Let’s start at the beginning. I was born in Manhattan Beach, California to parents that loved Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Dixieland music. I started playing guitar after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Rock and roll wasn’t necessarily my parent’s style but they said if you are going to play any instrument, play it good. At the age of 16 I traded in my baseball cleats to pursue a passion for music. My first band, the Weeds (no kidding!), played mostly for birthdays and teen parties in our hometown.
During my junior and senior year at Aviation High School, I was a member of Mother’s Pride, a rock group that blended 3 part harmonies with solid musicianship. The band had reasonable success and we won our share of Battle of the Bands contests. I married my sweetheart, Rosanne, when I was 21 years old. Family and a career with Delta Airlines left little time for music, but in 1983 I hooked up with some local musicians from the South Bay to form the band, Choyce. We recorded 3 albums and became regulars at local watering holes, clubs and concert halls in Southern California.
After moving to Salt Lake City UT in 1990, I immediately got involved the thriving music scene, forming the group, Vital Signs. We performed more than 400 shows before morphing into the Beatles tribute group, Imagine: Remembering the Fab Four! Still doing our thing, Imagine, and we’ve performed more than 1,200 shows to date, entertaining audiences from Washington D.C. to Shanghai, China. In 2013, after retreating to the solace of Gardnerville, NV (near Lake Tahoe), I was introduced to John Nikakis. It turned out we share a similar interest in quirky, ’60s folk oriented songs. We also dig acoustic stringed instruments. Shiny Guitars is our collaborative effort to bring the folk genre back to the mainstream in this crazy world of the 21st century.
In case you are wondering, Rosanne and I have been married for 45 years and every day we thank our son, Brian, for giving us 5 beautiful grandchildren!
Hi all! I’m John Nikakis. I live with my wife of 38 years and a small pack of dogs (or a pack of small dogs) in Gardnerville Nevada, just south of Carson City. I started singing when I was very young, my mother would teach me somewhat raunchy songs and have me sing them for her friends or at family gatherings. I still fondly remember some of those songs.
I started teaching myself piano at about age eleven and a couple years later started guitar when I realized the difficulties of lugging around a piano. I played in rock bands and folk groups all through high school and played as much as possible during my time in the Navy. I tried making a living with music for a few years after the service but gave it up for a steady income.
After that, music became more of a hobby. I played with friends and learned what I wanted. I can still pound out a song or two on the keyboard. I learned a little five-string banjo and mandolin and I even took violin lessons for several years. (You don’t want to hear me play violin.)
My guitar collection has grown to include a six and twelve string acoustic, a nice bass, an acoustic baritone, a resonator, a ukulele and several electrics. I don’t think of myself as a song writer, although I’ve made up many tunes and songs over the years, some good and some not so much. The process is a lot of fun, taking a tune and adding some lyrics or vice versa and then using todays computer recording software and building a finished song.
I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together.