has played in a variety of bands since the spring
of 1976. The musical oddessey began with a band
named Minas Tirith. It was named after J.R.R.
Tolkien's mythical citadel. Dave Lieber played
guitar & sang harmonies, Marty Mele provided
the bass, Tony Miceli mastered the drums, and
John strummed guitar and sang his songs of
unrequited love in New Jersey. The band broke up
when Dave moved to Altoona, Pennsylvania. A
second invention of the band included Tim Waller
holding down the bass & singing harmonies,
Brad Egner thumping his mighty double Rogers kit
(white of course like Bonham's), Bob Hollinger
attacking his Gibson SG (red of course like Page's).
Tim decided to return to his brother's band,
which left the trio without a bottom. The third
and final form of the band included Brad Egner
continuing to bang the drums, Bob Hollinger still
wailing on guitar, and Marty Mele returning with
a barrage of bass angst that had not been felt
before. The band was dissolved by John when he
moved to Japan in August of 1979.
When John returned
to New Jersey from Japan in the spring of 1980,
he joined Rael featuring
Michael Birnbaum and Kenny Birnbaum who played
guitar and drums respectively with the legendary
Pete Kogler holding down the bass.
In the autumn of
1980 John ended up in Rhode Island following his
girlfriend who studied architecture at RISD. He
left his musical friends in New Jersey so he
spent his time honing his recording craft on his
Akai 4 track, which he bought in Japan.
In the spring of
1983 John joined The Tim Turner Band. In the
summer of 1983 Tim broke up the band and
introduced him to a young drummer named John
Guadagni and a punk bassist named Jimmy Mulligan.
Tim sang songs from the heart but it didn't work
out with Tim and Jimmy. Guadagni turned out to be
a long term musical companion and friend.
In the autumn of
1983 an Englishman named Jon Jelleyman arrived to
the shores of Rhode Island just in time to
astound all with his guitar pyrotechnics, skank
& bubble, soulful vocals, frightfully funky
bass, impressive songwriting, and expert
engineering. Guadagni, Jelleyman, and Spreier
formed a band named Allagash. Jelleyman became a
musical mentor for Guadagni and Spreier leading
them on a musical trip to Jamaica for reggae with
frequent syncopated stops in Great Britain for
roots rock. It was essentially a musical Zen
philosophy. The absence of sound in music was
taught to be the most important of all. Rhythm is
made up of the spaces between the notes. It is
the sound of one hand clapping that allows one to
appreciate the sound of two hands clapping in
time. Jelleyman joined Maasai in 1984. Guadagni
and Spreier became the audio engineers for
Maasai's live performances. Guadagni
and Jelleyman joined the Wilson Blue and the Blue
Roots Reggae Band in 1985. Blue proved to be more
efficient at getting gigs so the band split up.
Their last performance was at The Rustic
Well in Smithfield, R.I. on March 3, 1986.
In the summer of
1986 a trio called The Units was formed which
featured David Chandler on keyboards and vocals;
John Spreier on drum machine, bass, guitar, and
vocals; and the artist formally known as Arna
Zucker on trombone, guitar, harmonica, keyboards,
percussion and vocals. The band proved that
"humor and music can mix as long as the
proper amount of bozons, free radicals, and
photons are in play and abundant." John
began studying Occupational Therapy at Boston
University in September of 1986, two weeks after
his daughter Caila Spreier was born. The music
lasted a year and burned out at the end of August
in 1987 like Hale-Bop in the summer sky.
During a snowstorm
in March of 1987 John began what has become an
enduring recording relationship with John
Guadagni, forming the partnership called Beta
Brunette. Their blend of reggae & rock is
indebted to: Alpha Blondi (the inspiration for
their name), Bob Marley (the king of Reggae and
perhaps the true king of pain), Sly & Robbie
(for their drum & bass concept), Joni
Mitchell (for her sense of vocal melody), Bruce
Cockburn (for his spiritual and physical
resemblance to Jelleyman and the message of his
music), and the heart beat which is common to all
of us, sustains us & unites our lives on this
planet every day.
The autumn of 1987
started out with John filling in on bass for
Wilson Blue and the Blue Roots for a couple of
months and playing solo gigs to pay the bills
while he continued to work on his degree in
Occupational Therapy at Boston University. It
was there that he had the opportunity to play
with the legendary Lloyd Nibbs from Studio One
fame in Jamaica. It was Lloyd who was a co-founder
of the Skatalites and is credited with inventing
the reggae beat.
If The Units were
minimalist, then the end of 1987 with Nick Smith
as the entity Mirage was minny. The band was
comprised of a Fostex 4-track tape machine, Nick
Smith & John sharing bass, guitars and vocals.
It was a short strange trip.
In March of 1989
David Chandler called John asking him to play
bass in a new age band called Red Road. Maryanne
plucked an Irish harp, David provided spacey
synth patches, and Steve Copel coaxed an echo
drenched midi guitar with an ebow. Some confusion
about the lineup at the Temple to Music caused
Red Road to hit some bumps in the pavement.
In the autumn of
1989 David Chandler brought together Kenny
Johnson on drums, Fred Wilkes on guitar &
vocals, and John on bass & vocals for a band
called Newbird which was founded as a showcase
for Fred 's talent. They blended Grateful Dead,
Bob Dylan, and Eric Clapton influences with
original tunes from David and John. The Dead
Heads twirled and danced to the infectious rhythm
for a couple of years.
In the beginning
of 1992 John formed a trio called Zen Chefs with
John Guadagni on drums, John on vocals &
guitar, and Steve Smith on vocals & bass. The
band blended reggae with rock with a solid bass,
strong harmonies, and the foundation of Guadagni.
The music abruptly ended when the witch kicked
John out of the house and all of them out of the
barn they were practicing in. John got the
equipment out of the barn with the help of a
sympathetic police officer in South County but it
was all over for the band. The barn that they
were rehearsing in is the origin of the name
Barnyard Sounds. The neighbors used to say that
there were sounds coming from the barn.
In the summer of
1993 John became a founding member of Seek First
at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Charlestown, RI.
He plugged away at the bass for a couple of years
until the commute from Lincoln to the beach got
to be too much.
After being kicked
around in the R.I. Family Court for too many
years John participated in the WRX Acoustic
Challenge held in Newport, Rhode Island during
March of 1998. He met a gifted guitarist and
songwriter named Steve Hodge. They each were
impressed by each other's Guinness, performing,
and songwriting ability.
In May of 1998
John was asked to join the band Fable by its
founder John Crafton Jr. The band played New
American Folk Music with John Crafton Jr on
six & twelve string guitars, banjo &
vocals; JQ Crafton on vocals; Anthony Gavoli on
bass & vocals; Joshua Willis (Josh) on
percussion & vocals, and John on six &
twelve string guitars & vocals. It was a
vocal powerhouse with five-part harmony and
equally powerful clashes between the members of
the band named John. Their last performance with
John was September 19, 1998.
In October of 1998
John formed a duo with Michele Jeffrey called
Essential Harmony. The duo continued until a lack
of venues made it non-essential at the end of the
summer of 1999.
John and Joe
Casinelli started out working as therapists in an
outpatient clinic. They quickly became friends
outside of work and enjoyed playing music
together. John played acoustic guitar &
provided harmony vocals and Joe belted out huge
lead vocals to the blues & Springsteen covers.
They got semi-serious in November of 1998 and
amused themselves at open mikes around the state
of confusion for the next couple of years.
In August of 1999
John teamed up with Steven Hodge and John
Guadagni to form a three-piece rock band named
Barnstormers. Their mission was to provide
a good strong dose of rock and roll to the
working masses in Rhode Island. Classic rock
without attitude guaranteed to make you
dance and temporarily forget about your problems.
On October 27,
2001, John's father died so he packed up his
cares and woes and moved to Florida to be closer
to family. Life is short and you can't make it up
when you have some spare time. "Live each
moment as if it were your last" became his
In an effort to
archive his musical contribution to the planet
for posterity John began digitizing the masters
of his live and studio performances in 2002. He
developed this web site with the philosophy that
the internet should be free (like radio) and
tangible recordings (like CDs) should be
reasonably priced. The major record companies
have been involved with payola for too long and
have strangled the life and love of music out of
talented artists. At long last technology is
benefiting the average person.
John joined The
BLC Band in the autumn of 2005 at
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville Beach.
The grew tremendously over the next couple of
years but people move in and out of a parish and
eventually it came down to two instrumentalists
and one wannabeavocalist. Three years seemed like
a good ride so he decided to retire the horse.
John met Carlos
Reichard in June of 2012 and they became the
founding members of Swamp Ash with a mission to
record and perform the blues on The First Coast.
Their first album will be released in October
2013. On September 11, 2013 Carlos and John met
and performed with a saxaphonist nemed Robert
Mays. On September 18, 2013 Carlos and John met
and performed with a bassist named Kenneth Lovan.
They will be a great addition to the live sound
of Swamp Ash.
John continues to
perform to showcase his songs and bring his
musical message to all who take the time to stop
and listen to the voice within all of us.
Any and all lyrics, music,
pictures, songs, videos, and works of art created
by John Spreier are for your personal use only
and remain the exclusive property of John Spreier.
All of the Barnyard Sounds albums can be downloaded for free in
zipped packages with the songs encoded in MP3 format complete
with album art and liner notes. They may not be altered, performed, reproduced,
or resold in any form without the express written
consent of John Spreier. You are free to share
them as long as the credit goes where it belongs
and you do not profit from their use.
© Copyright 1976-2018 Barnyard
Sounds. All rights reserved.