His professional career commenced with The Sweet Inspirations as an opening act for Elvis on The Strip in Las Vegas. If it were not for Gerald Johnson, most people wouldn’t know Steve Miller as a joker, a smoker, or even a midnight toker!
A left-handed player who utilizes a righty Fender P inverted, Johnson’s soulful pocket playing, warm resonant tone, and engaging stage presence earned him a position at the top of his profession as an in-demand session player, concert performance sideman, and vocalist. In addition to his stellar collaborations with Miller (The Joker, Abracadabra, among others), you know Gerald from his timeless work with the Pointer Sisters (“Fire”); Dave Mason (Split Coconut, Let It Flow, Mariposa de Oro, among others); Crosby, Stills & Nash & Young (CSN, Looking Forward); Stephen Stills (Thoroughfare Gap, Man Alive!); Les Dudek (Ghost Town Parade, Say No More); Gregg Allman, and Carl Wilson, among many others.
Akin to such bass icons as Sir Paul, James Jamerson, and Willie Weeks – Johnson is that rare player who renders bass lines that also serve as hooks to whatever song he’s playing. And as a soloist, Johnson never surrenders the groove as evidenced on his killer breaks found on Dave Mason’s Certified Live (1976) rendition of “Gimmie Some Lovin’ or on Miller’s“Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma” and the title track to Steve’s aforementioned classic LP from 1973.