by Daniel Corey
Do you know anybody that has their own table set aside to honor them at the legendary Rainbow on Sunset Strip? Who also happens to be a world-class rock guitarist, VO artist, pit bull advocate and super-nice guy? Well, I do. His name is Ace Von Johnson.
Ace is currently playing guitar and touring with L.A. Guns, a band known to be a Los Angeles institution since the ‘80s. I had a chance to chat with Ace at Winter NAMM 2020, to see what he’s up to and get a handle on his many side projects.
Daniel Corey: I’m on the floor at NAMM with Ace Von Johnson, guitarist extraordinaire.
Ace Von Johnson: That’s an overstatement.
Daniel Corey: Oh, no, no, no, this guy’s amazing. I’ve seen him a couple times, and he’s great. So, tell me, first of all, what are you doing here at NAMM? What’s going on?
Ace Von Johnson: Well, I’m here with my buddy, Riki Rachtman. We’re promoting his podcast. He just launched a new podcast called The Triple R. And we’re also doing a musical project TBA, and so we’re kind of announcing that sort of a subtly. And I’m here, you know, as a musician; it’s NAMM. So, it’s like a necessary evil: once a year, I come out to this show and rub some elbows. Mostly it’s just to socialize and say hi to friends I don’t get to see every day.
Daniel Corey: Yeah, I work primarily in the publishing world, in comics, so there’s the San Diego Comic Con. It’s the comic book equivalent of this, and a lot of people dread it. I like it; I think it’s fun. But, yeah, there is a lot of hardship about doing these kind of shows. There’s the bad air in these convention halls, for one.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah.
Daniel Corey: It’s already wreaking havoc on my throat, and I’ve only been here a few hours.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah, NAMMthrax.
Daniel Corey: NAMMthrax!
Ace Von Johnson: It’s a real thing.
Daniel Corey: Yeah, it certainly is. So, we were just chatting a little bit, you were telling me about some of the things you had going on since December. You had a show with L.A. Guns at The Whisky.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah, we did sort of our end-of-the-year blowout. We did Vegas and San Diego House of Blues and the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Hollywood, and we filmed and recorded the Whisky-A-Go-Go show, which I believe–don’t quote me–but I think will be a release.
Daniel Corey: Cool.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah, and then we’ve got some local shows this weekend, and then we’re taking a few months off. Tracii Guns’ wife is expecting a baby in a few weeks.
Daniel Corey: Oh, nice.
Ace Von Johnson: So, he’s taking a quick parental leave of absence, and we’re all going to work on our own individual things. Like I said, I’m working on this music project with Riki, kind of rock and roll/punk rock thing, and there’s going to be a bunch of guests. So, it’s going to be one of those kind of projects, like a different-lineup-each-song sort of thing.
Daniel Corey: You’re also doing some voiceover, right?
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah. I do voiceover work occasionally, as well. So, always looking to pick up some stuff there, and DJ a couple gigs here and there.
Daniel Corey: Where are you doing the DJ work?
Ace Von Johnson: Well, there’s a couple places in L.A. that I’m trying to reconnect. There was about a year where I had three different residencies at a place called Loaded, which is gone; the Burgundy Room, which has been there for a hundred years, literally; and then Lucky Strike. So, I may try to go back to Burgundy. It was talked about. And then there’s a promoter in Texas bringing me out for an event out there, which is a nice little event to do. I think there’s some other stuff that just hasn’t firmed up enough for me to really act like it exists.
Daniel Corey: Yeah, that’s the way it is in this business.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah. And look for some photo shoot stuff, just confirmed yesterday, for a large tattoo magazine appearance. You know, it’s like one of those things where I don’t wanna say what it is until it actually happens.
Daniel Corey: Yes.
Ace Von Johnson: But as of yesterday, it just got confirmed. There’ll be a feature in this kind of well-known magazine on tattoo artists, but also people who are heavily tattooed. And I happen to also be heavily tattooed.
Daniel Corey: There you go.
Ace Von Johnson: Bob’s your uncle. They’re going to take a bunch of pictures of me. (laughter) I’m staying busy. Yeah, that’s it, hanging tough.
Daniel Corey: Good, man. Well, I’m glad to talk to you. Thanks for filling us in.
Ace Von Johnson: Absolutely.
Daniel Corey: And I’ll certainly keep up with you down the line.
Ace Von Johnson: Yeah, yeah, L.A. Guns will be on the road all 2020 and 2021, et cetera. Keep an eye out for us, and see you out there.
– Incidentally, I recently visited The Rainbow with my multi-talented friend, singer/songerwriter/pianist/actress/dancer (she really does all of those things, and well!) Karuna Tanahashi. It was about midnight on a Monday, after a crazy night at The Whisky, and the hostess seated us at Ace’s table, which seemed like a fun coincidence. For kicks, we took a few pictures.
- Follow Ace Von Johnson on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and be on the lookout for L.A. Guns in your city.