Everything’s coming up Roses

Johnny Rose, Joplin, plays one of his 35 guitars. He has been teaching music lessons in the area for over 30 years. Magic Kitchen, Moosehead, and Crank are only a few of the bands he has played with.

Johnny Rose, Joplin, plays one of his 35 guitars. He has been teaching music lessons in the area for over 30 years. Magic Kitchen, Moosehead, and Crank are only a few of the bands he has played with.

On any given weekday afternoon a short, stocky man sits at Massey Music drinking Dr. Pepper from a Crown Royal cup.

He is easily spotted wearing a 30th anniversary Rush T-shirt and cut off jeans.

Local area music celebrity and self-proclaimed pack rat, Johnny Rose is anything but the average musician.

Rose has been teaching music, (mostly guitar), in the Joplin area for over 30 years. He came on the scene in 1962 when his family moved to Joplin from Chicago, where he was raised.

“I seem to be pretty well respected in this town, which is a blessing.” Rose said, noting however that he is more recognized in Springfield.

Rose estimates that he has had more than 1,000 music students since he started teaching.

“I love it, it is God’s gift to me, it keeps you on top of the game,” he said.

Other than guitar, Rose plays the bass, drums, steel guitar, piano, banjo, and harmonica.

Rose has played with more than 100 bands including Livewire, Southern Fried, Road Hog, Moosehead, Night Train, Sidewinder, Crank (referring to the volume, not the drug), The Rose Brothers with his brother Steve, and Magic Kitchen, (the former band of Lynard Skynard’s Steve Gaines).

“I’m a punk; a rebel. I’ve been around the block many times,” Rose said.

He wasn’t kidding. Rose has played with the who’s who’s of music in the area.

Rose’s interests include pool and his Guitar Player magazine collection (he has all of them except the very first one).

Rose has an estimated 35 guitars, 12 or more amplifiers including four Peavey Stereo Chorus combo amps, 250 books about chess, and 30-40 chess boards.

He won the 1979 Missouri Southern chess tournament and plays chess almost every day.

He said that he like to replay classic games that are described in some of his books.

Rose is a collector, a collector of memories.

Rose has numerous sheets of cardboard, plastered with pictures, flyers, business cards, and wedding invitations.

He has an article, flyer or picture from almost every venue he has played, band he has played with, or friend he has had. These are his memories, the stories of his life.

Rose’s life has been impacted by several friends.

He recently lost his good friend and band-mate, Don Shipps, the leader of Don Shipps and the Titanic Blues Band.

“He (Shipps) was one of the most talented bass players I’ve ever heard, and he was a great friend,” Rose said.

Other influences came Bob and Rick Massey and the whole Massey clan.

“He has given his life to the guitar,” Rick said. “His understanding of the instrument and music in general far surpasses anyone that I have met in the whole Four-state region.”

Rick has had a personal relationship with virtually every musician that has ever played on the local scene.

Throughout his entire life, Rose has never had a job, other than playing with bands and teaching music.

What has kept him from ever really “making it big time?”

What has kept him going for all these years?

What are his plans concerning retirement?

“Ha! Are you kidding,” Rose said. “It’s too late for brain surgery … I ain’t dead yet; they wanna kill me off but I ain’t dead yet. I’m not the pretty boy I used to be, I’m not a strong singer either, but we do what we have to; we play the cards we are dealt.”

“I believe in the Higher Power and I have a love for life and for people. I firmly believe that my mission in life, why I’m here, is to be a teacher. To be a good teacher, you can’t be afraid to give your ideas up. You can’t be afraid that this person is going to take your ideas and pass you by to become some big rock star. You take what you know, and give it away.”

Massey Music is located on 215 E 20th in Joplin and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.