Sunday, July 09, 2000

Ex-CEO rockin' to oldies band beat

By John Johnston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The beat goes on for Ed Johnson. Last summer he quit his job as president and chief operating officer of StarKist Seafood to pursue personal interests, which included playing drums for the oldies rock band 4 on the Floor.

        When The Enquirer wrote about Mr. Johnson in December (Dec. 5 story), the band was recording its first CD at Group Effort Sound Studios in Erlanger. In the spring, they wrapped up Let It Grow.

        “The best way to describe it is, it's seasoned rock. It's sort of a vintage '70s feel but with more contemporary melodies, more ballads,” Mr. Johnson says.

        The CD is the first for DearJohn Records, the record label founded by Mr. Johnson and Tim Deardorff, vocalist and keyboardist for 4 on the Floor. The CD can be bought through the band's Web site,

        Mr. Deardorff wrote five of the songs; Kim Hagerty, lead guitarist and vocalist, wrote four. Greg Kottmann, keyboardist and vocalist, rounds out the group.

        “We're a bunch of middle-age guys that are doing this as a labor of love,” Mr. Johnson says. “We really enjoy it. If people like it, that's great. But we're not expecting to be the next teen idols. We play for people, they like it, and that makes us feel good.”

        The band keeps busy playing private parties — birthdays, wedding receptions and the like — as well as public events such as Hot Wax Hops at Coney Island.

        Mr. Johnson says he has no regrets about leaving the helm of a $1.3 billion company. From his home office in Symmes Township, he continues to work on commercial real estate and property management ventures.

        And for a man often seeking new challenges, music provides it.

        In March, his teen-age son, Derek, and his band, Internal Resource, needed an emergency replacement drummer to compete in the semifinals of the battle of the bands at Bogart's in Corryville.

        Derek turned to his father.

        “It's different music,” Mr. Johnson says. “I had to bust my butt to learn it. We didn't make it to the finals, but at least I got 'em through the night. I was flattered he asked me to sit in.”


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