Johnny Colla

Johnny Colla
Birth name John Victor Colla
Born (1952-07-02) July 2, 1952
Sacramento, California, United States
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar, saxophone, vocals
Associated acts Huey Lewis and the News, The Furlanders, Cottonmouth, Sound Hole, Sly and the Family Stone
Notable instruments
Guitar, saxophone, vocals

John Victor "Johnny" Colla (born July 2, 1952) is an American musician (playing the guitar and saxophone),[1] singer and songwriter. He is a founding member of the American rock band Huey Lewis and the News. He has been heavily involved in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for decades, having been in several other bands, including Van Morrison, Sly and the Family Stone, Huey Lewis and The News, Sound Hole, and Johnny Colla & The Lucky Devils.[2]

History with bands

The first bands that Colla was involved with from Fairfield, CA were The Furlanders, The Yewess Army and Cottonmouth.[2] In the early seventies he relocated to Marin County, CA and joined Sound Hole as a singer and saxophonist. Sound Hole was successful at a local level and became Van Morrison's backing band for a time. Other members of Sound Hole were drummer Bill Gibson and bassist Mario Cipollina, who also eventually ended up with Huey and The News. Sound Hole was the major local competition to Huey's band, Clover. After Sound Hole, Colla was enlisted as sax man/arranger with Sly and the Family Stone, recording and touring with Sly for a few years. In the late 1970s Sound Hole and Clover alumni merged to form a new group, the American Express, which later became known as Huey Lewis and the News. For the News, Colla became saxophonist, rhythm guitarist, backing singer and songwriter.

Colla was drawn to San Francisco from the Sacramento Valley during the 1960s Summer of Love. Like many others, Colla patronized the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium, eventually pursuing his idols and musical dreams over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County.

"I moved to Marin because that's where all the musicians moved after the San Francisco scene blew up. For a start-up musician in the seventies, it was a hot-bed of musical activity; a great place to be and be heard." He says. "Then I beat the odds. We not only started a great band, but actually became successful at it!"

Colla co-wrote hit songs such as "The Heart of Rock & Roll", "If This Is It", "The Power of Love", and "Back in Time". Lewis and Colla co-produced the band's 2001 album Plan B, and they are currently working on a new HLN project.

Solo career

Colla embarked upon a solo career to expand his personal musical horizons, releasing his first solo album Lucky Devil in the mid 1990s. Whenever The News take a break, Colla shifts gears . He released his second solo album, I Hear Voices, in 2012, which takes a more vocal approach than Lucky Devil, and he is currently working on an a cappella version of the same CD.

Appraisal calls the quality of Colla's vocal performance "compelling and soulful", reminiscent of the blue-eyed Philly Sound, with "a beautiful pop subtlety", adding that "fans of pop, western movers, Americana, and guitar rockabilly have struck the mother lode of music and will fall in love with the entire CD". EarBuzz continues to say "Equally impressive is (the fact) that Colla produced, performed, and wrote all of the tracks without his signature sax playing – further magnifying his abilities as a singer/songwriter of substance and talent ".


Colla also produced or performed on these records:


  1. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography: Huey Lewis & the News". AMG. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Bay, Accessed May 4, 2013.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/10/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.