Don’t get it twisted: Jesse Johnson is one of the architects of the Minneapolis sound, along with, of course, Prince, Morris Day, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and the wealth of other black artists who put Minneapolis on the map in the ’80s.
Obviously, all those folks have gone on to great careers, and Johnson, once the lead guitarist for the seminal funk band The Time, has been doing his thing as well. He’s continued to record, contributed songs to several hit soundtracks and while he may not get as much press as some of his peers, those in the know recognize him as one of music’s top guitar heroes.
Here’s more on Jesse Johnson, today’s In-Studio Jam artist.
BORN: Jesse Woods Johnson in Rock Island, Illinois.
BIG BREAK: Moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota and meeting a young Morris Day. Johnson would become the lead guitarist for the up-and-coming band Day founded called The Enterprise, which ultimately became The Time.
BACK STORY: The Time became one of the ’80s most prolific bands, helped by their close association to Prince, who recorded the first two Time albums without much input from the group. Johnson, with his then-trademark Jheri curl shag, became known for his phenomenal guitar skills through the band’s legendary live performances.
RESUME: Johnson played with The Time through their third album, then formed the Jesse Johnson Revue. He has also produced songs by Janet Jackson, Cheryl Lynn, Debbit Allen, TaMara and the Seen and more.
FUN FACT: Johnson contributed to the soundtracks of four popular movies: “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Another 48 Hours” and “White Men Can’t Jump.”