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Steppenwolf is reborn; concert tonight at the fair

A band led by keyboardist Goldy McJohn — an original member of the Mynah Birds and Steppenwolf, as well as a member of Humble Pie — headlines in a CD release performance tonight at 7 on the San Juan County Fair main stage. - The Daily Fair
A band led by keyboardist Goldy McJohn — an original member of the Mynah Birds and Steppenwolf, as well as a member of Humble Pie — headlines in a CD release performance tonight at 7 on the San Juan County Fair main stage.
— image credit: The Daily Fair

A band led by keyboardist Goldy McJohn — an original member of the Mynah Birds and Steppenwolf, as well as a member of Humble Pie — headlines in a CD release performance tonight at 7 on the San Juan County Fair main stage.

With Goldy McJohn & Friendz on the fair’s entertainment schedule, the fair has arguably its strongest entertainment lineup in recent memory. Previous fairs have featured bluesmen Paul deLay and Lloyd Jones. Maria Muldaur performed at the fairgrounds in a non-fair event.

“We’ve always had super-great music,” former fair manager Christine Miller said in an earlier interview. “Every year is like a mini music festival.”

McJohn has a long history in rock. He was keyboardist with the Mynah Birds, a Canadian R&B group that recorded 16 songs for Motown in 1966.

After the group broke up, some members, McJohn included, went on to join the Sparrows, which evolved into Steppenwolf, famous for such rock anthems as “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Born To Be Wild.” (Another Mynah Bird, Neil Young, became an inaugural member of Buffalo Springfield.)

In his storied career, McJohn also contributed keyboard tracks for Janis Joplin’s “I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama,” and Jefferson Airplane’s “Early Flight.”

McJohn, now 63, lives in Seattle where he is an accomplished abstract expressionist painter and songwriter/musician. He formed Goldy McJohn & Friendz earlier this year and the band got to work fast, recording an EP by April and hitting the regional circuit: Taste of Tacoma in June, Bite of Seattle in July, and the Stanwood and San Juan county fairs this month. The band plays at Farragut State Park in Idaho Sept. 6.

The band performs classic Steppenwolf songs, as well as well-known blues songs, originals and classic rock covers, which serves the band and audience well. The band plays with an intensity that makes the audience react with excitement and takes you back to the late 1960s and early ’70s.

The band consists of McJohn on keyboards and vocals; Kent Henry, guitarist for Steppenwolf in the early 1970s, on guitar; Glen Nui, founding member of Pegasus, on guitar; Jack Rabbit English, on drums; Laurie Miller, bass guitar; and Paul Ventura, lead vocals.

To hear Goldy McJohn & Friendz, click here.

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