Van Gogh Brothers
Lead vocal & acoustic guitars
John was born in Liverpool, England, to American ex-pats who later settled in the Boston area.
John performed early on as a bass player with the fusion outfit Zamcheck, which featured Mark Zamcheck on keyboards and Michael Levine on violin. Zamcheck toured with Gary Burton and Pat Metheny and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1974.
John later embarked on a business career which included work with eMusic where he negotiated digital licensing rights with labels and artists including Rykodisk, They Might Be Giants, Cooking Vinyl Records, spinART Records, Phish, Elvis Costello, Relix Records and many others. John recently assisted Jeff Price of spinART Records with the formation of TuneCore, a digital music delivery service for independent artists, now the largest distributor of online music in the world. John is also active with Soundwave Research Labs, producer of the Crowley-Tripp line of advanced ribbon microphones. John currently works as a full time performing and recording artist and as a principal with his music publishing company, American Music Partners.
John is a prolific songwriter. He has written more than 1,000 songs and recorded 10 albums since returning to music in 1996, two of which have been released by Blue Rose Records in Germany. Producers include Anthony J. Resta (Elton John, Collective Soul, Duran Duran, Shawn Mullins) for “X”, “The Wonder Show” and “Livin in the Moment” and Rob Fraboni (Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt) for “Two Brothers”.
John’s songs are featured in film, network television and on DVDs, including such projects and programs as “American Idol”, “Num3ers”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Touched by an Angel”, “All My Children”, “Touching the Game”, and many others.
John created and hosted the highly successful Americana Showcase at the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which ran for 8 years. John has also been active with Billy Block’s Western Beat Entertainment, which includes showcases in Nashville and Los Angeles, with intermittant runs in Boston, Austin and New York.
John and the van Gogh Brothers appear regularly in the Northeast, and periodically in the Midwest, Nashville and Los Angeles.
Electric guitars and backing vocals
Paul was raised in Western Massachusetts and migrated with music to the Boston area in the ’70′s.
Paul has played with countless recording and performing artists since moving to Boston and has recorded for Sony Music.
Paul shares a musical vocabulary with John which is nearly identical – having grown up on the same artists and music in the same times. Paul co-produces with John as one half of the “van Gogh brothers” which John and Paul formed to reflect their each having “one good ear”. Paul and John have played together since 1995.
Bass Guitar and backing vocals
Clayton “Bob” Young began playing with the John Cate Band in June of 2002. After not actively performing live for a number of years, Bob dusted off the boots, put on his big boy pants, and began performing live with John.
“John’s music inspired me emotionally as a person, and emotionally as a bass player. The first time I watched John and Paul play, I told them at the break, I have to be a part of this band.”
Bob was introduced to the bass by his elder brother of ten years, Dave Young, (Angela West, Dave Young Country) who, at the time, was touring nationwide with the soul group The Manhattans. Bob’s professional music career started at the age of 13, playing with Swinging Steaks singer/guitarist/songwriter Tim Giovanniello. Bob has been a supporter and substitute bass player with the Steaks ever since.
Bob still occasionally plays in Giovanniello’s side project WEED. Bob’s playing can be summed up as emotional and powerful. “It is all about the music. It is how you play one note that makes the difference in music, not how many notes, or how fast you play the notes. Lay it down, let it breathe and people will want to take the musical journey with you!”
Born and raised in Minnesota, Steve started his career playing guitar at the tender age of 7. As a now-seasoned member of the van Gogh Brothers, Steve (“Stevie”) enjoys his utility role in the band playing pedal steel, fiddle, and mandolin. Steve says -“It’s like coming off the bench, hitting a couple of key shots, then going back to the bench and grabbing a beer. Life is good.” Steve has played on or produced over 150+ recordings with such artists as East of October, Melvern Taylor, and Stan Swiniarski, with whom he recorded The top 10 hit “Ain’t That Love” (pedal steel).
Steve also provides private instruction for guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and dobro. Steve lives with his wife and two daughters in bucolic New Hampshire where he finds inspiration in the peace and quiet of rural life balanced by the near-violent driving practiced by New Englanders commuting from North of the border into the Greater Boston area.
He also likes sunshine, rainy days, and long walks on the beach. “I like New Hampshire because cows live there. Any place that’s good enough for cows…”
(You never know who you’re gonna get- it depends on the time of year!)
Andy Plaisted - Andy plays regularly with John & the vGB’s. Andy also plays with Dennis Brennan, Barrence Whitfield & the Mercy Brothers, Tim Gearan, the Swinging Steaks and many others. Andy has recorded with countless artists, and while his “mainstay” is roots-rock, his performances include work with pop artists Clem Snide. We think of Andy as a great “groove” drummer.
John Sands - John performs often with the vGB’s. John’s mainstay gig is his recording and performing role with Aimee Mann. John also performs with Lori McKenna, David Johnston, the Swinging Steaks, Merrie Amsterberg, Kelly Buchanan and many others. We call John a “finesse” drummer. John is the featured drummer on our latest CD, “Wild Way.”
Mike Levesque - Mike often plays with John & the vGB’s when he’s not on the road with Seven Mary Three. Mike’s resume includes recording and performing with David Bowie, Dave Navarro, Juliana Hatfield, Jennifer Trynin, Natalie Imbruglia, Tracy Bonham, Susan Tesdeschi, Letters to Cleo and many others. We call Mike our “power” drummer. Mike has recorded with the vGBs on both “Livin’ in the Moment” and “Wild Way.”