The Johnny Vidacovich Trio Brings Down The House At The Maple Leaf On A Balmy Thursday Night

As I walk into the Maple Leaf on Thursday, May 10th, I am excited to find out who will be joining Johnny in his trio tonight. Whoever it will be, I know it will be a great show as always. During cigarette breaks in the courtyard, my boyfriend and I had the chance to converse with a few groups of people about how they were enjoying the show so far, which they all were. One group of people in were in town from several places, including Denver and Texas, for a convention. They told me that they had found their way to the Maple Leaf on this awesome night per a local’s suggestion of the Maple Leaf In General. They were greatly appreciative of the tip they had been given.
A group of local men said that they try to make a habit of always or as close to catching the Trio whenever they play the Maple Leaf.

A passerby on the sidewalk outside of the front was heard asking the door guy if The Johnny Vidacovich Trio was playing. When the man working door confirmed that they were, this seemed to be the clincher in the man’s decision to enter the bar.

A passerby on the sidewalk outside of the front was heard asking the door guy if The Johnny Vidacovich Trio was playing. When the man working door confirmed that they were, this seemed to be the clincher in the man’s decision to enter the bar.

During the break in between songs, my boyfriend and I had the chance to ask Johnny a few quick questions. We had a very enlightening, enjoyable conversation with him in the alley before he had to return to the stage.

M: If you could bring one late great musician back from the dead to collaborate with for one set who would it be?

J: Bill Evans

M: Awesome

J: …with Scott LaFaro

M: What is your favorite thing about living in New Orleans aside from the music scene?

J: I was born here lived here raised here, I travelled around the world a couple times and it’s my favorite thing… cause its home.  Feels like home, I’ve been around, tried other places.

M: I agree there.  Where else have you lived in the US besides New Orleans?

J: I tried Los Angeles, I tried Raleigh North Carolina when I was much younger.

M: How long did the Los Angeles thing last?

J: I only stayed about 11 months.

M: How old were you at the time?

J: I was 27, I was kinda young.

M: I can imagine there was probably some crazy partying at that time.

J: It wasn’t too good for me, I didn’t fit in.  I didn’t really do a lot of crazy partying… I did a lot of crazy things but not really crazy partying; well yea I guess it was partying (laughs) partying is a pretty broad term.

M: Aside from jam band how would you personally sum up the sort of music you play?

J:  Experimental spontaneous feeling.  A lot of people live spontaneously; in this case we’re living through music.  Tonight were playing a few songs that happen to be structured and do have parameters, but we play a lot of stuff that doesn’t have parameters that is very free and spontaneous. 

M:  I like that very much.  When you were first performing what was your personal mechanism to overcome stage fright?

J:  Don’t stay in one place, try to let it move around your body physically and turn it into positive energy.  Try to make the movie in your mind a positive one but it’s good to be nervous, that’s a good thing because that just gives you more energy and I think it brings your performance level up, like I’m a drag all day long but once I sit down behind the drums I’m a lot of fun.

M:  Absolutely, I have Tourette’s syndrome and I feel a lot more comfortable on the microphone.  I’ll give you one more question, overall if you could make one shout out to New Orleans musicians what would it be.

J:  Be yourself, show love first and take the chance.

M:  That is very good advice thanks for that and for taking time to talk, I can’t wait to hear the second half of your show.


After the break, we enjoyed the show. I danced compulsively and my boyfriend kept up with my energy well enough. They played a song, really more of a jam that sounded like snake charmer or belly dancer music. I found this particularly fun to dance to. As the show and the evening began to wind down, the crowd remained quite thick and just as enthusiastic as whenever they had arrived. There was even one number late in the set that seemed to inspire one couple nearby to become very freely and publically affectionate. This was in accordance with Johnny’s statement that love songs were his favorite kind of songs to play. Men came together with their buddies in a comradery that only a shared musical experience can produce. 


Even as the clock crept towards the wee hour of 2am, those who were fading from drinks, dancing, and signature New Orleans heat and humidity continued to put all effort left in them towards enjoying the experience of watching The Johnny Vidacovich Trio to its full extent.  Clearly, this was a show to remember for potential new fans as well as avid followers of this amazing, truly unique musical phenomenon.


Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *