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John Bartus: Bio

John Bartus - Songwriter, Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards

Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a 30-year full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter, continues to raise the bar with both his groundbreaking solo acoustic show, and his killer band, Storm Watch.

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John Bartus was the Mayor of an island town in the Florida Keys (Marathon). He is or has been, at one time or another, part owner of a newspaper group, radio talk show host, partner in retail shops, record producer, magazine publisher, city councilman, recording studio owner, voiceover talent, advertising consultant, and -- no lie -- prop man for a circus. But what John Bartus is best known for is being one of the premier singer/songwriters in the islands Jimmy Buffett once called home. And after thirty-plus years of entertaining audiences, John is far from putting the guitar down. As he put it in a recent interview, "Long after all my other careers are through, I'll still be playing music somewhere." And even with all the other careers, John still performs more than 200 shows each year. He has shared the stage or opened for artists like Kansas, E-Street sax man Clarence Clemons, Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter, and 38 Special. He and his band headline the Florida Keys' best St. Patrick's and Independence Day parties as well as the huge Marathon Seafood Festival year after year. 

As diverse as his interests outside of music have been, so too are his musical paths. There are the Taylor-, Chapin-, and Lightfoot-influenced solo acoustic guitar performances. There's the Fogelberg- and McCartney-like studio perfectionist. There's the Billy-and-Elton-influenced piano balladeer. And there's the electric band leader/lead guitarist, equal parts Neil Young, Dave Gilmour, and Mark Knopfler. John's three recent CD releases highlight this diversity. On the 2002 Keys Disease CD, Bartus the studio rat showed just what can be done by one person in a recording studio -- "The old-fashioned way, by really playing all the parts," Bartus is quick to point out. And John's Live From The Florida Keys CD showcases his solo acoustic guitar and piano work in a live Florida Keys club setting. John Bartus & Storm Watch - Live at the 2009 Marathon Seafood Festival is a showcase of a really good band at a big event. Both live CDs are really 100% live -- neither one was 'fixed' in the studio after the fact.

John Bartus got off the road in the Florida Keys back in the mid-1980s, just after releasing his first album with then-partner Sallie Foster. "For four years, I left home and traveled to where the people were," Bartus says with a smile. "For the past twenty, I've let them leave home and come to me. It's better for all of us that way!" 

Glenn Faast - Drums, Vocals

The Actuals. Savage Henry. The Dead Parrot Society. Dave Feder & the Saltwater Blues Band. The Florida Straits Band. Jimmy Hawkins & the Cyclones. The Conch Republic Band. The Freddie Bye Band. The Fantasy Band. It's almost easier to list the Keys groups Glenn Faast hasn't performed with.
Originally hailing from Connecticut, Glenn arrived in the Keys in 1986. Strangely enough, he had put the sticks down for several years, taking on other challenges such as becoming a world champion jet ski racer. The allure of music proved too strong, however, and Glenn found himself seated behind the drums once more with Freddie Bye at the Brass Monkey.
Glenn's percussive influences include John Bonham, Neil Peart, Keith Moon, Stan Lynch, Charlie Watts, and Ringo Starr. He also cites guitarists Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Bob Marley as major influences as well.
When not rhythmically occupied, Glenn enjoys tennis, softball, volleyball, and the occasional trip to the mountains to test his skills on downhill runs and white powder snow.

Rob Garza - Bass & Vocals

Born and raised in Wyandotte, Michigan about 10 miles south of Detroit on the Detroit River, Rob Garza grew up listening to Bob Seger , Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, and numerous Motown acts. He started playing bass in high school at 16 – his friend wanted to borrow an Ozzy Osbourne album, so in return Rob asked to borrow a bass the friend had lying around in his bedroom. It was an old Vox bass, and the strings were about an inch off the neck. Rob started playing it through his home stereo, jamming along with Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix, and the rest is history.

Rob played in an original project called Rockenstein from the late 80s to the early 90s in the Detroit original scene. Rob then started a band called Double Down that lasted almost 14 years. He also did a short stint in a Frank Zappa tribute band as well as a few blues bands.

The tropical bug bit and Rob moved to the Keys five years ago this June. Since then, he has played stages from Florida City all the way down to Key West (and most places in between). His first gig with Storm Watch came about when the band’s former bassist bailed out last minute on a big festival show. Glenn to the rescue – he had heard Rob and invited him to come play and save the gig. In addition to Storm Watch, Rob plays with several other bands as an in-demand bassist… and is known to occasionally strap on an acoustic guitar and play solo as well.

Steven Miller - Lead guitar, vocals

This South Florida/Keys native left the tropics in the first half of the 1980s to perform with the C.G. Strutt Band, mostly in the Midwest. The second half of 80s saw Steven with Rosetta Stone, touring from Key West to Chicago, opening for name acts like Steppenwolf, Head East, Pat Travers, the Producers and others.

The dawn of the 90s found Steven back home, where he got a blues education playing in Jack Snipes’ legendary Big Dick & the Extenders band for two years. Steven played in one of the Keys’ best-ever classic rock bands, Blackwater Sound, for most of the 90s, and then moved in a different direction with Radioghost, recording and performing original music until 2012.

“I had seen Steven play several times throughout the years, and was always blown away by his technique and tone,” John Bartus recalls. “It was Glenn – again – who was the catalyst for bringing Steven into the band.”

Adrienne Z - Acoustic guitar, vocals

Adrienne Z is a studio singer, songwriter, vocal arranger, engineer, and producer who loves to get out and perform. Early in her music career, Adrienne achieved local success in the Metro Boston area. A music writer once said this about Adrienne: “There’s a mystical quality in her writing that I’ve seen in few other performers. It is beyond me how someone this talented has not been signed to a major label record deal.”

Adrienne has a brand new CD of original songs. Titled Chameleons, Adrienne’s fourth solo CD is filled with songs about her experiences in relationships. Her music and voice are enticing and filled with beautiful melodies that bring her listeners into another world.