Five Horse Johnson
Five Horse Johnson
Background information
Origin Toledo, Ohio, USA
Genres Blues Rock, Stoner Rock
Years active 1995 - Present
Labels Sin Klub Entertainment, Small Stone Records
Associated acts Clutch, Coral, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Big Chief, Giant Brain, Luder, Variac, 52 Week High, Aquarius Void, Bantam Rooster, Belle Ghoul, Electric Six, Flogging Molly, Speedball, The Christ Punchers
Website Five Horse Johnson Official

Five Horse Johnson is an American blues rock band from Toledo, Ohio, formed in 1995. The band combines hard rock, blues and other influences into a blend of stoner rock/blues music they call their own. Since their formation this quartet and sometimes quintet have toured all over the world and have released eight albums to date, seven of which through Small Stone Records. They have played with an astonishing array (not to mention number) of bands; a long list that includes Raging Slab, Thornetta Davis, Southern Culture On The Skids, Big Sugar, Hubert Sumlin, Junior Kimbrough, and R.L. Burnside. More recently they have shared stages with Clutch, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nebula, Robin Trower, Jesus Lizard, Cheap Trick, Johnny Winter, Iggy Pop, Atomic Bitchwax, Bad Company, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nashville Pussy, Monster Magnet, Halfway To Gone and War among others. The band had played well over 800 shows within ten years of forming.[1]

"Mississippi King" from The No. 6 Dance is featured on Tony Hawk's Underground and NHL 2K6, and "I Can't Shake It" from The Mystery Spot is featured on MLB 2K7. "Sweetwater" from The Last Men on Earth is featured in the American Chopper video game based on the TV Series American Chopper. The band also has an association with Clutch, with their drummer Jean-Paul Gaster playing on two of their records and often touring with them.


Five Horse Johnson began sometime in 1995 with Eric Oblander, Brad Coffin, Steve Smith and Jim Armstrong as the founding members. They quickly found themselves sharing the stage with the likes of Big Jack Johnson and War after just two weeks of being a band; that is just how long it took FHJ to put together their first set. The band would release two demos that same year before following up with Blues For Henry... in 1996. Not long after their debut album release they would get signed by Small Stone Records, quickly releasing a follow-up in Double Down circa 1997. The band would also attain another guitarist in Phil Dürr who often contributed extra guitar to studio works and toured with the band. Dürr's first contribution to Five Horse Johnson (Along with then-new drummer Tim Gahagan) would be on Fat Black Pussy Cat, released on 11 July 2000. The band's fourth album The No. 6 Dance would drop not even a year later on 10 April 2001 to positive reviews. Notably their fourth record would feature a host of guest musicians such as Kenny Olson, Jimmy Bones, Al Sutton and Billy Reedy among others.

By this point in the band's career Five Horse Johnson had become a regular touring act, often hitting up Europe and small clubs in the United States in a constant touring cycle. Notably they'd attain another new drummer in Mike Alonso. On 14 October 2003 the band would release their fifth album in The Last Men on Earth. Among regular tours at this point the band would be touring with Clutch in 2005. Work would also quickly begin on a sixth record, this time with Jean-Paul Gaster filling in on drums. The Mystery Spot would be released on 23 May 2006 to positive reviews as the band would tour the world that year in support and then tour with Clutch and Dub Trio the next two.

After the band's touring cycle in 2008 they would take somewhat of a hiatus. Eventually they'd return to the stage in the summer of 2011, sharing the stage with the likes of Karma To Burn and performing at Sweden Rock Festival.[2] During the time away, Durr has been working with fellow Small Stone band Luder, while Oblander was chosen to front a semi-reunited Necros opening for hardcore heroes Negative Approach at St. Andrew’s Hall (the band was named Sorcen – Necros spelled backwards). By 2012 work would begin on a seventh album, again working with Gaster on drums. The Taking of Black Heart saw it's release on 29 January 2013 in the longest gap between albums at over six years. Five Horse Johnson would be back to the intensive touring, notably Europe in the summer which would include appearances at Stoned From The Underground and Roadkill Festival among a plentiful amount of club shows.[3] A follow-up tour of Europe saw them back at Sweden Rock Festival the next year. Five Horse Johnson would release an eighth album in Jake Leg Boogie on 30 June 2017 to positive reviews.

Tragedy would befall the group as longtime guitarist Phil Dürr would pass away in Munich on 10 January 2019 due to a heart attack.[4]


Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Blues for Henry… (1996, Sin Klub Entertainment)
  • Double Down (1997, Small Stone Records)
  • Fat Black Pussy Cat (2000, Small Stone Records)
  • The No. 6 Dance (2001, Small Stone Records)
  • The Last Men on Earth (2003, Small Stone Records)
  • The Mystery Spot (2006, Small Stone Records)
  • The Taking of Black Heart (2013, Small Stone Records)
  • Jake Leg Boogie (2017, Small Stone Records)

Other ReleasesEdit

  • Five Horse Johnson (Demo) (1995, Self-Released)
  • Griffin's Hines Farm: Welcome Fans (Demo) (1995, Self-Released)


Current MembersEdit

  • Eric Oblander - Vocals, Harmonica (1995 - Present)
  • Brad Coffin - Guitar, Vocals (1995 - Present)
  • Steve Smith - Bass (1995 - Present)
  • Tim Gahagan - Drums (1997 - 2000; 2004 - Present)

Past and Guest MembersEdit

  • Jim Armstrong - Drums (1995 - 1996)
  • Chuck Mauk - Drums (2000 - 2001)
  • Mike Alonso - Drums (2000 - 2003)
  • Phil Dürr - Guitar (1998 - 2019) (Died 2019)
  • Jean-Paul Gaster - Drums (2006, 2013)

External LinksEdit

Official LinksEdit

Archival LinksEdit


  1. Small Stone Records
  4. Five Horse Johnson Facebook
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.