Bandwidth: Piano duo the John Brothers makes street performance pay
on March 25, 2011
Oakland residents John Morgan and John Boomer graduated from UC Berkeley in 2009. A few months later, they faced a decision: make some quick cash, or move back home. They were unemployed, broke, and desperate to scrounge up the next month’s rent. On a lark, Morgan wheeled a full-size piano out to Macarthur BART station, sat down, and played.
Since then, the duo has played for tips as the John Brothers Piano Company at BART stations in Oakland and San Francisco. They play their original tunes — a combination of jazz, energetic stride piano, and amped-up classical — on a stripped-down piano from the Craigslist free pages. Now, they’re not only making a living of it, but if they have it their way, a career.
You can check out past issues of our new Bandwidth series on Oakland and Richmond musicians here.
Do you have a suggestion for an Oakland or Richmond-based band that we should profile as part of the Bandwidth series? Send suggestions for Oakland-based bands to email@example.com and for Richmond-based bands to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: email@example.com.