|Johnny “V” Vernazza was born in San Francisco and raised in Daly City. As we all know, the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960’s was a hotbed of music. Clubs were everywhere and to go out and jam at four or five clubs a night was the norm, not to mention the Fillmore, Avalon Ballroom and concerts in Golden Gate Park.
Starting out playing guitar in 1963, Johnny Vernazza also played bass for a time with a rock band that worked the Fillmore and toured as the opening act for Quicksilver Messenger Service, War, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. About 1970, he joined the gospel band” Gideon and Power”, which toured the United States, and appeared on the Sonny & Cher Summer Show on NBC TV.
As the blues scene gathered national and international momentum, Johnny “V” was playing with blues greats such as Luther Tucker and Sunnyland Slim . Around that same time he was holding court with a blues band in San Francisco’s North Beach with former Elvin Bishop member Perry Welsh. Elvin would come in and jam towing along the likes of Paul Butterfield and other blues monsters . It wasn’t long after that Elvin asked Johnny to join the new band he was putting together , the rest is history . This association led to six albums, endless touring and the #3 song in the nation by 1974 “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”. That record turned Gold as well as a LP with “The Marshall Tucker Band” that featured Johnny and Elvin on slide guitar .
Elvin and Johnny’s dual lead and slide parts set a style that was part of the Southern Rock Sound and continues to live on today.