drifter bio...


Whipple Cafe t Keerpunt

Whipple performing at Cafe t'Keerpunt Netherlands


Portrait and handcuffs courtesy of Sarasota County Jail

John Whipple walked into The Alley in Flagstaff Arizona for a happy hour pint. He had just lost his job, his shoes and was living in a van parked in the forest. He surveyed the clientele of about a half dozen. Like John, they were all songwriters and, like John, they were all unemployed and living in the woods somewhere. John raised his pint.

“Here's to Rockstardom....”

This is the life that has fueled John Whipple's songwriting. It has been a long road. He grew up in a middle class family that fueled a naive expectation of the good life. He went to college, got his degree in photography and set out for the American Dream.

Unfortunately, since early childhood John has suffered with chronic fits of artistic outburst. As they grew in severity, he wound up getting a guitar and began performing music to keep his tenuous hold on sanity. Since then, he has led the merry life of a troubadour, wandering from town to town, woman to woman, getting by on shit jobs and love. When there was no woman, he would curl up in an unreliable used van or in a tent.

After being arrested for impersonating himself in Anchorage and being dumped by another woman who grew bored of the "excitement" of dating a handsome musician, John began to identify with Depression Era blues musicians such as Robert Johnson, Skip James, and Blind Willie McTell. Whipple promptly sawed off a piece of a bicycle handlebar and started to play slide guitar.

After that, Whipple began performing irregularly throughout the West. He recorded a series of under the underground albums which were never printed due to funding issues. His first release, "The Last Cold One... and other tunes of desperation", came out in 2006 while he was living in Portland and received rave reviews in Belgium. The Last Cold One is generally an alt-country and blues album featuring songs informed by his merry misadventures living on the Dark Side of the American Dream... being drunk... lonely... thrown in jail... and wishing he wasn’t so damn smart....

Today, Whipple is traveling the country and living in a truck trying to spread the gospel of his music. In 2014, he is released two new albums with his band, Tycoon Machete; "Thinking of You... Staring at the Power Lines" and Moab. Both are out now and available through Bandcamp. Never being one to limit himself to a single sub-genre, his new music delves into country, blues, cabaret, and dark Appalachian styles. About his genre crossing, he has been quoted as saying he likes to “take a new song to the bar, buy it a drink or six, and see who it stumbles homes with”.