From Colorado to Cabo, from the Busboys to The Circle, Vic Johnson’s life belongs in the storybook of accomplished rock guitarists. He’s been pals with Sammy for over 18 years, and when you look at his resume, you’ll see why he’s so revered in the Red Rocker’s eyes!
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Vic got hooked on the guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix. “Jimi turned me on to guitar,” Vic said. “I soon picked up guitar and tried to learn all the Hendrix licks.” Vic played in multiple bands throughout high school and in the ’80s he moved out to Los Angeles, California to live with his grandma in the hopes that he could make it as a guitarist. Not longer after moving, he auditioned and joined an all African-American rock/soul band (minus the drummer who was Hispanic) called the Busboys. The band enjoyed local popularity, but they soon reached a more global audience after appearing in the 1982 film 48 Hrs. (starring Eddie Murphy) and on Saturday Night Live. They recorded a couple of albums for the Arista label, and their singles include “Boys Are Back in Town” and “Cleanin’ Up the Town.”
On the side, Vic was involved in groups like Sound Barriers, an all-black heavy metal band on the MCA label, and also a metal band called Total Eclipse which recorded for Taboo/A&M Records. When the Busboys disbanded in the ’80s, Vic became a high-demand session musician, and he even found himself session recording for Dr. Dre! But when he auditioned for Sammy Hagar in 1997, it was clear that the two had a lot more in common than just music. Vic joined Sammy’s band and performed with the WaboRitas on the Marching to Mars tour. Nowadays, he can still be found hanging with his good pal Sammy in their new group, The Circle!
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