While the band John the Conqueror began only a few years ago, the Legend of John the Conqueror is much older. It is a tale that has been around since the first slaves were brought from Africa, so it is a part of the story of the birth of America. John the Conqueror was a prince who was taken from his home and sold into slavery. He was beaten but he was never broken. He was placed in chains but his mind remained free. He was clever man who could deceive and delude his master at will. In some traditions, he is even said to have magical powers and to have tricked the devil after winning the heart of the his daughter.
Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, cousins Pierre Moore and Mike Gardner have traveled a long road with nothing more than unbreakable spirits and a little magic of their own. Their first stop was the University of Mississippi where school quickly took a back seat to their first band, “IZM”. But after a failed meeting with a small record label in Oxford Mississippi, the singer of the band left a note on their refrigerator saying, ‘Sorry, I took your lil bottle of whiskey’ and they never saw him again.
Beaten but unbroken, Pierre grabbed his guitar, Mike grabbed his bass and with a couple of suitcases in tow, they headed for Atlanta. Over the next three years, their new band, “The Slack Republic”, toured the east coast, but they again found themselves without a band when their singer abruptly moved to Brooklyn.
Beaten but unbroken, Pierre grabbed his guitar, Mike grabbed his bass and with a couple of suitcases in tow, they headed to Philly. After a few years fruitlessly searching for a singer who wouldn’t skip town when times were rough, they decided to stop relying on others. In December 2010, Mike sold his bass and bought a drum kit. Pierre bought a cheap microphone and plugged it into a practice amp. Like their good ol’ days back home, they were playing the blues! Within weeks of forming their two-piece juke group, they met Ryan Lynn.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Ryan had never played in a band but he’d recently picked up a bass and wouldn’t set it down. Not lacking confidence, Ryan asked the two if he could jam with them. Because Mike couldn’t play drums, Ryan couldn’t play bass and Pierre couldn’t sing, the first session only lasted a few minutes but the trio sat around drinking for hours. With little ability and a belly full of whiskey, John the Conqueror was officially a band.
The friendship came immediately and the music quickly followed. By combining musical elements from all the genres they loved, the songs poured out in an inspired fury. Only three months after meeting, John the Conqueror was on stage playing their own blend of the southern rock from their childhoods, the punk of their adolescence and the blues and soul that they had always held closely. They recorded two EP’s before July. They advanced to the Beta-Hi Finals at World Café Live by August. And with a little help from the fabled John the Conqueror magical powers, by their one year mark, Patrick Boiselle from Alive Naturalsound Records reached out to the band after having been forwarded a Youtube video of the first song they’d written, “Ain’t Comin Home”. With contracts signed, the group began writing their self-titled album and continued playing show after show. In July 2012, the trio began recording at ‘Retrocity Studios’ and ‘Jesse Gimbel‘s Basement‘. With the record’s release October 16th, 2012, the band John the Conqueror has managed to craft a fitting tribute to the legend that inspired them and if they have a little magic left, the world may know their tale.