Johnny Bacolas, a first-generation Greek-American, is an accomplished musician and multi-talented artist. Born in Seattle, Washington on March 3rd, 1969, Bacolas serves as the co-founder, bassist, and producer of the band The Rumba Kings. His diverse skill set encompasses various roles within the band, including video director, video editor, musical director for live performances, music producer, and lead audio engineer for their recorded music.
Bacolas first developed his passion for music at a young age, thanks to his Athens, Greece born father, George Bacolas, a Seattle restaurateur who leased jukeboxes in his cocktail lounges. Young Bacolas would listen obsessively to the top-40 hits played on those jukeboxes, exposing him to a wide range of musical genres. Influenced by artists like The Beatles, Elton John, and Motown, Bacolas' musical taste was shaped early on.
As he grew older, Bacolas discovered The Gipsy Kings and Yanni, whose beautiful melodies, ethnic sounds, and orchestral arrangements captivated him. This newfound love for Mediterranean-inspired music would later inspire Bacolas to form a band dedicated to creating such music.
In 1998, Bacolas achieved significant recognition as the bassist and co-founder of the post-grunge group Second Coming. After a fierce bidding war among several major record labels, including Capitol Records, Sony Music, and RCA Records, the band signed with Capitol Records, Inc. (see related articles here) The group toured extensively and experienced national success, with three songs from their debut album charting on the Billboard rock charts. Their song "The Unknown Rider" was even featured in the 1999 blockbuster film "The Sixth Sense." Bacolas' determination, hard work, and business acumen played a crucial role in the band's success.
In 2010, Bacolas decided to pursue his passion for Mediterranean-inspired music and formed The Rumba Kings. After a rigorous audition process, Bacolas met guitarist/songwriter George Stevens, and together they co-founded the band. The Rumba Kings' music and live performances aim to evoke a specific feeling, and Bacolas believes they have successfully achieved that goal.
Outside of his musical endeavors, Bacolas enjoys spending his summers in Greece, particularly in a small mountain village called Mili. This village holds cherished childhood memories for him, as it was a place his mother frequented during her own summers as a child. Bacolas continues to visit Mili whenever he is in Greece, appreciating its significance in his life.
Greece has also played a role in The Rumba Kings' music videos, with several being filmed in various locations across the country, including the enchanting islands of Mykonos and Santorini, as well as the mainland. Bacolas envisions his ultimate dream as building a villa on Santorini, complete with a recording studio, demonstrating his deep connection and love for the Greek culture and its musical influences.
Unwinding an interview for The National Herald, journalist Taso Mouhteros reveals what seems to be building within Bacolas from the start, “My ultimate dream is to build a villa on Santorini with a recording studio," says Bacolas.
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With vocalist Sofi Alexandrou in Athens, Greece