By Patte Purcell

It’s always interesting to me to interview some of our local talent. You just don’t know what you’ve got sometimes.

There is a gentleman that has played in the desert for many years. His name is John Carey and his first gig was with the Chi Lites.

As a child, his mom was a singer and that is who inspired him to play music. At 8 years old his cousin who had guitars, basses, and drums turned him onto playing the guitar. Then he expanded to bass and piano. He never looked back. As a teenager he played in local bands. His first major gig was the Chi Lites where he spent almost 2 years. He left to do more rhythm and blues with a band he put together in Chicago.

He first landed in San Bernadino, CA in 1983 and then eased his way into the desert when he was hired to play at the Hyatt in Palm Springs 5 nights a week. One of his friends gave him his condo to use so he moved here fulltime. Another player, Theo Copley, who was with the T Connection on Capital Records and had numerous top 10 records decided to team up with John and form ‘The Smooth Brothers’. They were the originators of smooth jazz locally in the desert. They’ve been together almost 20 years and continue to play a full schedule. On Thursdays they play at one of Palm Springs favorite live venues, Shanghai Reds, Wednesdays they are at the Fisherman’s Market in Palm Desert, and Fridays and Saturdays they play in La Quinta at Fisherman’s Market.

Along with his gigs as The Smooth Brothers he also performs with his beautiful wife Gina who he met 7 years ago.

Their romantic story began when they met at Hip Kitty where he was part of the house band. She came in with a friend and gave him a CD. His reaction was ‘wow’. He was putting together a corporate band of 12 people and asked her to audition. As band politics had it the others didn’t want another vocalist so he had to break the news to her that she didn’t get the job. He waited a couple of days afterwards and then asked her out. They dated for 2 years before he ‘won her over’ and proposed. They just celebrated their 5th anniversary.

John just had a serious health scare when he woke up to chest pains. He was not getting enough blood to his heart so they have installed a pace maker. I’m happy to report he’s doing better and is resuming his schedule.

When I asked John about his goals he told me he is writing, composing, and producing. He and Gina each have separate studios that they work in at their home. He produced a number 1 record for Gina in the UK last year. He’s currently writing a screenplay; a fiction about a meet up between Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. He plans to have it out in 2016 and is looking forward to playing the role of Jimi Hendrix.

He currently teaches music lessons to those that are interested. When I asked for a message to his fans he said ‘just love one another’. You can reach John at or his website at