Born in Chicago, November 9, 1951 Faren can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t
playing on a drum. He was given his first drum set when he was four and it was love at first
sound. He was fortunate to have grown up in Chicago where there was much music activity
and the home of many well known amateur contest.
Gene Krupa heard him for the first time when he was nine years old. Krupa immediately
made arrangements for Johnie to study under his old teacher Roy C. Knapp. That same year,
Johnie became a member of the Meredith Wilson’s Music Man Club. At twelve he was
percussionist and youngest member of the Southwest Symphony Orchestra.
He also became a contestant to advance into the championships. Soon afterwards,
Johnie studied drums with big band drummer Frank Mitchell.
His drumming reached new heights as he became the drummer of choice at many jazz festivals
and travelled frequently to Korea, Japan and China. No one has travelled more to Asia.
Performances with Bud Freeman, Red Norvo, Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton,
Bobby Haggart, Charlie Ventura, Wild Bill Davidson and Anita O’Day. And who could forget
that special tribute to Benny Goodman which Faren produced, directed and performed
in with Martha Tilton at the Midway Theatre.