John Walter is one of northern California’s best kept songwriting secrets. He first hit the west coast in the mid 90’s via Illinois acoustic jazz pop trio Yah-Yah Littleman. The band quickly established themselves as one of San Francisco’s finest live acts by showing just how much energy and noise an acoustic guitar, a tiny drum kit and a stand up bass (expertly played by Walter) could deliver. After several tours and sharing stages with the likes of Frente!, Train, Green Day and Cake, the band went its separate ways and Walter soon found himself with a curious day job, fronting 80’s coverband Tainted Love. The act is one of the most popular coverbands in California, having played to millions of fans and even opening for Berlin, the Pretenders, Macy Grey, Pat Benatar and the B-52’s.
But you can’t take the song out of the songwriter, so while Walter paid bills with a Devo outfit, he continued penning and performing instantly classic, catchy songs on the side as Walty. The wackiness and mayhem of Walter’s onstage antics is channeled into something more downbeat, modern and rich yet still clever and melodically unforgettable. In 2004, KFOG chose Walty’s tune “California” from his first CD “Haight Street Bus Ride” (2004) for their Local Scene CD and the San Francisco radio station continues to spin the tune. With John Bartkowiak (mysterious Oakland artist) co-writing the songs and some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians (Paul Revelli on Drums, Billy Shen on Guitar and Jon Merker on Keys) filling out the mix, Walty is not nearly a solo project. Recently, Walty has hung up his mullet wig, pulled out the fuzz pedals & Stratocaster guitars and has released his sophomore CD, “Let It Out”(2007).