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John LaMar
Hometown - Fremont, Nebraska
Bands
Write Offs, The
Stinky Jones R & B Confusion, The
Blind Ambition
Ambush
New Atomic Robert Band - Bass (1992 - 1993)
ANT - Bass (1991 - 1992)
Johnny Quest - Bass (1989 - 1991)
First Flight - Bass (1988 - 1989)
Phoenix - Bass (1987 - 1988)
Cutting Edge, The - Bass (1984 - 1987)
Minotaur - Bass (1983 - 1984)
Biography
John LaMar began playing bass guitar in 1983, inspired by the sounds he heard coming from Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album. Geddy Lee became a primary and lifelong influence and John quickly set out to form a band with his good friend Tommy Rump, who brought the album to John in the summer of the same year. Tommy was a very talented guitarist/musician who was also a strong influence on John. John and Tommy would play together in bands for the next several years.

John played in two rock bands during high school both of which were considered among the best in Fremont. “Minotaur” was comprised of John, Tommy and drummer Jeff Berney. They played their first paying gig in August of 1983 at the home of Maggie Wiseman, a classmate of Tommy’s, for $20. Gigs at private parties and high school dances continued in 1983-84. 1984 brought some personnel changes and “The Cutting Edge” was formed with John and Tommy joined by drummer Ron Skoog, second guitarist Bill Metzler and singer Mike Fitzgerald. That group also played private parties and high school dances through 1986. In 1987 “The Cutting Edge” disbanded when Ron and Mike left for college. John continued to play locally with several musicians, doing gigs for private parties.

Leaving Fremont in 1987 for college in Lincoln, Nebraska John answered an ad for a bass player in a classic rock band. “Phoenix” consisted of John, Rob Higgins and Matt Neumayer on guitars, Pat Hilgert on vocals and drummer Blake Dillon. This band played a limited number of gigs in 1988. In the summer of that year, Tommy came to Lincoln for college and was recruited to join on guitar. Matt moved to keyboards and they were joined by two replacements. Blake was replaced by Chris Lattigard and Pat was replaced by Tim Horn. That band, known as “First Flight,” played at a high school dance at St. Patrick’s Auditorium in Fremont in the fall of 1988.

The band decided to make a commitment to play professionally on a consistent basis and additional membership changes followed. In the spring of 1989 “Johnny Quest” was formed with John, Tommy, Rob and Tim joined by Nathan Weinhold on keyboards and Jim Roper on drums. John, Tommy and Nathan all shared backing vocal duties and occasional lead vocal duties. That band set an attendance record at the former Sweep Left bar in Lincoln in the summer of 1989.

One additional personnel change occurred in Johnny Quest before the band would begin playing heavily throughout the Midwest. Shane Hall replaced Jim on drums and the band began a string of heavy bookings for the next two years, playing live a minimum of two nights per week and as many as six nights per week, eventually logging hundreds of gigs. Their high energy, four and five part harmonies and strong emphasis on professionalism helped them develop a reputation as one of the region’s best live acts. They laid claim to the Royal Grove in their hometown of Lincoln, planted their flag and eventually won coveted holiday gigs attended by thousands of people who loved to hear Johnny Quest’s special mix of classic rock and current rock hits of the day. During the course of his time in Johnny Quest, John developed a reputation as one of the top bass players/live performers in Lincoln.

In 1991 Shane and Tommy left Johnny Quest and were replaced by Mike (last name forgotten) on guitar and Tommy Jackson on drums. John continued to perform with this incarnation of the band until Christmas 1991 when he left Johnny Quest, unable to continue the rigorous schedule of rehearsals and live playing due to the impending arrival of his first child. Johnny Quest continued to perform with various lineups, eventually disbanding in the late 1990’s.

No longer able to apply the effort and time needed to support a professional live band, John sought out other people to play with whose priorities were more in line with his own. He joined with well-known Lincoln musician Bob Spire (“Lie Awake”) to form “ANT” along with drummer Terry DeJong and John’s brother Tony LaMar on lead vocals. That band played alternative rock with some original music at club and party gigs around Lincoln in 1992 before disbanding.

At an ANT gig John was approached by Cowboy Bob Davis to do some recording on a project Davis was working on. John contacted Davis after ANT disbanded and recommended they contact Ron Skoog who was also living in Lincoln. John, Ron and Bob were joined by legendary Lincoln blues guitarist Sean Benjamin in 1992 to form “New Atomic Robert,” an all-original band whose style defied explanation. The band played several gigs around Lincoln, one of which was captured on a soundboard recording at Duffy’s Tavern. An absolutely electrifying performance leaps off of the tape, showing the creative potential and raw emotional expression of the music.

In 1993, financial pressures forced John to pursue work which would provide better income. He was offered a bass spot in a local country band and brought along his friend Ron Skoog as drummer. “Ambush” was formed along with Tim Keckley on guitar and JD Brown on guitar/lead vocals. John and Tim provided backing vocals and the band played several gigs around southeast Nebraska before John and Ron left in early 1994.

1994 saw John return to Fremont where he joined with local musicians to form “Blind Ambition,” a rock band which included Jeff Schulz on drums, Butch Foreman on guitar and Danny White on lead vocals. Playing classic rock and current rock hits they played a limited number of gigs in Fremont before disbanding in 1997.

1997 saw John join up with Ron Skoog for the third time. Ron invited John to play a one-time gig at a corporate party, a gig which turned into a blues band known as “The Stinky Jones R&B Confusion.” John and Ron were joined by Lincoln guitarist Kenny Peralez, Tony LaMar on lead vocals and multi-instrumentalist Scott Gerten from Beatrice. The band’s strong grooves, hot guitar and blazing saxophone could be heard in clubs as far south as Beatrice and as far north as Hooper, Ne. Stinky Jones played its last gig in June of 2000 when both Ken and Tony moved out of the area and John stopped playing due to the demands of his day job.

John continued to woodshed and jammed locally with rock and jazz musicians until 2006, teaching himself to play guitar and keyboards in the off hours. In the winter of 2006 he got a call from Blake Dillon asking if he was interested in playing again. John accepted an invitation to jam and “The Write Offs” were born in November. They consist of John, Blake on drums, Tony LaMar (now ex-“Heroes and Villains”) on vocals once again, Tim Hoshor (“The Edge”) on guitar/backing vocals, Marty Scheer and Jess Wilson, both on guitars. The band played its first gig in July of 2007 has played mostly private since with a set list consisting of whatever rock tunes the band can learn in three takes.

In August of 2008 John celebrated his 25th year of playing rock music at a private gig in Fremont.

As of 2008 John continued to play simply for fun, taking up any opportunities to play loud music for good crowds with no pressure. “The Write Offs” play about six times a year and plan to continue playing until it isn’t fun anymore, though based on the experiences they are having they can’t say exactly when that will be. Rock on!