer. A fine drummer. So John’s initiation into drumming was a natural evolution. So keen was he that his practicing would include showmanship… in his bedroom, with his drums lit up, he practiced being on the big stage in front of thousands of fans.
After attending the famed Berklee College of Music he hit the road with Larry Blackmon and Cameo, digging into classic chart grooves and getting lots of experience. Next was chart topper Patti LaBelle. And then along came Prince. With his exuberant style, his funky feel, and exhibitions of stick spinning that set the crowd wild, he was the ideal choice for one of the most demanding musical bosses in the industry.
Debuting on The Rainbow Children and touring the world with Prince has not only taken John out to the world, it has brought the world to him. Now he plays on the big stage in front of thousands of fans. And when they hear him play, he makes their day.