Christy Johnson’s dreams still very much alive

by Ryan Snyder

The last two years have been more than a little frustrating for the multi-talented Christy Johnson.

Persistent personnel changes have kept her pet project, conceptual rock outfit Dreamkiller (www., in a near-constant state of flux. Driven by a profound love for musical theater, the singer, model and actress has worked tirelessly to both pull together a group of musicians with a common creative goal and see her musical aspiration at last realized. “It’s so difficult to find musicians around here who are both talented and dedicated,” Johnson said. “Not only that, but people who are trying to put in the work to make it and aren’t just out to make money right away.” It’s no secret that much of the Triad music community favors the quick buck earned by performing in cover bands that bars, restaurants and some clubs favor on their calendars, which certainly presents a challenge for progenitors of original music in finding accompaniment. But for a band focused entirely around a singular narrative concept like Dreamkiller, it becomes an even tougher row to hoe. Johnson has at last found a group of artists on the same musical wavelength, however, and Johnson says that she hasn’t been as excited about playing music in quite a while as she is now. “It’s everything I’ve been looking for since the very beginning,” Johnson stated. “It’s long overdue and we’ve been working our butts off to make it crisp and tight.” Johnson found current Dreamkiller guitarist Tian Garcia through MySpace after he moved to the area from Guatemala in August. Johnson called Garcia an accomplished multiinstrumentalist with over 20 years of musical experience. He started playing in church, but soon moved into playing with songwriters on various record labels while in Mexico. “I love many styles of music,” Garcia said. “But I definitely have a passion for rock and roll music.” “Tian and I write really well together and we pretty much have a consensus on what kind of music we want it to sound like,” added Johnson. “It’s very accessible rock-alternative with a little bit of a progressive edge.” So what exactly is Dreamkiller all about? Johnson further describes it as a concept band with a three-part harmony of Johnson, Garcia and bassist Ernie Galvan and very colorful lyrics that are heavy hitting at times, but also possessing a softer side. The narrative that drives the band revolves around three main characters: Lyric, the heroine trying to juggle the pursuit of her dreams, while finding love; Theone, Lyric’s primary love interest; and the Dreamkiller, the bedeviling foil who thrusts herself between Lyric and Theone, while personifying everything that is an obstacle in life. Johnson plans for the storyline to spill over into other albums, while being the focal point of the band’s live shows. “I’ve been working on it since 2004 and I’ve always wanted Dreamkiller to be that but no one I was working with before really understood it,” Johnson said. “They’d say, ‘Oh maybe the next album,’ but I want it to be a concept band and not a concept album.” The band debuted in its current incarnation on Friday at Greene Street Club in Greensboro and Johnson said she was thrilled with the result, especially since it was Dreamkiller’s first live performance since 2006. “We just wanted to storm on, impress everyone and really make a name for ourselves right away,” she stated. That wasn’t a problem for Johnson, who boasts a heavy musical theater background and appearances in movies like Leatherheads and Tobe Hooper’s Mortuary, along with numerous commercials. She says that being on stage has become second nature for her and actually where she feels most at home. The band is currently working on its first album release, expected to drop sometime in 2009. The first single, “Ragnarok,” has already been produced and has been picked up as a part of the soundtrack for Superpower, a controversial take on US foreign policy and world affairs. Dreamkiller’s next show will be a headlining spot at the Somewhere Else Tavern’s Winterfest on Valentine’s Day.