The evolution of Johnny Maraca
Johnny Maraca was not my first on-air name.
Go back a dozen years or so and I was Johnny Pepperoni, sidekick to the sandwich artist superhero Captain Subway!
Our Owen Sound sister station Mix 106-5 had a morning show giveaway. Local businesses sent in faxes and emails to win a Subway lunch delivered by Captain Subway (JD Moffat, whose deep voice can be heard on many a 97.7 ad) and Johnny Pepperoni. JD and I did a little on-air chit-chat every Friday and selected the winning entry.
Johnny Maraca was also born in Owen Sound, but not on the radio.
One day, a wild and crazy fellow named Sean Anderson moved from London to join our copywriting team, and life would never be the same. Sean played drums in a London-based rockabilly band called The Black Holes. He also developed a fondness for a local hotel, The Coach Inn, a once swank establishment that had become, uh, not so swank. Many locals were afraid to set foot in the place.
Sean got his band booked at The Coach or, more specifically, Crossroads Pub (dubbed The Dark Side). My radio co-workers and I caught the band’s first appearance. In between sets, Sean said, “Johnny, we’ll have to get you up on the stage.”
I thought Sean was joking. He wasn’t.
During the second set of the Holes next engagement (thankfully I’d had a few beverages to prepare me for what came next) Sean got on the microphone and called me up to the stage. He handed me maracas and the band ripped into Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode. For some reason it just felt right shaking one maraca so I set the other one down next to Sean’s gigantic bass drum…and a legend was born.
Though I kinda miss Johnny Pepperoni. On many occasions, the winners would invite us to stay for lunch and I enjoyed plenty of yummy subs thanks to that name.