Interviews & Features

Jon Finn Interview

Berklee guitar prof talks about the Boston Pops, the influence of Steve Morse and Duane Allman and more

By David Sands
November 3, 2017

Jon Finn is one of those musicians that has so many great things going on that you can’t help but wonder if he has a couple clones running around. Educator. Bandleader. Author. Touring musician. The man certainly has a lot of hats.

To start off with, Finn’s been a faculty member with the Berklee College of Music, where he’s a specialist in improvisation and rock guitar styles, since 1988. For the greater part of his life, he’s also been a professional musician as well, having performed or recorded with Steve Morse, John Petrucci, Carl Verheyen, Vinnie Moore, Andy Timmons and Dweezil Zappa, among others. Finn’s also strummed more than a few chords in the world of musical theater, playing guitar for productions like Rent, Aida, Mamma Mia, Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Copacabana, and others. The guitarist is also a frequent performer with Boston Pops Orchestra, appearing on six of their CDs—two of them Grammy-nominated—and playing with the orchestra on eight U.S. tours and one tour of Asia.

Beyond that he’s also led The Jon Finn group—a four-piece instrumental rock band—since 1988. So far, they’ve released three CD’s internationally, 1994’s Don’t Look So Serious, 1998’s Wicked and 2010’s Bull in a China Shop. The busy Mr. Finn also spent three years as a columnist for Guitar magazine and has authored several books, including Blues/Rock Improvisation and One Guitar, Many Styles.

FGPO’s Jon Liebman got a chance to hang out with him during a recent visit to Berklee. Together they had a far-ranging conversation that included the growing up as the son of a radio DJ, what it’s like working with John Williams of the Boston Pops and where the warped refraction principal fits into contemporary guitar theory.

Watch our interview with Jon: