Guitarist and singer/songwriter Kraig Johnson rose to prominence in the late '80s with Run Westy Run, who came on the Minneapolis scene at the tail end of the reign of local giants like Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. (Run Westy Run also included Johnson's brother Kirk Johnson.) However, Kraig has received more exposure and acclaim as a member of the all-star roots rock collective Golden Smog (which also includes folks such as Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum). In fact, Johnson (aka Jarret Decatur) was the catalyst that turned Golden Smog from a fairly tongue-in-cheek side project recording covers to a group that made some genuinely great albums. He was the first to bring original songs into the fold (from a Run Westy Run recording session), therefore upping the ante (and seriousness) and leading to such strong releases as 1995's Down by the Old Mainstream and 1998's Weird Tales. Johnson became a member of the Jayhawks in the late '90s. He has also played in a fairly loose side project with Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, called the O Jeez.
Kraig Johnson Biography
by Erik Hage