Johnstone Finds Musical Success

By: Alex Evans


What’s that sound? It’s senior Dylan Johnston bumping along in his beloved, but mud-splattered forest green 2004 TJ Jeep with a violently rattling muffler. Chances are he’s also sporting his rose gold, equally prized five-dollar Goodwill glasses. He claims they’re his favorite because “if [he loses] them [he] can just go and get another pair of good looking glasses for five bucks.” Johnston is likely headed to Guitar Center to drool over Telecasters and pedals, his new job at Sports Basement as a boot-fitter, Demolition Forest in the SC Mountains, or to hang out in fellow senior Allan Lopushansky’s shed while jamming out to Jack Stauber. 

As a child, Johnston imagined himself as an author-illustrator of graphic novels or books. He actualizes this dream through songwriting, as he works on his own pieces and on an LP alongside band members. His band, Spicoli, formed late spring semester of 2022 to play at the senior talent show. Soon after, Spicoli began practicing for a birthday party concert, commissioned by an unnamed LGHS junior. Johnston reflected on this performance, saying “I thought it was not our best work, and was stressed because our drummer had just gotten back from a rowing competition, but still everyone really liked it.” Ultimately, Johnston takes inspiration for his band from Led Zeppelin, but individually looks up to Colin Meloy, writer of his favorite book trilogy, Wildwood, as well as leader of another influential band, The Decemberists.

Johnston anticipated a much higher stakes redemption for the band at the 2022 Coronation Dance until leadership cut the performance two days out. Looking towards future performances he says, “We could organize something in someone’s backyard, but I would rather just focus on my writing right now.” 

The end goal of spending every dollar earned on music gear, keeping journals handy to write down song concepts, and practicing until he blisters his fingers is to pursue a career in sound engineering. Currently, Johnston observes mentors as an intern at a Campbell recording studio. With a passion for snowboarding, he looks forward to the complimentary rentals and learning more about the sport as he helps others fit their boots with his new job at Sports Basement. 

Beyond graduation, he anticipates attendance at Santa Barbara Community College (SBCC) and later transferring to UCSB. He explained this choice by saying: “You save money, and don’t have to choose a major right away [that] you could end up hating.” Another motive for this plan is the posse of friends accompanying Johnston to the school. With his broad set of skills in music mixing, writing, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, banjo, didgeree-doo (his Australian family’s influence),  piano, and drumming, there’s no doubt Johnston will fulfill his dreams and amass his own fanbase. 

Categories: People

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