Rick & John's Journey
John started playing drums in 4th grade, piano in 6th grade, and bass in 8th grade. In high school, he started playing around with tape recorders and altering sounds by playing the tapes backwards, and this interest in sound led him to a strong desire to get involved with synthesizers.
He started out as the first official Moog clinician in 1973, demonstrating and contributing to designs for Moog Music. In 1976 he met, and started working with Dave Smith. This association led to development of the Prophet 5, the world’s first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer, and then on to the entire line of
Sequential Circuits products. John was responsible for the original 40 factory programs of the Prophet 5, and as Sequential's Product Specialist created 99% of all of the factory sounds and sequences (as well as most of the original Prophet VS waveshapes), also contributing to the User Interface (UI) design for the following Sequential products: Prophet 5, Prophet 10, Prophet 600, Prophet T-8, Prophet VS, Drumtraks, 6-Trak, MultiTrak, Tom, Max, Studio 440, and the
Prophet 2000 and 3000 libraries.
Also during this time, John was bassist and synthesist for the Nielsen-Pearson band (1974-1980), performing on 3 albums with them. A review of a CD which combining the second and third albums can be found at: www.bluedesert.dk/nielsenpearson.html
(and for fans of West Coast music, can be purchased on Amazon.com). He also assisted Billy Cobham in setting up his Moog Modular 55 for various recording sessions (featured on 'Inner Conflicts' and on Stanley Clark's 'School Days'), as well as appearing on several other projects, most notably with Herbie Hancock for the Eddie Henderson release, "Mahal".
Working as an independent since Fall ’99 under the name of Zarg Music, he created more than a dozen synthesizer plug-ins for the Scope/Pulsar DSP platform that are known for their ease-of-use and sonic quality, including complete extremely accurate representations of the Pro One and Prophet 5, alongside with his flagship synth plug-in, the original Solaris, which he has now produced as a hardware keyboard which has sold to many film, television, and sound design studio artists. It is available at his Web site, www.johnbowen.com.
Film score composer, record producer and long-time customer of John’s, Hans Zimmer, had this to say:
"If anyone out there can take what we love about the elusive quality of analogue synthesizers and add the inventiveness and versatility that we get from digital, it'll be John. There is no question in my mind he understands that fundamentally the sound has to be true and uncompromised for a bunch of circuits to turn into a musical instrument. There are many synths out there that are fun and even
inspiring. But it takes a certain magic and voodoo, a certain set of ears and sonic heart to build something lasting, something timeless."
Rick started playing trumpet in grade school. By middle school, he and a few class mates were performing the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass at local festivals. This was, perhaps, one of the first ever Tribute Bands! Soon, the local newspaper gave them a little ink and printed a photo of the band.
Of course, during this time, the Beatles were continuing to carve out their influence. Rick bought a $10 acoustic guitar and taught himself to play it. In high school he upgraded to electric guitar and assembled his first rock band winning the high school talent show that year. The prize was a not-so-crisp, $5 bill. Sweet!
Rick has performed as a solo guitarist/singer in the Seattle area (remember Blochs restaurants in the 1980's ?) , played acoustic guitar in a contemporary Christian rock trio, played drums in a Country Swing band for many years, and spent most of the last 25 years as bassist and singer with longtime local Beatles cover band The Nowhere Men. Rick (and John!) are currently playing with local cover band, Ventura Highway Revisited (70's soft rock).
Performance highlights from the last couple decades include New Years Eve at the Space Needle, Westlake Center for the NCAA Final Four tournament, playing the Kingdome for the Mariners and Seahawks and Key Arena for the Sonics, singing Twist and Shout with the Nowhere Men at 7:00am on KIRO TV's morning show, playing a Wrap Party at the KING 5 studios for the cast members of Almost Live, a local Emmy award winning show (thank you Bill Stainton!) Along the way Rick and band mates have shared the stage with classic rock performers the Kingsmen, The Turtles, Merilee Rush, and the Ventures and were privileged to open for Roberta Flack at a special event at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. Drummer Alan White of the band, Yes, performed with the Nowhere Men at several Seattle venues including many memorable Beatle anniversary shows at the Edgewater Inn (where the Beatles stayed in 1964). With the Nowhere Men, the guys wrote and recorded a short Beatle-esque song as commissioned by Ivar's Restaurants. The radio commercial spot ran for several months. The song concluded with that famous 'She Loves You' ending triad only instead of Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, we sang Acres Of Clams!! Gotta love Seattle!