Interview with Johan Blohm

Johan Blohm (1962) is a Swede who grew up listening to his father’s country and rock ‘n’ roll records. The influence of Jerry Lee Lewis, his musical hero, can be heard in his vocal and piano style. Visit his website for his full biography, video clips and CD’s. Listen to Johan’s latest album, Reconsider Me, on Spotify.

Can you tell how your discovery of boogie woogie music was?
My first experience of real genuine boogie woogie was when I saw an old video clip on TV with Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson playing a duet, the song was “Boogie Woogie Dreams” and I was blown away by the grove and the energy that came out of these two pianos. Since that day I have been a Boogie Woogie fan.

Did you already play the piano when you first heard boogie woogie music?
Yes, I did play piano for many years before I came across real Boogie Woogie music. I started playing piano when I was six years old and up until I was about thirty years old I played rock ‘n’ roll and country in the tradition of Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and Mickey Gilley. This is what I still play most of the time but these days I spice it up a little with some boogie woogie.

Which boogie woogie sheet music books did you use while learning this music style?
I never used any sheet music books, I taught myself to play boogie woogie. I can’t read sheet music. I listened to the old masters like Albert Ammons, Amos Milburn, Pete Johnson and Freddie Slack and got ideas and inspiration from them.

I taught myself everything I play, everything I do is more or less improvised and doesen’t come out exactly the same every time. The backside of teaching yourself is that you don’t get everything right but the great thing is that you get a unique style, haha!

Who are your great examples in music in general and boogie woogie specifically?
My boogie woogie heroes are the players I mentioned earlier. My all-time musical hero is Jerry Lee Lewis, nobody will ever come near him when it comes to play rock ‘n’ roll piano and/or singing. Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Charlie Rich, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard are other examples of my musical heroes.

Do you have dreams for your career and if so, what are these?
On a basic level I will be happy if I am able to play my music and make a living with playing until I get really old. But I also wish to be able to do shows all around the world and have my music spread to all who love piano rock ‘n’ roll and boogie woogie. And I wouldn’t mind If I could earn some money with it as well!

What makes me happy is when I do a show for an audience that is genuinely interested in my music and who is really listening and enjoying the show. All too often I find myself playing in a pub where nobody is there for the music, they just want to get drunk and don’t care about the music. I wish I were performing more often for true music fans and do less of the uninspiring gigs at the pubs but in reality you have to take what you can get, we all have bills to pay.

What can amateur boogie woogie pianists do to secure their first gig?
Well, I really don’t have a good answer, I’m afraid. In my youth I was looking up venues myself, I called them and tried to convince them to book me. Once every tenth time or so they actually did. After a few years I got tired of this and I got connected with people in the business who was far better at booking than I ever was. I think the key is to find a booker who can help. But it’s a struggle, nobody wants to book you if you’re unknown and you won’t get known if you don’t get any gigs.

It’s a classic catch 22. Being stubborn and never giving up helps. If there is genuine talent it will surely be recognized sooner or later.

16 Responses to Interview with Johan Blohm

  1. Nadine Weiler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Johan,
    Where have you been? I’ve sent several emails….the last time I heard from you was Christmas Eve.
    I miss talking with you and would love to catch up…I check the web for anything new for you. Old habits die hard!
    I still am working with the firm I joined last year – Korn Ferry INternational and working 12 hour days.
    I’m also including my work email. I would love to connect.
    nadine.weiler@kornferry.com

  2. Carol Graham says:

    Your hands just glide across the keys! You make it look so easy. You’re even better than Jerry Lee Lewis. Keep it up….and come to Daytona Beach, Florida!

  3. Ed Marsh says:

    Hello Johan,

    I love your music!..The first I heard of you was the short clip where you say “I quit!” at the end. I almost cried, it was so beautiful. I;m a very old man in a wheelchair, so I can,t buy CD’s, but I grab everything I can from the internet, and keep playing it without ever getting tired of any song. Thank you for sharing such treasures with people like me.

    I hope you reach your goal, playing your great music for many years to come.

  4. Jack says:

    That’s some Good Music Buddy!

  5. John Reid says:

    Please get busy and make an all-boogie-woogie album,
    especially with Pine-Top’s great hit!

    You are the best!

    • Erald says:

      As a SAHM, I don’t often get to dress up and wear fabulous ltilte numbers like this. This dress would make the perfect anniversary date dress this year for our 12th. I would love to Boogie Down in it! .

  6. Harding Dies says:

    I’ve loved boogie woogie for years but have heard too little of it until I saw you on YouTube. Now I’m inspired to take up the piano again (after 40 years) and concentrate on boogie woogie – thanks to you!

  7. Peter NIelsen says:

    I do the boogie woogie piano myself and I always watch your videos when I need som more inspiration!

  8. Doris says:

    Hi Johan,
    When I first heard your Boogie I didn’t know anything about you. But when you said ‘Tack så mycket’ at the end I was pleasantly surprised because I knew you were Swedish, like I am. I appreciate your music. Thank you!

  9. brad williams says:

    I think a good title for an album would come from an old expression “Tickling the Ivory”. Love your music, and use it to cheer myself up on gloomy days. Brad Williams

  10. Ingrid Dressel says:

    Your music is wonderful. There is so much energy and joy in the rhythm, although you seem damned cool and souvereign. I played a little bit the blues, but now I´ve started with the boogie, only easy phrases, but never ever !!!!! I will something play like you. Also I gave your licks to another piano player und he is enthusiastic like me.
    Thank you for your presents of music!

  11. Mary Carmean says:

    I love your Boogie Woogie Piano. I have listened to it over and over and never get tired of it. You are the best!!!

  12. Hans Kool says:

    Dear Johan,

    Where I can buy the sheet-music from your “Johan Blohm Boogie Woogie”
    Tried on several places without luck.
    Best regards,

    Hans.

  13. Michael ray says:

    I would love for you to do a show at the Chicago theater in downtown chicago, illinois. If not likely, then please come out with a cd of all boogie woogie. Thank you for your music.

  14. Neil Hutchinson says:

    Just found you on YouTube – brilliant. See above comments.
    Will be keeping an eye open for any UK tour dates. Really enjoy your music and the enjoyment you clearly get in playing. You are a talented man.

  15. dan chavre says:

    Are you going to come to America to perform?

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