Name: John Jesser
Birthday: December 1
College: Miami University, Cleveland State
Favorite Color: Royal Blue
Favorite Book: Travels with Charlie
Favorite Movie: Hunt for Red October
Favorite Food: Mediterranean / Lebanese
Favorite Quote: “Don’t ask what you will get, rather ask what you will become”
Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
Backstreets – Bruce Springsteen
The Ghost In You – The Psychedelic Furs
John Jesser picked up guitar at age 15. After learning a few bar chords from his friends, he found himself playing rhythm guitar in a high school band called ASYLUM. After a short role as a sideman, he fronted his first band, LADIES CHOICE. He began writing songs in high school and quickly after forming the band ASYLUM at Miami University in Oxford, OH, he entered the studio for the first time. Thanks to a non-repayable loan from his big brother Norman (1958-2008), the band recorded two of John’s songs, “Time for the Weekend Rockin’” and “Open Your Eyes.” Asylum changed names and keyboard players and worked college bars as ENTITY for the next three years.
In 1986, while working as a radio DJ, John met Ken Glidewell and Kyle Hahn. They formed THE VAGRANTS, playing originals and covers in road houses all over southwestern Ohio. Their big break was opening for headlining acts such as Foghat, BTO and Molly Hatchet at a club called Bogarts in Cincinnati. After a couple years, Jesser and Hahn worked clubs as the acoustic duo ELECTRIC EARTH before they formed an originals band called the SNAKE CHARMERS in 1988 with Darrel “Ed” Kramer on drums and Mike DeVaughn on bass.
Jesser and Hahn went through a very productive songwriting period in the early 80s, recording several songs with the band and winning Honorable Mention among 10,000 entrants in a Billboard Songwriting Contest for “All We Had.” (Some of those songs have been lovingly adopted by Verve Daddy and can be found on their debut CD, “Ain’t My Street”.)
In 1999, Kyle Hahn was losing his ability to move and speak from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jesser worked with him to produce a double CD called Friends based on Kyle’s wishes to feature an entire array of music and bands where he had played guitar with friends. The double CD also contains songs from Electric Earth and the Snake Charmers. All proceeds from sales went to an ALS Awareness nonprofit founded by Kyle – and today go to The ALS Association. Kyle died from ALS in 2003. For a free copy of the double CD, Email John Jesser .
After spending the late 80s and 90s building a marriage, family and career, Jesser met drummer Jay Lucarelli and bass player Mark Ecclestone in the neighborhood and they founded TEST OF TIME with John Boehnlein on guitar and Clarke Nagle on keyboards. After four years playing rock and roll in bars all around Cleveland, Test of Time evolved to become VERVE DADDY with new drummer Chis Gibbs.
The group recorded their debut CD Ain’t My Street, released in 2008 on Electric Earth Records. The album is available at www.cdbaby.com, iTunes and Amazon. Verve Daddy brought on guitarist and song collaborator Kurt Reed for six years – playing, writing and evolving their sound. The most recent release coming in 2016 on CD, digital and vinyl features guitar and writing input from Kurt Reed and the newest addition to the band, guitarist/vocalist Michael Abraham.
There is a burning fire inside that keeps John Jesser moving forward in the wonderful carnival ride known as music. Playing guitar, singing, and writing songs, making music that brings people pleasure and doing it with a great group of friends are some of his favorite things to do. He has been blessed to play with great friends and great musicians.