John Elliott is a singer/songcyclist equally inspired by Bruce Springsteen and Eminem, Bob Dylan and Guns N’ Roses, Tom Petty and Queen. Born and raised in the suburban plains of Minnesota, he started guitar lessons at the mall when he was seven and wrote his first song when he was fifteen – music lifted directly from Aerosmith’s “Dream On” with original lyrics about nuclear war. John’s lyrics have always had a social conscience and a dark aspect.
He moved to New York after school for real world graduate school. Brooklyn was eye-opening but he decided his path was elsewhere and landed in Los Angeles in a basement room beneath the Hollywood sign with a water heater that flooded twice a year.
Anaïs Mitchell invited him to play the role of Hades in the California tour of Hadestown. He moved to The Bay Area. He bought a $150 used bicycle on Craig’s List and became a singer/songcyclist. He has performed in every state in the union except for Hawaii. John had big plans for 2020… instead, he played shows in the corner of his apartment in front of his computer.
John has performed as John August, John Dease, John Arthur, John Flynn, John Wyatt, and more, finally settling on John Elliott because his dementia-suffering grandmother saw E.T. with him when he was a boy and got him confused with the kid from the movie. Two Ls and two Ts.
He’s been around long enough to have music industry people tell him that what mattered most was MySpace plays. Then it was getting 3,000 likes on your Facebook music page. Then it was Spotify plays. He’s been likened to artists from Paul Simon to Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, and called “the Andy Kaufman of folk music.” His songs have been prominently heard on Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and Californication. He’s been featured in PASTE Magazine and NPR.
And now he’s playing Stage 33 Live.
Futhermore, he’s playing with Dylan Patrick Ward, folk misfit for our absurd times – equal parts compassionate and irreverent, his songs use catchy melodies and blunt, storytelling lyricism to weave tales of outcasts, loveable losers, and people on the brink. His empathy and candor have drawn comparisons to the Mountain Goats, John Prine, and Randy Newman. A songwriter’s songwriter, he’s shared the stage with acts like Peter Mulvey, The End of America, Jeffery Lewis, and Cloudbelly.