The Undiscovered: Nick Johnston

Nick Johnston


Just Don't Call It Shred

Canadian axemeister Nick Johnston's CD-R, False Step, is going after the NPM (notes per minute) crown in a big way. This 18-year-old has some serious chops going for him, influenced by a host of Shrapnel shredders, including the amazing Paul Gilbert. Maybe the six to eight hours a day of practice had something to do with it - but don't call Johnston a shredder. He's expressed distaste for the term, feeling it means that a musician potentially loses credibility as a well-rounded musician. So Johnston isn't shredding when his fingers are a blur and solos are ripping, snorting, and flying past your ears at Mach 5... uh, he's just, uh, playing really, really fast. But not shredding, 'cause that would be bad. Well, if you're into shred, I think you'll like it anyway... even if it isn't shred.


Nick started playing guitar when he was 13. He first learned songs by Metallica and Nirvana and jammed with a band in his basement. Nick then discovered Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker and the rest of the stable of Shrapnel artists, which motivated his practice sessions immensely. At 16, he played a school show for more than 700 people, which inspired him as well. Nick then hooked up with guitar teacher Adrian Raso, who pushed his playing to new levels, and found more to learn from recordings by players such as Greg Howe and Brett Garsed. This spurred him on to begin the six to eight hour practice sessions. Buying a 16 track recorder has led him to where he is today - writing music like crazy, and making plans for the future.

Johnston will soon be attending a school in Toronto for sound engineering, and hopes to open his own studio some day. He would also love to work creating music for video games and movies. Johnston is also open to creating a band.

Contact Information

Nick Johnston