About Hungry John

Hungry John – Blues ambassador
John Magnar Bernes, better known as “Hungry John” has dedicated his life to the blues.
Since the mid-sixties, John has travelled and performed in Norway and abroad, spreading the blues.
He is one of the pillars on the Norwegian music scene, and a respected veteran with a lifelong
passion for the blues.


Bernes was given his nickname “Hungry John” during his days as a starving street-musician in
London in the early seventies. Inspired by all the music he experienced, he returned to Norway in
1975 where he formed “Bergen Blues Band”. This band was instrumental in giving the blues a
break-through in Norway. Bergen Blues Band released three albums on the EMI label, comprised
mostly of his own originals.


In 1983, John headed to the United States to expand his horizon in the blues world. After playing
and studying the blues throughout the US in 1983/84 with various acts, Bernes felt the need for
renewal and formed his next Norway based blues band, “Hungry John and The Blue Shadows”,
inspired by the more rock-related Texas style of blues. Hungry John and The Blue Shadows
released three albums during their ten years reign and their first release, Nice Guys, also was
released in United States. Hungry John and The Blue Shadows never completely disbanded, but
after a few personell changes, Bernes choose to drop the band name and continued under the name,
“Hungry John”.


In his fourth decade as an active musician and song writer, Bernes continues to expand his musical
horizons and capture new listeners. All over Scandinavia he`s a safe bet at festivals. In 2003 he won
The Blues Price at Notodden Blues Festival, for a lifelong dedication for the blues. His solid
performances are also appreciated by American blues veterans. This man is real. He is the blues.
Listen to his music and you will be hooked.


Hungry John tours extensively with his own band throughout Scandinavia, Germany, France and
Russia.


The Hungry John Band:
John Magnar Bernes – vocals/harmonica
Atle Johannessen – guitar
Aksel Fjæra- bass/vocals
Gunnar Bergstrøm – drums

Past collaborations:
Bernes has also toured with numerous accomplished musicians such as Pete York from The Spencer
Davis Group, Blues Union and Blues Reunion, Sunnyland Slim, Homesick James, Eddie Boyd,
Lousiana Red, Alexis Korner, Colin Hodgkinsen, Jukka Tolonen, Guitar Shorty, Bod Stroger,
S.P. Leary, Roy Allison and Willie Smith. He has played with B.B. King, John Mayall, Buddy Guy,
Junior Wells has also participated in historic recordings in Chicago with a cast of stars along with
Norwegian guitar virtuoso, Knut Reiersrud. In Finland he has been on many tours with The Wentus
Blues Band and has toured twice in the Caribbean with the band “Shades of Blues”. Bernes also
has recorded and performed a project with Bergen native Mads Eriksen entitled “Mad & Hungry”.

Hungry John

John Magnar Bernes, bedre kjent som Hungry John, har viet sitt liv til bluesens tjeneste. Siden midten av 60-tallet har han reist land og strand rundt for å spre sitt blåtonebudskap, alltid våken for nye impulser og stilretninger innen blues. Han er en av de virkelige store sliterne i norsk musikkliv, en veteran som nyter respekt langt utover landegrensene for sin livslange, lidenskapelige innsats for musikken som ligger hans hjerte nærmest; blues.

Bernes fikk kallenavnet Hungry John da han sultet som gatemusikant i London tidlig på 70-tallet. Vel hjemme i Norge startet han Bergen Blues Band i 1975. Dette bandet var banebrytende i sin misjonering for blues i Norge, ikke minst fordi de satset nesten utelukkende på eget materiale komponert av Bernes. Bergen Blues Band gått tre LP`er på EMI. Paralellt med dette gjennomførte Bernes to turneer med Pete York fra Spencer Davis Group ?Blues Union og Blues Reunion ?og han deltok p?historiske innspillinger i Chicago sammen med et stjernelag bestående av bl.a. Knut Reiersrud.

På tampen av 1984, startet Bernes, Hungry John and The Blue Shadows, tydelig inspirert av rockete Texas-blues. Bandet laget tre album i løpet av de ti årene det holdt sammen. Det første albumet ble for øvrig utgitt i USA. The Blue Shadows ble egentlig aldri oppløst, men etter noen utskiftninger i besetningen valgte Bernes å droppe gruppenavnet og heller la bandet sitt opptre under det enkle og treffende Hungry John.

Bernes har turnert med sitt eget band i Skandinavia, Tyskland, Frankrike og Russland. I Finland har han turnert med Wentus Blues Band, i Karibien med Shades of Blues. Han har gjort konserter i USA og Europa med bl.a.Sunnyland Slim, Homesick James, Eddie Boyd, Louisiana Red, Alexis Korner, Colin Hodgkinson, Jukka Tolonen, Pete York, Guitar Shorty, Bob Stroger, S.P. Leary, Roy Allison og Willie Smith. Han har gjort support for B. B. King, John Mayall, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, med flere. Bernes har også et prosjekt sammen med Mads Eriksen; Mad and Hungry.