Memories of Evan Johns & H-Bombs

13 Jun

Never heard of them? Of well, too bad for you. Evan Johns and the H-Bombs were part of the DC rockabilly scene in the 1980s. Yes, there was a pretty big rockabilly following in our Nation’s Capital at that time. I should know — I lived it. Acts like Evan, Tex Rubinowitz & the Bad Boys, Danny Gatton, Johnny Seaton, Billy Hancock, Switchblade, and Kelly Willis and the Fireballs were quite popular and even occasionally played on local radio stations like WHFS. Evan, a true rockabilly wildman, was a favorite of mine. Johns had the greased back locks, long 70’s Elvis sideburns, and tons of blue collar attitude. He typically played a Fender Telecaster — well, maybe played isn’t the best choice of words. More like he assaulted his Fender Telecaster. Yeah, that’ll do. The video clip above will give you a glimpse of his live act (circa 1987). Forgive the sound quality … it’s not the greatest. Note: My Va Tech college classmate Jimmy Starboard is on the drums … you just can’t see him in the darkness.

I actually took a few guitar lessons from Evan and got to know him and his brother (“Dootz”) pretty well. Cool guy, but he had his share of vices. I was driving a 1956 Buick Special at the time and Evan would often demand a ride to the local convenience store for a 6-pack before our lesson could get underway. Once back at his house, Evan would clear the bong, packs of cigs, countless matchbooks, and discarded empty beer bottles off the coffee table so we could get underway. The house was always pretty messy and Evan’s apparel usually consisted of some dirty old blue jeans and a white “wife-beater” tank top. What a piece of work!

My 1956 Buick Special was a two-tone green model

I would encourage you to find a copy of Evan’s CD “Rollin’ Through the Night.” Produced by the infamous Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, it is one of the classic underground gems of all-time. Evan rocks out throughout the session with the urgency of Link Wray, the Johnny Burnette Trio, and Howlin’ Wolf. Go to to pick up your very own copy. I guarantee you that you will ultimately cherish it.

An ever-frantic Evan with his H-Bombs

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