JOHNNY CASINO’S New Album ‘High Stone’ Out Now




Following the appearance of the new single and video “The Ghost Train” earlier in the week, Australia’s #1 internationally revered globe-trotting guitar slinger (and tattoo artist par excellence!), Johnny Casino has today released his new album High Stone on Cheersquad Records & Tapes.

Johnny Casino

The album is available digitally and on limited edition orange vinyl and black vinyl from:

Formerly of Sydney’s beloved ’90s rock’n’rollers Asteroid B-612, Johnny Casino now calls Spain home and regularly plays across Europe and in the US. Indeed, his new album High Stone was recorded on a recent US sojourn, in Philadelphia, with members of the band St James and The Apostles. It was mixed in Spain by American Mike Mariconda, who has worked with other Australian legends the Cosmic Psychos and the Powder Monkeys as well as premiere punkers like the New Bomb Turks and Jack Oblivion and garage goddess Holly Golightly. 

The new album, as usual, highlights Johnny’s huge guitar chops and fine singing & songwriting. It features a stronger keyboard presence than is usual for Johnny – a great ’60s organ sound – and on some songs an endearing and soulful ’60s garage-pop feel not unlike Memphis greats the Reigning Sound. 

Johnny says of the new single “The Ghost Train”:
“I had the chords and changes for The Ghost Train for a couple of years, and I had what could be called a ̈word salad ̈ scribbled down on some paper, I even had a couple of melody lines written on the guitar BUT nothing was coming together until, while visiting some good friends in Virginia, I spent a week being woke up at around 4am in the morning and not knowing why.

Once or twice, I woke with the dream of a train whistle on my mind, it wasn’t until after about a week that I realized that it was an actual train whistle from a local cargo train passing by each morning that was waking me up!!

One of those mornings I woke and looked at the word salad on that paper and the lyrics just came together fast! I mean REALLY fast, it all just made sense, so I sat there at 4 or 5 in the morning lightly strumming the guitar and mumbling the lyrics in my head and knew I had a song… what I call a keeper!!

And the song kept falling into place while recording it with Thee Apostles, it felt easy and inspired at the same time. Jamie did a great job on some noise effects (made with real instruments) and the train whistle at the end really ties the room together doesn’t it?”

JOHNNY CASINO - The Ghost Train
JOHNNY CASINO – The Ghost Train (Official video)

Johnny Casino – Guitars / Jill Snarburg – Vocals / Jeff Castner – Drums
Mike Kiker – Bass guitar and Hammond Organ

Recorded at Greenrock Recorders Philadelphia by Jamie Mahon
Mixed and Mastered by Mike Mariconda
Produced by Jamie Mahon and Johnny Casino.

“Ghost Train” and previous single “Mr Fastgun” follows the release last month of Johnny’s incredible, epic 9:54-minute version of The Byrds‘ trailblazing psychedelic masterpiece “Eight Miles High”. Given its length. “Eight Miles High” is not on the vinyl edition of High Stone but it is available digitally. 

And now, to tell you more about his new recordings, he-e-e-r-e’s Johnny!

The city of Philadelphia has been good to your old pal Johnny Casino, in between the years of 1997 and 2001 I spent the best part of 3 years living there or being there for extended periods of time, and have returned many times since. I dig the gritty fighting spirit that I believe lives and breathes in Philly and it´s passionate people. The streets feel familiar to me and it feels like home, some of my favorite people live or once lived in Philadelphia, I love the city warts and all.

Johnny Casino

High Stone was recorded in Philadelphia…….twice!

This album started its life in Olde Richmond, Philadelphia, in early March of 2020, then……..well all kinds of ¨road blocks, detours, lost recordings, doubts and distances¨ tried to derail it until we finally finished it in October of 2023 (I recorded and released an album, a singles box set containing 5 singles and bonus tracks, and two other 45´s in between starting and finishing this album!?)

High Stone was recorded by my dear old friend Jamie Mahon (Three 4 Tens, Marah, Mondo Topless, St James and The Apostles) in his studio Greenrock Recorders, with his GREAT band The Apostles as my backing band and Jamie behind the controls.

This is not the place to bore you with the ¨how´s and why´s of the stops and starts and lost tapes¨ but we manged to get the recording side of it finished in July 2023. I then took the tracks back home to Spain to have them mixed and Mastered by Mike Mariconda (Raunch Hands, Devil Dogs, 9 Pound Hammer, The New Bomb Turks, Holly Golightly, Jack Oblivian, Barrence Whitfield)

Most of the ideas for these songs where conceived in my home in Spain BUT they most certainly became reborn walking thru my old haunts/streets in Philly, soaking in it´s smell, the way it moves, looks and feels, remembering times from more 20 years of frequenting the ¨city of brotherly love¨ and letting those memories and impulses that struck me shape and mold the songs and performances while recording.

The formula for recording these songs was to keep the ideas fresh, I would spend 15 or 20 minutes with the drummer Jeff Castner showing him a loose song structure and accent points, then we would start to roll the tape and make takes, if my memory serves me well we had each song in 3 takes or less, go into the control room have a listen together and decide on if we wanted to do another take, most of the time we didn´t!!

Jamie would do his ¨mad scientist¨ thing offering up different ideas for sounds and effects to flesh out the songs then Mike Kiker would come in later in the evening and add Bass guitar and keyboard parts and then even later Jill Snarburg would add her vocals and backing vocals to round it all out. The basic tracking took 3 to 4 days which I believe kept the songs open and fresh with a direct feel and energy.

My original idea was that Jamie Mahon would mix the album but he suggested the album would be served well by having a fresh set of ears hearing it and mixing from a slightly different perspective. I was visiting some good friends in Virginia lying in bed wondering who I might ask to mix the album when I got a call from my brother Julian Marco, we got to talking and he suggested I talk to Mike Mariconda whom was living in a small town near Valencia, which in turn is not that far away from where I live in Denia.

In the past I had worked only briefly with Mike many years ago when I was asked to play some guitar for my brothers in Los Chicos on a record he was producing. I had listened to Mike´s music and producing from a far for many years so I knew that what he might do could very easy be up my alley sonically speaking, I spoke to Mike briefly when I got home from America, sent him a rough mix of a song to see if he might be interested, luckily for me (hopefully you too!) he was up for it!

So Mike started doing his thing, the mixers flowed freely and we just went with what we thought best served the song, never trying to over complicate the mix or the song. Mike then mastered the recordings and now hopefully you are listening and feeling some of the things we did while making it.

Wishing y´all well – Johnny Casino

 Johnny Casino’s new album High Stone is out now through Cheersquad Records & Tapes. Available on limited edition orange vinyl and black vinyl, and digitally.

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