Daniel Johnson

Danny was born in Shreveport, Louisiana to Bobby Johnson and Charlotte Harth Johnson. He had five brothers and two sisters. When he was twelve, his father made a deal with his cousin, Walter, who had played at the Louisiana Hayride, to teach Danny how to play the guitar. He remembers watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when the British music invasion occurred and at 12 years old he was listening to Deep Purple and heavy rock. He liked the English style of music but he also liked the blues and James Brown. The family lived in North Highlands and after ninth grade, Danny enrolled in School Away From School. By age twelve he was in a band playing at various school functions and for his brother's parties. By 19, he was married with two children and had developed remarkable skill with the guitar. He and Jay Davis played at the Bossier Strip six nights a week with their band Dark Horse. Later, he and Jay left Dark Horse and formed the band Axis touring first at his cousin's club in Oklahoma City and then in North Carolina where they became friends with the band Blackfoot, ex-members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He knew there was not much of a music foundation in Shreveport, only Stan's Records offered him a record deal but Stan wanted his band to play blues and they preferred rock. Danny and Jay began looking all over the country for a drummer and eventually found Vinnie Appice, who was 17, and extraordinarily talented. Vinnie came to Shreveport and auditioned at the Union Hall on Creswell Ave and Rick Derringer hired both Vinnie and Danny to play with him. Jay got a job with Mick Ronson and the band Foreigner then went with Rod Stewart. Later Danny and Jay re-started the band Axis and Vinnie returned to play the drums. Eventually Vinnie left and went with Black Sabbath and Danny began playing guitar on many different albums eventually becomig Steppenwolf's lead guitarist for 18 years. Danny says he was inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple and other English rock bands but never got into punk rock. His favorite song is "The Pusher" with Steppenwolf. Now, he is doing Steppenwolf, playing his music and producing. He and his wife, Catherine, have two children and three grandchildren.