Born and raised in St. Alban’s, Newfoundland, to a musical family, Chad John came into music a little later in life than his big brother Darryl. Sports were his first love when he was young. At 14, realizing he would likely never realize the great Canadian dream of playing in the NHL, he turned to playing guitar. One of his early influences was being at a house party and seeing that when his big brother sang and played the guitar, all of their friends watched in amazement. That is when he asked his big brother to teach him how to play. The next four years were spent playing at house parties, joined by his cousin Paul, who sang harmony. At 18, he performed his first gig with his big brother Darryl, with a band they formed in only five days. They performed a few more gigs until his brother and cousin left for Fort McMurray, Alberta. Chad followed shortly thereafter. After a few years, Darryl and Paul returned to Newfoundland and formed Friends of Jack. Chad once again followed the boys back to Newfoundland, joining Friends of Jack, where they played every weekend for a two year stretch. Eventually all three ended up back in Fort McMurray where they are continuing the musical journey of Friends of Jack!
Singing behind a microphone is really nothing new to Darryl John, he has been doing it since the age of four. Darryl received his first guitar from his Dad as a Christmas present, when he was just nine years old, and his Dad taught him how to play it. Born and raised in St. Alban’s, Newfoundland, Darryl comes from a family where music has always been a part of their lives. From his Dad’s band playing at the local bars, to the Sunday jam sessions on their front patio that attracted a large audience. It came as no surprise that Darryl would start his first band at the age of thirteen, which lasted through high school. While in college, Darryl became interested in the fiddle. He would borrow his dad’s fiddle and practiced every day. During college, Darryl also formed a Celtic band with a few of his college buddies. This wasn’t a long lasting journey, but FRIENDS OF JACK do still incorporate a few Celtic numbers in their live shows. Some of Darryl’s country influences include, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley and Brent Mason. Darryl was fortunate to have one of his influences, BRENT MASON, in the studio in Nashville to lend a hand while FRIENDS OF JACK recorded their debut album.
Paul John grew up in St Alban’s, Newfoundland and is the cousin of Darryl and Chad John. Though he was raised in a musical family, Paul never actually got into playing music until the age of 13. At that time, his main influences were mostly from the rock genre, Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Kiss, to name a few. As he grew older, he began playing and singing with his family and friends at kitchen and patio parties. During this time, he began developing a taste for country and folk music. His musical interests at that time were mainly artists like Blackhawk, Diamond Rio and The Eagles, bands that all sang with rich harmonies. These harmonies were something that really attracted Paul to country music. These rich harmonies are something you hear in FRIENDS OF JACK! At the age of 19 he joined his first full band with his cousin Darryl John. During this time, they toured throughout Newfoundland playing bars and created a lot of good memories. In 2004 it was time to get a “real job”. The band dismantled and the boys moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta. In 2006, Friends of Jack regrouped and started playing live in Fort McMurray where they have built a very solid fan base, many of whom have followed them from their early days.
Kevin Connors is the one member of Friends of Jack that was not born in Newfoundland; he was born in Calgary, Alberta. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ties to Newfoundland, he was raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland. Playing drums is nothing new to Kevin, his first “set” of drums were his mother’s pots and pans. He eventually got his first set of drums at the age of eight. Kevin played every day, jamming to his idols, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Harlequin and Tom Petty, just to name a few. Kevin’s drum playing became a little too loud for his family and he was moved to the garage to play. During the winter months his father would light the wood stove to keep his hands warm while he played his drums – now that is dedication! During high school years he received new drums and played in bands throughout high school. After graduating from high school, Kevin made the move to Fort McMurray, Alberta to work in the oil fields. Kevin played with various bands around town, playing the bar scene and music festivals. Shortly thereafter, he met up with Chad John, of Friends of Jack, and as they say, the rest is history! Since joining up with the band he has developed a great respect for country music.
The latest member of Friends of Jack is Steve Drake. Steve recently relocated to Fort McMurray, Alberta to join up with the boys from Newfoundland. Steve originally played with the band in 2001 but returned to the east after a two year stint. Steve is now ready and very excited to join the boys again on their musical journey and is looking forward to the long road ahead.
Steve was born and raised on a small native reserve on the south coast of Newfoundland, in an area called Conne River. Steve became interested in music at the age of ten. Like most Newfoundlanders there would always be music playing at the house. Steve found an interest in the warmth and power of bass and drums, which would become his instruments of choice. Since the age of 15, Steve has played with numerous cover bands and his influences include Blackhawk, Diamond Rio, Vince Gill, Old Crow Medicine Show, Travis Tritt and The Tractors on the country side to STP, Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones and GNR on the rock side!