Singer/songwriter Johan Asherton has found an audience in his native France and as far away as Japan with his special brand of alternative pop and folk-rock. Born in Paris in 1958 to a family of classically trained musicians, he took up the violin and piano as a boy, and sang in his school choir -- but he found inspiration in a different musical direction from the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, T. Rex, and Creedence Clearwater Revival during the late '60s and early '70s. He switched to the guitar, and was originally fixated on the electric instrument -- in addition to Hendrix and Marc Bolan, Rory Gallagher and American bluesman Johnny Winter were strong influences on him during this period. During the first half of the '80s, Asherton formed and led the Froggies, a French garage punk band that released a pair of albums, Hour of the Froggies and ...
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography

by Bruce Eder

Singer/songwriter Johan Asherton has found an audience in his native France and as far away as Japan with his special brand of alternative pop and folk-rock. Born in Paris in 1958 to a family of classically trained musicians, he took up the violin and piano as a boy, and sang in his school choir -- but he found inspiration in a different musical direction from the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, T. Rex, and Creedence Clearwater Revival during the late '60s and early '70s. He switched to the guitar, and was originally fixated on the electric instrument -- in addition to Hendrix and Marc Bolan, Rory Gallagher and American bluesman Johnny Winter were strong influences on him during this period. During the first half of the '80s, Asherton formed and led the Froggies, a French garage punk band that released a pair of albums, Hour of the Froggies and Get Frogg'd, in 1984 and 1985, respectively. Asherton also passed through the lineup of the blues-based Belgian band Liquid Gang, participating on one album, entitled Showdown.

During the second half of the 1980s, however, his interests took an unexpected turn toward acoustic music. He became immersed in the sounds of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Nick Drake, at the same time moving toward a solo career that had him switching to acoustic guitar. Though he'd recorded his first single in 1981 (a project that first introduced him to producer Patrick Chavalot, who later worked with him on his album Under the Weather), it wasn't until 1988 that he cut his first album, and by then he was thoroughly under the spell of American and British folk and folk-rock, idolizing such figures as Tim Buckley, Dave Van Ronk, and Townes Van Zandt, among many others. His first album, God's Clown, was a retro-sounding folk record that was a commercial and critical success, and has come to be cited in recent years as an immensely important record on the French music scene.

His 1995 album, The Moon, was a tribute to one of his most important idols, Nick Drake, and in more recent years he has plunged into an extended series of tributes, musical and literary, to Marc Bolan. Asherton has worked with such figures as Nikki Sudden, guitarist/singer Dominique Laboubée, Tim Buckley alumnus Jeff Eyrich, bassist/keyboardist John Greaves, and the late Canterbury prog rock/jazz-rock drummer Pip Pyle. He has collaborated with figures from the folk music world such as Charlotte Greig and Julian Hayman, but he has also worked in the field of electronic music. His other activities include painting, literature, and films. As an author, Asherton was also responsible for a biography (in French) of Marc Bolan, and he has several published collections of poetry to his credit.