Big Ups With Johnny Starke a.k.a Johnny2tone

Name, Location, What You Do:

Johnny Starke a.k.a Johnny2tone – Kansas City, MO – Filmmaker/Label Owner/DJ


My folks mostly played ’50’s Rhythm and Blues records at our house growing up, so I lean hard on the popular music of that era. Everything I love has it’s roots in there. My father was also a huge Reggae head, so that sound is ingrained in my heart and soul. Like most kids that think they are “different” I found Punk Rock at a really young age and that made me realize music was so much more than just what was on the radio or what my folks were listening to. From there it was like a flood gate. Funk, Soul, Reggae, Hip Hop, Punk Rock, Mod Rock… Basically any aggressive roots music with Soul is what keeps my feet planted on this earth.

Favorite Records at the Moment:

If you would have asked me four years ago, I would have listed some random dope 45s I’d just found in some old guys basement, but we have a revolution going on and I’ve got new LPs on the turntable for the first time. Durand Jones/Ben Pirani/Nick Waterhouse/Jr Thomas/Cochemea… These are usually on while I’m cleaning and sorting 45s.

Best Digging Story:

My dig story starts in the same place as a lot of heavy diggers… but my experience was different. New Orleans. Eddie 3 Way’s. The ladder. The mold. The dudes you don’t ever look sideways at. With each step you took was the sound of breaking records and the thrill of every record you pick up being a Soul masterpiece. I had heard rumors of such a place. Talk from the diggers who came before me, but no one told you where it was or how you found it… if you knew, you knew. Being in there felt like I died and went to crate digger heaven. It almost wasn’t even about the records at that point, it was like finding Atlantis. To dig in the same room that most of my DJ heroes had dug in… basically sacred ground. I have the upmost respect for the record heads that laid the ground work and made this a lifestyle for us. They chopped down all the trees, now we are out here building roads. I did walk away with about 300 of the best 45s in my collection though, haha.

Favorite Mix and Why. Any Genre, Any DJ.

I think Shades Of Blue… It has that amazing ability to be raw and refined at exactly the same moment. Max Tannone’s Mos Dub and Dub Kweli are also HUGE in my life.

LP, 12”, or 7” format?

7″ – NO QUESTION! This is the most active form of music listening. You can’t get away from it… You have two minutes and thirty seconds to absorb everything the artist is trying to give you. You don’t get to go make popcorn while a 45 is grinding away.

Junk Food You Can’t Live Without:

I quit drinking almost a decade ago, ever since then I eat sweets like it’s nobody’s business. But I’ll shout out Dilla… I honestly couldn’t live without Donuts.

Most Memorable Gig Played:

I played the basement of this tiny club in Des Moines, Iowa with my dude Manic Times. It was maybe a 100 cap room and it was one of those gigs where people are there because it’s the place to be, not because they live and breath the music. We were going one for one all night and we were just dialed in, same brain kind of deal. Nothing but heat for about an hour straight and everyone was dancing. About 1am I look up from the turntables and there are at least 175 people crammed into that dank little Iowa hole. Dancing, sweating, losing their minds to songs they have never remotely heard. It’s a crowd of mostly college kids, bar rats, and party girls… I know what these people need. I pop on the next 45 and from the very first note the crowd goes into full on carnage mode. Kids are swinging from the ceiling, girls are climbing on people’s heads, some dude has even mounted the PA stack and is just screaming in my face… College kids become animals when they’ve had a few drinks and you hit them with the ol’ Freddie Scott classic. We owe Biz for that one.

Record That Never Leaves Your Record Box:

Soul Box: The Turnpikes – Cast A Spell
Reggae Box: Prince Buster – Prince Of Peace
Punk Box: The Undertones – You’ve Got My Number

Shout Outs, Last Remarks, and Gig Info:

Man like Jamison Harvey! Thanks for always supporting the scene! Shout out to Ethiopian Buffets everywhere! Check out my record label Teenage Heart Records. I produce and release records I love, mostly Punk/Reggae/Soul 45s. We have a new Soul 45 coming out that is strictly a fundraiser for 1960s KC Soul singer Tony Ashley, who was murdered right before his big break. Also, shout out to KC Funk band The Freedom Affair, they have a single coming out on Colemine Records soon. Kansas City, THIS IS THE PLACE! Check me out on Instagram, it’s where I post rare KC Soul records and deejay happenings:

Dig Deeper!

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