By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Inspired by the vibrant work of his grandfather – acclaimed comic book artist and Brooklyn native Pete Morisi, John Morisi took the namesake of one of his most iconic characters – “Johnny Dynamite” (an anti-hero detective from the underworld) for his own musical project.
Sometimes backed by his band “The Bloodsuckers,” they collaborate to create a cataclysmic clash of synths, guitars and drums loud enough to fill an arena.
‘Sleeveless,’ their forthcoming LP via Born Losers Records, was produced by Trey Frey of KORINE and is stylistically reminiscent of genre predecessors like The Cure, M83 and MGMT. Fans can get a taste of this with the first single “Triflin’ Kids,” which just had its lyric video released.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Dynamite about ‘Sleeveless’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the official band name?
Johnny Dynamite – For a while now, I’ve been calling myself Johnny Dynamite, named after my grandpa’s comic book from the 1950s, but me and the gang wanted the band to have an actual name. We eventually settled on The Bloodsuckers, ’cause it sounded “tuff” and I kept my name up front, so people knew who was singing.
Music Bugle – How would you describe New York City to someone who has never been there before?
Johnny Dynamite – NYC is my home, but I think this city could mean a lot of different things to different people. It could mean “making it” if you’re going off Frank Sinatra, or it could just be a place riddled with anxiety. I’ve never met someone who hasn’t had a love/hate relationship with this city, but I think there’s a lot more to love than hate. My favorite thing about it is the feeling I get when I step outside my front door. I don’t think that energy exists anywhere else in the universe.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Johnny Dynamite – Really loud drums. I love the feeling of being in a stadium when I’m actually just in my room. It’s the funny juxtaposition of being a bedroom pop artist influenced by arena rock.
Music Bugle – What made you want to drop “Triflin’ Kids” as the first single?
Johnny Dynamite – Ay, it’s the pop song.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Johnny Dynamite – Freak Slug, WAKE IN JUNE, Richie Quake, Zaia, the whole Born Losers roster, Drake, Catherine Moan and The Replacements.
Music Bugle – What were some memorable moments that you experienced while on tour?
Johnny Dynamite – One time after a show in Athens, Georgia, I went skinny-dipping in the pool that R.E.M. wrote “Night Swimming” about. The cops eventually showed up and there were about 30 of us… naked… running…
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Johnny Dynamite – Well, if I’m talking about a silver lining, I would say that it’s made me focus my attention to finding musicians like myself all over the world rather than just in my little New York City bubble. We released the first Bloodsuckers album a month before we were made aware of the pandemic in the States. I was planning on promoting it really hard the old-school way of playing shows and going on tour. Since I couldn’t do that, I spent most of the year listening to music on Spotify and reaching out to people who showed up as similar artists to me. It was pretty cool to find so many like-minded musicians.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Johnny Dynamite – I usually just get on my bike. I try not to set a destination.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Johnny Dynamite – Finding the right balance between existentialism, realism and idealism. I think once you find yourself at the center of those three “isms,” then, you’ve found peace.
Music Bugle – Overall, how would you say 2021 has been treating you so far?
Johnny Dynamite – I honestly can’t complain. I feel really fortunate to have so many great friends and the opportunity to put this record out. Hopefully, I’ll get to meet all my new virtual friends soon!
*Photo Credit – Ada Chen*