Photo by Aisha Singleton
Lead vocal & acoustic guitars
John was born in Liverpool, England, to American ex-pats who later settled in the Boston area.
John toured early on as a bass player with the fusion outfit Zamcheck, which featured Mark Zamcheck (Downbeat Magazine’s “Up and coming jazz pianist of the year”) on keyboards and Michael Levine (Film composer and “Kit Kat” jingle writer) on violin. Zamcheck toured with Gary Burton (whose band featured a young Pat Metheny) and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1974.
John later embarked on a business career which included work as a founding principal with eMusic where he conceived the industry’s first-ever digital rights licensing strategy (WSJ) that was rolled out to labels and artists including Rykodisk, Phish, Elvis Costello and many others. John was also a founding principal of TuneCore, a digital music delivery service for independent artists, now the largest distributor of online music in the world. John also developed the market entry strategy for Audiam, a new digital music publishing company, as a founding principal. John currently works as a full time performing and recording artist with the van Gogh Brothers and Voices of van Gogh featuring Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan) and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Durrill, and as a principal with his music publishing and media advisory company, American Music Partners.
John is a prolific songwriter. He has written more than 1,000 songs and recorded 13 albums since returning to music in 1996, two of which have been released by Blue Rose Records in Germany. Producers include Anthony J. Resta (Elton John, Collective Soul, Duran Duran, Shawn Mullins) for “A Whole New Day”, “X”, “The Wonder Show”, and “Livin in the Moment”, David Minehan (the Neighborhoods, the Replacements) for “Wild Way”, “X” and “A Whole New Day”, and Rob Fraboni (Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan) for “Two Brothers”.
John’s songs are featured in film, network television and on DVDs, including such projects and programs as NCIS, Justified, American Idol, Num3ers and many others.
John created and hosted the highly successful Americana Showcase at the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which ran for 8 years. John also worked extensively with legendary promoter Billy Block hosting Western Beat Entertainment showcases Boston.
John appears regularly in Boston with his long-time band, the van Gogh Brothers, and in Los Angeles with his powerhouse LA-based ensemble featuring Scarlet Rivera.
Electric guitars and backing vocals
Paul was raised in Western Massachusetts and migrated with music to the Boston area in the ’70’s.
Paul has played with countless recording and performing artists since moving to Boston and has recorded for Sony Music.
Paul shares a musical vocabulary with John which is nearly identical – having grown up on the same artists and music in the same times. Paul co-produces with John as one half of the “van Gogh brothers” a production partnership John and Paul formed to reflect their each having “one good ear”. Paul and John have played together since 1995.
Bass Guitar and backing vocals
Clayton “Bob” Young began playing with the John Cate Band in June of 2002. After not actively performing live for a number of years, Bob dusted off the boots, put on his big boy pants, and began performing live with John.
“John’s music inspired me emotionally as a person, and emotionally as a bass player. The first time I watched John and Paul play, I told them at the break, I have to be a part of this band.”
Bob was introduced to the bass by his elder brother of ten years, Dave Young, (Angela West, Dave Young Country) who, at the time, was touring nationwide with the soul group The Manhattans. Bob’s professional music career started at the age of 13, playing with Swinging Steaks singer/guitarist/songwriter Tim Giovanniello. Bob has been a supporter and substitute bass player with the Steaks ever since.
Bob still occasionally plays in Giovanniello’s side project WEED. Bob’s playing can be summed up as emotional and powerful. “It is all about the music. It is how you play one note that makes the difference in music, not how many notes, or how fast you play the notes. Lay it down, let it breathe and people will want to take the musical journey with you!”
Fiddle, Pedal Steel guitar and Mandolin
Born and raised in Minnesota, Steve started his career playing guitar at the tender age of 7. As a now-seasoned member of the van Gogh Brothers, Steve (“Stevie”) enjoys his utility role in the band playing pedal steel, fiddle, and mandolin. Steve says -“It’s like coming off the bench, hitting a couple of key shots, then going back to the bench and grabbing a beer. Life is good.” Steve has played on or produced over 150+ recordings with such artists as East of October, Melvern Taylor, and Stan Swiniarski, with whom he recorded The top 10 hit “Ain’t That Love” (pedal steel).
(You never know who you’re gonna get- it depends on the time and place)
Jonathan Smith – A former Nashville native, Jonathan now resides in LA as a producer and session drummer and performs live with John's LA-based ensemble. Jonathan is well known for his extensive touring work which included stints with Blake Shelton, among others.
Andy Plaisted – Andy plays regularly with John & the vGB’s. Andy also plays with Dennis Brennan, Barrence Whitfield & the Mercy Brothers, Tim Gearan, the Swinging Steaks and many others. Andy has recorded with countless artists, and while his “mainstay” is roots-rock, his performances include work with pop artists Clem Snide. We think of Andy as a great “groove” drummer.
Quinn – Grammy Award-winning Quinn records and performs with Voices of van Gogh. Quinn is a Maine-iac who lives in Los Angeles and is known for his work with T-Bone Burnett, Kanye, Daft Punk and many others.
John Sands – John performs often with the vGB’s. John’s mainstay gig is his recording and performing role with Aimee Mann. John also performs with Lori McKenna, David Johnston, the Swinging Steaks, Merrie Amsterberg, Kelly Buchanan and many others. We call John a “finesse” drummer. John is the featured drummer on our latest CD, “Wild Way.”
Dave Mattacks – Dave occasionally records and performs with the van Gogh Brothers and is known for his legendary work with Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and many others.
Mike Levesque – Mike occasionally records and plays with John & the vGB’s. Mike’s resume includes recording and performing with David Bowie, Dave Navarro, Juliana Hatfield, Jennifer Trynin, Natalie Imbruglia, Tracy Bonham, Susan Tesdeschi, Letters to Cleo and many others. We call Mike our “power” drummer. Mike has recorded with the vGBs on both “Livin’ in the Moment” and “Wild Way.”