From the moment John Ellis saw The Beatles playing on the Ed Sullivan show in 1963 he knew he wanted to be a musician. Having grown up in a musical household, the thought of pursuing a career in music seemed sort of, well, normal.
Born in the small Vancouver Island town of Port Alberni, BC at a time when the town was booming and the music scene was thriving, John took full advantage of the opportunities presented to him and set out on his path as professional musician with focus and determination. He started playing gigs for $25 a night around the area at the age of twelve, completed his grade seven of the Royal Conservatory of Music on piano, then picked up the guitar and started to rock 'n' roll in the high school band.
After high school John began studying Commerce and contemplated
offers to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. As his academic success started to wane, John quit college, got a band together and began focusing solely on his music career. After touring around the island he and his band decided to move to Vancouver, where he was met with fierce competition and a long string of lousy gigs, some resulting in firing.
Eager to bring his musicianship to the next level, John picked up the pace and started learning the contemporary music of the day, leading him to a 4 year touring run throughout Western Canada with various acts. After finishing his long run out on the road, his band Pacheena became one of the top drawing groups in the Vancouver club scene, working 6 nights, 52 weeks a year until 1983.
35 years later, and an epic list of road stories, John has become one of Canada's most accomplished multi-instrumentalists and has toured with top Canadian acts such as the Juno Award winning group Doc Walker, Aaron Pritchett, Ridley Bent, Ferron and Jim Byrnes. He also took to a path of record production in the Alt/Country, Folk/Roots, Blues and Rock genres and operates from his own studio called MacArthur Park Productions. To date he has produced several award winning albums for artists such as Jeremy Fisher, Barney Bentall, Tara Oram, Be Good Tanya's, Ridley Bent and Doc Walker.
He has played with, and recorded, all of the musicians in the New Yank Yorkies in various projects, and found himself drawn to each of their unique styles. After an impromptu rockin' jam/recording session, the group decided to roll up their sleeves and create something organic and fresh and called it the New Yank Yorkies. As John so perfectly states, “everyone in the band has their own sense of honour and humour. Everyone clicks on a personal and musical level, but at the same time gets to be their own individual 'get down and dirty'.”
(Guitars, Pedal Steel, Keys, Vocals)