John P. Strohm

Songwriter, Musician, Lawyer

John P. Strohm is a songwriter, musician and lawyer.  He is well known as an original member of the popular 80s Boston band The Blake Babies with Juliana Hatfield and Freda Love.  This summer, The Blake Babies will reunite for shows in Boston, MA and Evanston, IL and will also release Earwig Demos, the 12 demos of songs recorded at Fort Apache Studios in 1988 that became their acclaimed Mammoth Records debut, Earwig. The original tapes were recently remixed and remastered and the LP, along with other incentives, are available for pre-order via Pledge Music now.  John was also a member of The Lemonheads with Evan Dando during two eras of the band.  He appears on drums on their 1988 albums Creator, and Lick, and was also touring guitarist for the band from 1993 through 1997.  He also appears on Mike Watt's superstar-studded 1995 classic Ball-Hog Or Tugboat and has three solo albums to his credit as well.  Since 2004, he has been a lawyer with an emphasis on music & entertainment who counts Alabama Shakes, Bon Iver, Sturgill Simpson, Dawes, Julien Baker and more as part of his impressive list of clients.  This is John's Fidelity High: Hüsker Dü // Metal Circus // SST Records, Reflex Records // 1983.  John says, "I fell hard for hardcore at age 14, in 9th grade.  Hardcore was my real point of entry as a music freak.  Before hardcore, I loved arena rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But those bands seemed more like characters in books than real people. I never expected to be part of their world.  But when I got into hardcore, I knew I could be part of that world and that became my mission.  Hardcore brought me my first group of friends who really got me; hardcore brought me my first girlfriend, who became my collaborator.  Hardcore gave me an identity, right there in sleepy Southern Indiana. Hardcore made me part of something bigger than me and my friends.  I loved hardcore, but to be honest I didn't love all the music - especially after the honeymoon period of 1982. Some hardcore singers - Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, Mike Muir, Glenn Danzig - had so much charisma they essentially wrote pop least to my ears.  I loved those records.  I could listen to The Descendants, the Zero Boys, or Angry Samoans all day long because they wrote great, catchy songs.  But most hardcore bored me.  I'm sure I'll offend some die-hard fans here, but I don't spend a lot of time revisiting DRI, or MDC, or GBH, or any number of less memorable acronyms.  I'd read about Hüsker Dü in some of the fanzines I religiously read, such as Maximum Rock n Roll and Flipside, and I knew they had a reputation for intense live shows.  One of the bands I played in covered 'Data Control' off of 'Land Speed Record' and I owned 'Everything Falls Apart.'  I thought of them as an interesting hardcore band, but nothing more.  I had a vague idea they were midwestern but I thought they were from Ohio like the Necros. Basically they were one of many bands on my radar when I mail ordered Metal Circus as a new release in late 1983.  Remember back then, when you'd send money in an envelope to an address you pulled off an album jacket, and you'd wait weeks or months to hear back?  That's how I got this one.  When that package arrives, you're gonna sit down and listen front to back, which I did.  And a few of those songs really struck me. 'It's Not Funny Anymore' had a real pop hook, and a damn good one.  And 'Diane' told a story.  A sick, twisted story, but one that spoke to me.  'Real World' just burned the house down.  I loved that record, and I listened to it for months.  I wanted more music like that, and my quest led me to a lot of crucial music, including R.E.M. (my favorite acronym band), The Replacements, and the band I loved enough to join - The Lemonheads.  I'd really pretty much abandoned hardcore by 1986 when I met Evan, Ben and Jesse from The Lemonheads.  I had so much in common with those guys, but mostly we shared the same musical journey - from hardcore to something that didn't even have a name yet.  So many of us, so many places. Hüsker Dü opened that door for me, so I can honestly say this record changed my life."