IN THE BEGINNING
As was the case for so many other musicians, Johnny’s love of rock ‘n’ roll and the electric guitar began after he was mesmerized by the Beatles’ performance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” when he was five years old. From that day on, Johnny incessantly begged his parents for an electric guitar, until they bought his first electric guitar when he was eight years old. This picture is of Johnny playing his Gibson ES-335 when he was twelve years old, with his junior high band, “Fusion.”
Johnny O’Neil and Brian Bart have known each other since Brian moved in across the street from Johnny when they were nine years old. They quickly became best friends after they learned that each other was a musician, and started their first band, “The Distant Shadows” while they both attended Sunny Hollow Elementary School (where their music teacher was none other than Bob Dylan’s younger brother, David Zimmerman). After forging a childhood pact to maintain their friendship for life (and pricking their thumbs and rubbing them together), Johnny and Brian became “The Blood Brothers.”
Dare Force was a legendary hard rock/heavy metal band based in Minneapolis that was initially founded by Johnny and Brian Bart when they were 18 years old. Dare Force released three albums in the 1980s, and performed in concert with numerous national acts such as KISS, Ted Nugent, Triumph, Kansas, UFO, the Joe Perry Project, and Ratt, as well as headlining in venues throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Dare Force also had several songs that received heavy airplay on rock radio stations throughout the midwestern US in the 1980s. Dare Force released its third album, "Firepower," with a reformed version of the band in 1989. The original lineup performed occasional reunion gigs after the long run of the original band ended in 1987, but the original version of Dare Force stopped performing live altogether after their last reunion show in 2002. Dare Force reformed yet again with a return to a four-piece lineup in 2017, and released its fourth album, “Callin’ Your Name,” in 2018.