interwebs residence of . . .

(AKA: JC, John Christopher Apking, Johnny Crowe, The Grendelcat, Spike)

What'r Ya Playin' Nowadays

Sentient Cement
    Drummer Dave Rosset, Tunesmith Tim Whitler and utility strummer JC Apking do some jammin' now and then.  Check out the Sentient Cement Website for current details and massive amounts of stuff to listen to.

JC Solo
    Check out JC Setlist which links to pages from this ever-expanding library of one screeners - single page song lyrics and music notation which is meant for acoustic solo players and anybody in the wild who might find these useful to teach or learn tunes.

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What Else Ya Doin'?

     Finding fun, foibles and occasionally some truth.  Here's a page of links and stuff.
 

Say Hey

jc@grendelcat.com

 

Who's This Dude and Why?

      JC has traveled the globe engaging in a wide variety of occupations and trouble-making, eventually landing in Denver, Colorado.  Here is the musical portion of his story.

     Growing up mostly in Cincinnati, Ohio he was heavily influenced by dueling musical genre's. Classical orchestral music formed a musical foundation as a piano and trombone player.  These influences were juxtaposed with classic rock elements when he became a singer/keyboard player in various local Cincinnati bands.

     As a classically trained trombone player, he played with Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra for a number of years, including the musical highlight of playing 2 joint concerts with the CSO itself.

     "I'he 1st trombonist leaned over during Scheherazade at Music Hall where I had been taking my Granny to enjoy CSO concerts for years, and said - I'll let you get that double high B flat," says JC.

 At the same time, 60's-70's rock and 80's Alternative was finally percolating into the midwest and making a significant impression.  After playing with a garage band called Moral Minority (Eric Falstrom, Mike Cassidy, Danny Nachtrab) and an attic band called Sage (David Ferrara, Doug Atkins, Ashley Shepherd) through high school, JC met Kevin Fox who was already an established solo acoustic player.  Shortly thereafter, Shannara was formed.

     Shannara was a rock cover band that also produced some original music.  The first album was This & That.   JC played keyboard with Kevin Fox, Larry Dolan, King Fox and sang backup and occasional lead.  Shannara frequently worked at the recording workshop in Chilocothe, Ohio, and played any and all venues relentlessly, from Blues Brothers-esque dives to the shores of Cincinnati's massive Riverfest celebration.  There was a reunion show with Shannara in October 2011.  Here's a page with some pics. 

     As the sleepy 80's gave way to the angsty 90's, JC (now going by "Johnny Crowe") started a new project as the bass player with Eric Falstrom and Jim Farmer in a band called Mystery Wagon. The group focused primarily on developing the loudest and angstiest underground sounds around.  They were firmly rooted in a punk/indy/goth genre and although the word hadn't been coined until a year later, what they were a part of was the birth of grunge.  While they never released any albums, they built up quite a following and a stellar core set of hard core pre-grunge whilst playing in the seediest places available around Cincinnati's Clifton district.

     Next up, JC released the solo set - Sun Needle and around this time also did some symphonic and other keyboard related Eclectric experimentation. He also joined the original formation of the alternative cover band Forehead with Mike Seta, Dallas Reed, and the lovely Ryan Hebb.  Initially JC fronted the band for the first time as a lead singer until Chris Harris joined.   After a couple years JC shuffled out of the legendarily malleable Forehead lineup.

    What came next was a more focused, rebirth of Mystery Wagon with JC attempting to use his fledgling audio engineering skills recording high energy grassroots grunge once again focusing on playing Bass.  For the new lineup, Kirk Hunter played lead guitar, and John Earls replaced Jim on drums.  They managed to put together a set of recordings that was never formally released called Raw.

     After this, JC decided the time had come to move on, so he shocked his fans and friends by leaving the underground bars and bands and joining the US Navy.

     In the Navy, he still had a musical twist to add to things, first by heading up the boot camp marching band division culminating in playing a trombone solo for Admiral Boorda at the graduation ceremony a year or so before the guy killed himself.  As far as we know, the latter wasn't necessarily the result of the former.

    He next took part in an informal USS Normandy band playing the rockabilly classics on the fantail during steel beaches in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.  Much of his R&R was spent playing in port side venues and public squares around Italy, Greece, Spain, and Israel.

     After two deployments in the Navy, JC returned to Cincinnati.  For a brief time he played with fledgling country band Reckless alongside former Shannara drummer King Fox, but then he shifted focus to work in the "tech sector" nearly ceasing to make music altogether.

     The Grendelcat Lair website was created during this time, supporting the notorious daily internet publication "The Grendelcat Humorous Nuggets".  During this musical sabbatical, JC moved to Dallas, Texas, and then worked the better part of a year in New York City in 2001.  Finally, he snatched an opportunity to move to Denver, Colorado where he finally set down some roots.

     These days JC writes and records music with Sentient Cement at The Grendelcat Lair studio.  He also has been steadily working up a library of acoustic covers and sometimes plays at local venues.

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. - Bill S.