My Radio Can Pick Up Static: St. Johnny

St. Johnny

With their massed, fuzzy, feedback laden guitars, lethargic vocals; that often seem like an after thought, and a lead singer who at times seems to be channeling Day Dream Nation era Thurston Moore Hartford’s St. Johnny manages to combine both the best and worse elements of post Sonic Youth guitar rock.

Formed in 1991 the quartet consisted of Bill Whitten (guitar, vocals), Jim Elliott (bass), Wayne Letitia (drums) and Tom Leonard (guitar). Their debut single, released on their own Asthma label, caught the attention of Chicago’s Ajax Records who released 1992’s “Go To Sleep.” The two singles lead to a minor bidding war with the band ultimately signing with DGC. The Caroline Records release High As A Kite collected the singles and early eps.

Produced by Tom Leonard, their debut album, 1994’s Speed Is Dreaming, is characterized by controlled, methodical guitar sculpting, massed guitars and Whitten’s lackadaisical, stoner like, vocal stylings.

The group’s sophomore full-length, 1995’s Let It Come Down, co-produced by Whitten and Mercury Rev’s Dave Fridmann is almost unrecognizable as St. Johnny. Gone is the noisily melodic dirty punk rock replaced by Pavement-lite shambling and hip-hop/skronk hybrids.

St. Johnny broke up at the end of 1995 and Bill Whitten launched a new band the decidely less lethargic Grand Mal which still continues to record and release to this day.


St. Johnny


“Go To Sleep” (7″) (Ajax Records) 1992
“A Car or A Boy” (7″) (Geffen) 1993
“Gilligan/Live at the Sports Page Cafe…” (7″) (Twisted Village) 1994
“I Give Up/One Of The Boys” (7″) (Love Kit) 1994
“Scuba Diving/Welcome Back Kotter” (7″) (Geffen)


Four Songs (EP7) (Asthma) 1992
Go to Sleep (EP7) (Ajax) 1992


High As A Kite (CD, Album) (Rough Trade UK, Caroline) 1993
Speed Is Dreaming (CD, Album) (DGC) 1994
Let It Come Down (CD, Album) (DGC) 1995

Tracks Appear On:

“Wild Goose Chasing” DGC Rarities: Vol.1 (CD) (Geffen Records) 1994
“Scuba Diving” Buy-Product (CD, Comp) (Geffen Records) 1995
“Scuba Diving” CMJ New Music April – Volume 20 (CD, Promo) (College Music Journal) 1995
“Scuba Diving” CMJ Presents Certain Damage! – Volume 64 (CD, Promo) (College Music Journal) 1995
My Companion (LP)
Incredible Son of Swag (CD) (Geffen/DGC) 1995

Grand Mal


Whole Lotta Nothing/Life’s a Gas (CDS) (Slash/London) 1998
Stay in Bed (Death in Vegas Remix) (CDS) (Slash/London) 1999

Full-Length and EPS

Grand Mal (EP) (No. 6) 1996
Pleasure Is No Fun (CD/LP) (No. 6) 1997
Maledictions (CD) (Slash/London) 1999
Precision Exits (self-released) 2000
Perfect Fit (CD) (Unsounds) 2002
Bad Timing (CD) (Arena Rock) 2003
Love Is The Best Con in Town (New York Night Train) 2006

Tracks Appear On:

“Stay in Bed” Jawbreaker: Music from the Motion Picture (London) 1999
“Hey Man” This is Next Year: A Brooklyn-Based Compilation (CD) (Arena Rock) 2001

High As A Kite

Playing Time: 45 minutes 29 seconds

High As A Kite

1. Go To Sleep (3:44)
2. God In My Head (3:56)
3. Highway (3:45)
4. Velocity (3:41)
5. My Father’s Father (3:37)
6. Matador (3:29)
7. Black (3:47)
8. Stupid (3:16)
9. High As A Kite (3:54)
10. Ashes/Slashes (3:19)
11. Unclean (9:01)

Speed Is Dreaming

Playing Time: 46 minutes 15 seconds

Speed Is Dreaming

1. A Car Or A Boy? (4:02)
2. I Hate Rock And Roll (3:14)
3. Down The Drain (3:12)
4. I Give Up (3:24)
5. What Was I Supposed To See? (2:57)
6. The Devil’s Last Stand (5:09)
7. You’re Not My Friend (0:17)
8. You Can’t Win (4:29)
9. Gran Mal (3:02)
10. Everything Is Beautiful (3:24)
11. Black Eye (4:47)
12. Turbine (5:01)
13. Stupid (3:17)

Let It Come Down

Playing Time: 50 minutes 45 seconds

Let It Come Down

1. Scuba Diving (3:37)
2. Just When I Had It Under Control (4:54)
3. Bluebird (3:02)
4. Pin The Tail On the Donkey (6:16)
5. Hey Teenager! (3:53)
6. Rip Off (1:38)
7. Deliver Me (4:15)
8. Fast. Cheap and Out of Control (4:00)
9. After Dark (2:41)
10. Wild Goose Chasing (3:04)
11. Do You Wanna Go Out? (5:04)
12. Million Dollar Bet (4:24)
13. Salvation Arm (3:57)

10 responses to “My Radio Can Pick Up Static: St. Johnny

  1. hi, I just stumbled across your blog looking up st. johnny and I saw there’s a .rar file I can download for their first album. I d/l’d it however now it’s asking for a password and I don’t see one listed here can you hook me up with that please?

  2. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. :)

  3. Hi. I’m having the same problem KJ had in 2008 ie. the zipped files are password encrypted. Any assistance with this would be much appreciated. Thanks

  4. Hi guys thanks for share this! i was searching a lot for Speed is Dreaming :D
    well some help for who is having problems with the password:

    All files are available for 30 days and are for available for sampling / evaluation purposes only. If you are the artist or artist’s representative and want a link removed please let us know. Support the artists! Buy their cds, attend their concerts, and buy their merchandise. Except in the case of multiple part downloads download links are now the title of the featured cds. Password is always bitemefanboy


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