Episode 29 with Johnny Neel (The Allman Brothers, Blue Floyd, Grease Factor, Gov't Mule etc.) 

My guest today is Mr. Johnny Neel. How do you describe Johnny Neel? Well he is easily one on the most brilliant musicians I’ve ever worked with- keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, producer etc… 

Maybe start with one part Leon Russell, morph together with Ray Charles and add a dash of Thelonius Monk and a pinch of Art Tatum. Maybe a touch of Jaco’s basslines too. 

Johnny is best known for being a former member of the "Allman Brothers Band" after being recruited by Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Johnny on lot's of projects as well as in his band and even on a few of his records including "Late Night Breakfast". He’s always had great players in his band including guitarists Brent Mason, Jack Pearson and Pat Bergeson. 

Johnny and myself were in a short lived jam band for a while called The Grease Factor”  (named after my 2nd solo record) which also included Jeff Sipe (Apt 254Q) on drums, Count M Butu on percussion and Derek Jones and Neal Fountain on bass. We did one live record before calling it quits. We also did a short stint together with Blue Floyd (with Mat Abts on drums and Berry Oakley Jr. on bass guitar.) 

He's featured on 3 of my 4 solo records- (Hwy 90, Dirty Power and The Grease Factor) and you’ll hear a few clips in this podcast. 

Johnny has also played with Gov’t Mule, Blue Floyd, written songs for many country artists and TV/movie soundtracks. He operates his own studio called Straight Up Sound in Nashville, TN. 

This episode was recorded in Nashville at his studio on Jan. 30th 2018.

11 comments

  • Jennie B

    Jennie B Mojito Plantation

    Im pretty sure I saw Johnny in Gainesville, Fl, where there were regular " battles of the bands". The winners were determined by how rowdy the crowd would "vote" for the best band. The Allman Bros always won. It was a challenge of the musicians to out-do each other. Tom Petty, a no-name, soon became noticed, among many others. Johnny would remember all the musicians who showed up. A well-lubricated crowd would hoot, holler, stomp, wolfwhistle, ( throw shit). Good memories! Ask him about that sometime.

    Im pretty sure I saw Johnny in Gainesville, Fl, where there were regular " battles of the bands". The winners were determined by how rowdy the crowd would "vote" for the best band. The Allman Bros always won. It was a challenge of the musicians to out-do each other. Tom Petty, a no-name, soon became noticed, among many others. Johnny would remember all the musicians who showed up. A well-lubricated crowd would hoot, holler, stomp, wolfwhistle, ( throw shit). Good memories! Ask him about that sometime.

  • Jennie B

    Jennie B Mojito Plantation

    Incidentally, Dickie Betts lives one milemarker up from me.

    Incidentally, Dickie Betts lives one milemarker up from me.

  • Jason D

    Jason D NC

    Loved it Shane! Great hearing you two talk and play. Music is the great communicator and you guys are in a league of your own.

    Loved it Shane! Great hearing you two talk and play. Music is the great communicator and you guys are in a league of your own.

  • Doc

    Doc Poncha Springs CO

    Hey Shane, thanks for doing these!!!!

    Hey Shane,
    thanks for doing these!!!!

  • Shelly

    Shelly nashville

    Shane - You did a GREAT job with Johnny. This was probably the best interview with him. It's not easy to pull him back around to talk about things he doesn't want to talk about. I know him fairly well, but I learned so much more from this interview. Good job. Oh and when you did Jack's voice.... LOL!! You sounded just like him. Anyway, thanks again for doing this.

    Shane - You did a GREAT job with Johnny. This was probably the best interview with him. It's not easy to pull him back around to talk about things he doesn't want to talk about. I know him fairly well, but I learned so much more from this interview. Good job. Oh and when you did Jack's voice.... LOL!! You sounded just like him. Anyway, thanks again for doing this.

  • Kimon

    Kimon Delaware

    Awesome! Thanks Shane and Johnny!!! :)

    Awesome! Thanks Shane and Johnny!!! smile

  • Billy Meyers

    Billy Meyers

    Great thing you've got going on here! Thanks

    Great thing you've got going on here! Thanks

  • Deisel

    Deisel Delaware

    Miss you bro, great music.

    Miss you bro, great music.

  • Momma long

    Momma long Delaware

    I heard him many times in Delaware, Deisel took me to see him. He even made up a song for me, ad lib. Greatest keyboard player in the world!

    I heard him many times in Delaware, Deisel took me to see him. He even made up a song for me, ad lib. Greatest keyboard player in the world!

  • Duncan

    Duncan New Zealand

    "Trust Shane to do it again!" That was great, really interesting and fun as usual. Thanks though for creating yet another rabbit hole for me to go down. I've heard you refer to Johnny before but man I dug some of those clips, Comin Atcha for example. I'm off to check it out....

    "Trust Shane to do it again!"

    That was great, really interesting and fun as usual. Thanks though for creating yet another rabbit hole for me to go down. I've heard you refer to Johnny before but man I dug some of those clips, Comin Atcha for example. I'm off to check it out....

  • Diane

    Diane Maryland

    Thanks, Shane. Really interesting interview with Johnny. Great music!

    Thanks, Shane. Really interesting interview with Johnny. Great music!

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