John Gradley has a job, a wife, a whole life outside of karaoke. But he will always live online as John G, star of a student-produced video that has gone relatively viral, the unlikely karaoke master. In this week's feature, Bob McMahon talked to Gradley about his unusual devotion to the craft and his new online audience. Gradley had plenty more to say about how he got into music, the old days on the St. Louis karaoke scene and a potential upcoming record. But first, whether you've seen it already or not, you have to watch him in action.
Gradley on "John G": The reason why I go by the stage name of "John G" is because at this place [my wife and I] were going to at the time, two of the guys there, he and myself, both had the first name of John. So I just started using the name "John G" and it just took off, and I started doing Michael Jackson, and that just took off and the rest is history.
Gradley on being in a band: I was in a band at one time and it never went the way that everybody planned it to go. I was actually the most loyal member of the band. I went to all the practices. And it seemed like the leader of the group wasn't really as serious as we thought he was at the time. I do keep in touch with him sometimes. And we still have the studio. I can record whenever I'd like to, it's just we're so busy, we just haven't had time to really get into the studio to track any type of musical material out. I do actually have two tracks on CD, which is my material, and we just don't have it ready to be released yet.
Gradley on what it means to be a star: Being a star like today's superstars are, they've just moved on to a bigger and better life. "Star" is just a word that is the professional or general name for achieving a higher level of entertainment in their profession.
Gradley on the old days: I used to do shows at the Tribe 36 and a club called The Sauna, my wife would go with me and watch these shows. It was a really enjoyable time for all of us back in those days.
Gradley on respect: People respect me because I'm not disrespectful towards them. [People like me ] for my attitude and my actions towards other people. They come outside and talked to me sometimes. You know, "How do you do what you do and what got you started?"