The Magic of ‘Johnny’s Place’

Around about 1996 – 1997, I had heard about this little restaurant called ‘Johnny’s Place’ in Port Moody (about a mile and half from my place up the road in Coquitlam)

I had heard about it for good reason. Through the guitarist in Cease & Desist (Brent Howard Knudsen) I had met quite a few people.

So, I had met Tanya Panrucker, her sister Susan Smith and their mom Judy Panrucker. Judy ran Johnny’s Place. It was small; barely 40 seats nestled in a rustic surround which, from what I had heard, was mostly known to have the best breakfasts around.

I then heard a while later that at night the place was starting to go off….they were getting in some great talent. Judy ran into me at the bank one day and asked me to stop by – and suggested that maybe I could play there… but at the time, I was working 7 nights a week with two different bands so my time was pretty much used up for me to do ‘Johnny’s Place’.

The money they could offer was not huge due to their limited seating however Judy had said that if I were to play there, she could make it up to me with food and beverage etc.

Judy is and was always a very sweet person.

One night I happened to go into Johnny’s Place with my wife Joanne just to check the place out.

Judy’s boyfriend Barrie served us.

He took one look at me and said quite loudly, ‘ARE YOU MICK DALLA-VEE? MICK DALLA-VEE FROM TRAMA? THE ONE WHO SANG ROXANNE???’

I said rather sheepishly that I was… and he said ‘WELL LET ME THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!’

He went on to explain that in the 80’s, he would often frequent bars where Trama played. He knew that I would sing Roxanne at the beginning of the 3rd set, so he’d always make sure to chat up a gal on the previous break and ask her to dance the first song knowing it would be a ballad.

Barrie then said ‘you got me LAID so many times man!!! Let me buy you a drink!’

Ya… so I started hanging out there.

Because it was a restaurant, my whole family started hanging there. One of the last wonderful and deep conversations I had with my daughter Carolyn was there… a week before she died. Johnny’s Place started to mean the world to me as it did to a lot of musicians. It was just plainly magical.

Eventually, I wasn’t working Sunday nights any more, so I was able to start doing a solo there the odd time… then….I started doing every Sunday there.. it was just too much fun!

It ended up being even much more so incredible! My old pal Tommy Stewart started sitting in with me on drums and then the great Lee Worden on bass/vocals and the incredible Mike Norman on keys/vocals and sax who truly was probably the greatest talent I have ever known in my life. I hate cancer… taking a life so young with such huge promise.
But…. What a band! Probably the best band I have ever had ‘musicianship wise’ in my life. With Lee and Mike I was constantly simply trying to keep up. All in this little wee 40 seat place! Crazy!

Those Sundays were incredible!

When Carolyn passed away, Judy and Barrie graciously offered the restaurant for a gathering place after the service. It was perfect. Carolyn loved it there too…

Here’s a great shot from one of my Sunday gigs at Johnny’s Place with Jonas Falle on guitar beside me and the incredible Beverley Staunton. Beverley moved to LA a little while after this picture was taken and has had a huge career down there. Amongst a myriad of other gigs, she was the voice of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

with Beverley Staunton and Jonas Falle

Enjoy this video from a TV news magazine that had heard about ‘The Magic’ of Johnny’s Place.
Thank you Judy, Barrie, Susan and everyone who made me and my family part of your family… and for introducing me to some of the greatest musicians I have ever known.

The following video was shot on a Monday night. Russell Marsland (you’ll see him on guitar singing) had the place hopping every Monday. Great jamming… the night the cameras were there I was sitting in with my upright bass… which I had just acquired and was trying desperately to get a hang of.
Russell is a magnificent musician, guitarist/vocalist and his girlfriend Suzanne Gitzi (Raven) is one of the best female singers I have ever worked with. They are two of the most wonderful people I have ever met and I owe most of our friendship to Johnny’s Place.



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Mick Dalla-Vee

Early days 1976 - He moved to Western Canada, after leaving Bawating High School from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with the band Shama. Shama toured Western Canada and was managed by Bruce Allen (Bryan Adams, Martina McBride) before disbanding. 1981 -From that point he became the lead guitarist of Trama, managed by Sam Feldman (Joni Mitchell, Diana Krall), 1984 - then on to playing bass for the band Paradox which evolved into his current band Cease & Desist. 1989 - Cease & Desist has been described as "one of Vancouver's most popular bands" by Tom Harrison the rock music critic of The Province. He also plays the part of John in a Beatles cover band, Revolver, that was put together for Expo 86 Songwriting Mick has written or co-written many songs on albums for artists as diverse as country music's Brent Howard and Canada's Singing Cowgirl: Marilyn Faye Parney, the heavy rock sounds of Blackstone (released on the Delinquent label in Canada), the soul/R&B sounds Belinda Metz and 'Emily Jordan' to the 'smooth jazz' sounds of internationally acclaimed Lori Paul. 2005 - He co-wrote ten of the eleven songs on Paul's album Vanity Press. 1998 - His first country song 'The Wrangler' reached the country top 30 charts right across Canada. It also achieved 'Heavy Rotation' on C.M.T., Canada's country music video channel. One of the songs from Mick's 'A Whistler Christmas' album entitled, 'All I Want is You at Christmastime' has been recorded and released by Canadian country star, Brent Howard Currently - He has also written music for movies, television, videos, video games and promotional spots. His writing styles run the gamut from 'Smooth Jazz' to 'Heavy Thrash'. (A Whistler Christmas and Dalla-Vee's original Christmas songs are often heard on Canadian radio during their Christmas music programming.) Producing Aside from producing himself in an array of projects such as 1994's A Whistler Christmas album, he runs his own studio 'Millennia Sound Design', producing and engineering for artists like: Randy Bachman, Twitch, Swaggerjack, Emily Jordan, Russell Marsland, Lori Paul and Suzanne Gitzi among others. 2007 - has provided theme music and soundscapes for two network television series and Simon Fraser University. 2005 - Randy Bachman's CD "Jazzthing" had some work done on it at "Millennia Sound Design". Vocals Dalla-Vee has contributed to projects as diverse as, 1991 - the multi platinum heavy rock of the "Mötley Crüe" album "A Decade of Decadence" to the 2001 - country/rockabilly sounds of Brent Howard and Southern Cherry to Colin Arthur Wiebe. 1989 - Canadian legends, Trooper and The Powder Blues Band have also used Mick's voice for recordings. 1991 - He has worked extensively as a studio session singer/musician, with his talent of many voices being used on a worldwide 'Karaoke' album package marketed over the dreaded U.S. infomercial. He has sung a number of commercial jingles for radio and television. Awards Having recorded with a host of other Canadian and international recording acts such as Randy Bachman (of the band The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive), Mick was awarded a 'Gold Record' for his work on the 'Trooper' album 'Last of the Gypsies' in 1991. In 1997, he received the Saskatchewan Album of the Year Award for his song writing/musician contributions to an album with proceeds going to people affected with multiple sclerosis. 2011 – Gold Award for Bachman & Turner DVD – Live at the Roseland Ballroom 2013 – Platinum Award for Bachman & Turner DVD – Live at the Roseland Ballroom Appeared in ‘The Campaign’ with Will Ferrell, Zack Galifianakis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and directed my Jay Roach (shot in New Orleans) Current – Write music for the popular ‘Holmes’ TV series on HGTV Releases: “Bachman and Turner” in 2010 Producing the Toronto pop/soul band ‘Hello Beautiful’. Heads the ‘Music in Motion Workshop’ for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, a pilot project designed to develop a musical camaraderie with children, youth and young adults with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Live [edit] He keeps an extremely steady schedule playing guitar, bass and keyboards with his main band, Cease and Desist, and “The Atlantic Crossing Show” featuring Mick as John Lennon and Elton John. Since 2001 - He is the bass player/vocalist with Canadian Rock Legend, Randy Bachman's band 2004 - Bachman’s recent foray in the jazz world with his new CD, ‘Jazz Thing’ features Dalla-Vee on the ‘upright bass’. Ongoing - He plays mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitars and harmonica in the Brent Howard and Southern Cherry band, Ongoing - and has toured as John Lennon in 'Revolver - The Worlds Best Beatles Show'. Ongoing - In addition, he also works as a solo artist appearing regularly at special events and casinos. Affiliations 2004 - A longtime member of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, he has sat on the panel as a judge for Canada's Juno Awards (Canada's Version of The Grammy's). 1989 – 2001 He was on the board of directors of the Pacific Music Industry Association for 3 years, and is also chair of 2000 – 2005 The Carolyn Foundation Musician's Assistance Society; a non-profit organization he and colleagues set-up in the wake of his daughter Carolyn's sudden death in November 1999

6 thoughts on “The Magic of ‘Johnny’s Place’”

  1. Omg Mick it's hard for me to text this cause my eyes a watering. Thank you so much for being the magic the warmth and the reason there was a Johnnys. You were and are a hero to me. Your personality and talent are second to non. Now I get to call you and your family my friends. Thank you for being such a huge part of mine and Judys life. We will never forget one minute of the amazing period of our lives know as Johnnys place

  2. Check out the support,. Connect with friends who would financially commit to startup, find an affordable location with enough seating to financially make a success of it. Magic the second time around.

  3. My heart and soul is still at johnnys place ! It was my life! I will never forgive the chillo family for what they did ! It's been 15 years and I still have tears at night – trying to go to sleep ! My heart is heavy ! I miss it so much !

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