Formed by vaudevillian performer Johnny Blazes as a way of bringing the traditionally karaoke or lip-synching art of drag into the realm of live music, Johnny Blazes and The Pretty Boys have been bombing East Coast audiences with their glitter-filled, horn-heavy sound since 2011. For their first two years of existence, The Pretty Boys covered classic soul and funk songs with an unapologetic flamboyance and verve. The band also used its powers of soul to cover songs in other genres, including artists that range from Frank Zappa to Spinal Tap, and to re-define those tunes with their own horn-heavy sound.
Now, entering their fifth year, The Pretties blasts audiences with sassy originals and clever covers. The band is co-run by the father-kid duo of Johnny Blazes and J. Johnson (affectionately known in Boston rock circles as 'Darth'.)
The Pretty Boys have been honored to perform at the Boston Pride Festival, the first-ever North Shore Gay Pride Festival in Salem, MA, at The Hynes Convention Center as part of First Night Boston, as well as at clubs, theaters, and fundraisers throughout the Boston area, including Johnny D's, TT the Bear's, Radio, Precinct, Jacques, The Midway, Sally O'Brien's, Beat Brasserie, and ONCE/Cuisine En Locale. Along with traditional club shows, The Pretties love to get involved with projects that connect them with their cabaret roots, including being the dance band for the inaugural AlternaTease conference, The Slutcracker after party, and Org: Prom. They've also been involved more directly with some stage productions including Sparkletown Productions' Pretty Little Things (an all-Jacksons burlesque show), and The Boston Circus Guild's Cirque of the Dead.
Johnny Blazes and The Pretty Boys' debut album, Soul Vernacular, was released in September 2015. Soul Vernacular includes both tracks from the Blue Skies single release (February 2014), as well as 5 new original tracks, and a cover of Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom". Victor Infante writes in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the title track "is a spectacular groove that’s as much the conclusion to a funk thesis as it is a musical catharsis. Every inch of the song is big, and everything throttles ahead at full-force, a show-stopping end to one of the most thoroughly enjoyable albums in recent memory." Another track from the album, "Cold Clear Light", was included in the Harmonix video game Rock Band 4, released in October 2015.