Johnny Spazz Hatton

Johnny Hatton's New CD Gosple Bop

John Hatton has been playing instruments since he was 6 years old when he begged his dad to get him a violin. He excelled on that instrument culminating with a two year stint with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra during his Junior and Senior years of high school.

His journey with jazz string bass began with the Affton High School Stage Band in the suburbs of St. Louis. Shortly after he picked up the bass guitar and joined “The Marauders”, a very successful teen band in the St. Louis sock-hop scene.

His love affair with the string bass continued through his college years where he played in the Graceland University Orchestra and later in the Kansas City Conservatory of Music Orchestra and Jazz Workshop.  He was still rockin’ on the bass guitar with his college band, “The Morticians”.  The violin was gathering dust.

The Kansas City jazz scene was a great training ground.  Mr. Hatton was soon earning a full time living playing steady in night clubs and learning to play quality Be Bop.  He became Kansas City’s ‘first call’ bassist and was fortunate to get calls to play with some of the traveling artists that came through town.  Elvis, Liza Minelli, Clark Terry, Marilyn Maye, and the Righteous Brothers were among them.  Hatton also formed a Kansas City production company specializing in TV and Radio jingles, producing for Lincoln-Mercury, Doninic’s in Chicago and Schick among others.

The legendary pianist, Gene Harris of the “Three Sounds” offered him a gig, and Mr. Hatton spent two years on the road playing in jazz clubs all over the USA.  This tour led him to Los Angeles in 1974 where he has lived since.

Los Angeles became the land of opportunity for this musician.  He landed his first gig with Stan Worth, composer of many Hannah-Barbara hits including “George of the Jungle”. Stan used John for many live TV shows  and movie scores.  After Stan’s passing,  John joined “Just Four Grins”,  a band composed of young studio musicians.  This band became the back-up band for Seals and Crofts for their summer tour of ’78.  In 1981 he toured with the ebullient Dolly Parton and recorded sound track clips for “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.

John’s bass experiences have encompassed a multitude of styles. Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical, Dixieland, Big Band, Disco, Rock, Rap and Rockabilly to name a few.  He has played behind superstars including Dolly Parton, Jose Feliciano, Ray Anthony, Maynard Ferguson, John Davidson, Tony Bennet,  Little Milton, Al Jarreau, Bob Dylan,  Bob Hope, Supertramp, Little Richard, Etta James, Herb Jeffries, Danny Gans, Vonda Shepherd, Hank Ballard, Shirly Jones, Billy Lee Riley, Nannette Fabere’, and the list goes on.

John honed his 50’s slap-bass style in Rhino Records’ “Big Daddy”, an 8-piece 50’s band, which turned modern hits into retro 50’s classics.  This band conquered the world with a top 10 hit and a tour of England. Their eight-week gig in Sydney, Australia, landed them another hit with their version of “The Land Down Under”.  It was in this band that Hatton created the character known as “Spazz”, the slide-rule-wielding nerd. The moniker has followed him to this day.

Johnny “Spazz” Hatton has been playing rockabilly slap bass with the Brian Setzer Orchestra since February of 2002 and has recorded six Grammy-Nominated CD’s, “Nitro Burnin’ Funny Daddy”, “Boogie Woogie Christmas”, “Dig That Crazy Christmas”, “Wolfgang’s Big Night Out” and “Songs From Lonely Avenue” and  Setzer’s latest CD, “Brian Setzer Goes Instru-Mental”.  Hatton has appeared with BSO on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan O’Brian, The Today Show, Christmas at Rockefeller Center, Christmas in Washington DC,  a state dinner at the White House for President George W. Bush, The Tony Danza Show, VH1 Classics, Sirius Radio and more.

John has been touring with Royal Crown Review since 2006, visiting most of the European turf.  The band and their hit, “Hey Pachuco”, was featured live in the Movie, “Mask”, with Jim Carey, and specializes in jumpin’ jazzy swing.

John has been touring with Jose Feliciano since August of 2008 visiting South America, the Caribbean, Japan and Singapore in addition to the Christmas, “Feliz Navidad” tour.

And by the way, the violin has been resurrected and placed in service at John’s church, Community of Christ, Canoga Park, on an occasional Sunday morning

John Hatton endorses Eden Electronics, King Doublebass, Blast Cult basses, Fender Instruments, Gretch guitars, Hallmark guitars, SWR Amplifiers, Nady Systems, Knucklehead strings and La Bella strings.