Co-founder, Johnny Bacolas, a first-generation Greek-American, born in Seattle, Washington on March 3rd,1969, is the band’s bassist and producer. He's also the band’s video director, video editor, music director (live performances), and lead audio engineer for The Rumba Kings’ recorded music. Bacolas is best known as the bassist and member of the post-grunge group and Capitol Records recording artist, Second Coming. He was also a founding member of the rock band, Alice 'N Chains (see related video and Wikipedia article), a precursor to Alice in Chains that also featured vocalist Layne Staley.
At the age of five, Bacolas’ first introduction to music was from his father, George Bacolas, who was a Seattle restaurateur. Bacolas' father leased jukeboxes in his cocktail lounges that played top-40 hits on 45 RPM records. The singles were rotated from month to month, and after their run in the top 40, his father would bring them home. Bacolas would obsessively listen to the records on his family's record player, and subsequently was introduced to a wide variety of music through these records. His earliest influences from those recordings were The Beatles, Elton John, and Motown songs.
At the age of eighteen, Bacolas discovered The Gipsy Kings and Yanni, and fell deeply in love with the beautiful melodies, ethnic sounds, and orchestral arrangements in their music. He decided this was a musical direction he wanted to pursue at some point when the time was right.
In May of 1998, Bacolas’ group, Second Coming, was signed to Capitol Records, Inc. after one of the largest bidding-wars of the 90’s erupted among multiple major-labels, including Capitol Records, Sony Music, RCA Records, and several others (see related articles here). Capitol's then president, Gary Gersh, who signed Nirvana, said of the group, "I think they know where they fit in the marketplace...And what it's going to take to succeed." The band toured heavily, and later achieved National success, having three songs from their debut album titled, Second Coming, chart on the Billboard rock charts, with over 300 stations nationwide playing the band’s music on regular rotation, as well as having one of the group’s songs, The Unknown Rider, featured in the 1999 Blockbuster film featuring Bruce Willis, The Sixth Sense. In an interview with Bacolas in The National Herald, journalist Taso Mouhteros, in reference to Bacolas stated, “It's because of his Bacolas' determination, hard-work, and level-headed business savvy that the stage was set for their music (Second Coming) to be recognized.”
In 2010, Bacolas decided to fulfill his other musical passion to form a band that wrote and performed Mediterranean-inspired music. After several years of auditioning musicians for his new group, in May 2015 Bacolas met guitarist/songwriter, George Stevens, and they co-founded The Rumba Kings together. “I wanted to form a band that produced music and create a show that I would love. As artists I feel our job is to sell a feeling. I believe we’ve achieved that with The Rumba Kings' music and live performances,” says Bacolas.
Bacolas, who's fluent in Greek, enjoys spending his summers in Greece, “I love the islands, who doesn’t, but I think my favorite place in Greece is a small mountain village named, Mili. When I was a child, we would go to Greece every summer and mother would take my brother and I there to visit for a few days during each trip. It's a place where she spent most of her summers as a child. This village still hold some of my fondest memories growing up. I still visit that little village every time I’m in Greece," says Bacolas.
Several of The Rumba Kings' music videos were recorded in different locations in Greece, including the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, and throughout the mainland. 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.
More articles related to Johnny Bacolas here
With vocalist Sofi Alexandrou in Athens, Greece