Kit Johnson - Tuba
As a fifth grader at Myrtle Creek (Oregon) Elementary, Kit began his music career on trumpet. But by high school, he had stretched the band director's patience to the max, and he was convinced that switching to an instrument farther from the podium would be in everyone's best interests. In spite of a formidable lobbying effort by the timpani section, Kit moved to tuba.
After two years at the University of Oregon, Kit furthered his "oom-pah" training while serving with the U.S. Army Band in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He entertained unsuspecting Europeans until the authorities got wise and extradited him to the States in 1984. Note: The rumor is unconfirmed that Kit's 1983 performance near the Brandenburg Gate fractured the foundation of the Berlin Wall, setting the stage for its collapse.
In 1984, anticipating enactment of the no-tuba-player-left-behind policy, Kit re-enrolled at the U of O School of Music, finishing his studies in 1987. While at the University, Kit was a three-time recipient of the Close Music Award and graduated with honors in music and accounting. This has led certain colleagues to observe: "It's not what you know but whom you blackmail that counts."
Having no prospects for meaningful employment, Kit turned to a life of Dixieland. His earlier ventures devolved into Black Swan, where he created confusion, mayhem and timidity in the ranks. Because of his tenured position, Kit has been difficult to dislodge. He refutes the common belief that he could be replaced by a jackhammer operator on a road crew. Additionally, Kit has performed with many premiere hot-jazz bands and musicians, though there are rumors this practice was discontinued last spring when his collection of "Music Minus One" CDs mysteriously disappeared.
Kit has personally arranged over half of Black Swan's music selecions, some of which are actually playable. He also composed those unforgettable chart toppers: Cut to the Bone, Git on Out the Door, Dude Ranch Blues, Bullfrog's Melody and Devil's Eyes. Future performance rights will be auctioned to the highest bidder later this year (Paul McCartney and Sony records are expected to be the front runners).
In 2002 , Kit printed business cards proclaiming he is owner and president of LedgerSource, a Portland-based financial consulting firm. Several musician friends have applauded this move, one stating, "Anything that keeps him from behind that horn is all right with me!"
Kit continually seeks bold new ways to entertain and welcomes suggestions that will make his performances less forgettable. He is currently Black Swan's founder, manager, tuba player and head roadie.
Kit produced and performed on the following Black Swan recordings (yes, he's to blame):
- Hoagy, Heart & Soul
- Dance Hall Favorites
- Feel the Spirit
- This Joint is Jumpin'
- Ragtime Revelry
- A Joyful Noise
- Cookin' With Fats - Live at the Old Church
- How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?
- Mama's Gone Goodbye
- Spreadin' Rhythm Around
- Sweet Lotus Blossom
- Sweet Substitute
In addition, Kit's discography includes a 1988 recording, the Misty Water Drifters (no longer available).