Damon Johnson on hard-rock heroes, the joy of independence and feeling like Bono when playing shows at his fans' houses

Damon Johnson
(Image credit: Stephen Jensen)

For the better part of 30 years, Damon Johnson has cultivated the type of illustrious, star-studded career most professional guitarists only dream about. 

His resume speaks for itself: founding member of Brother Cane in the early Nineties, Alice Cooper band member in the late 2000s, Black Star Riders guitarist in the 2010s, touring guitarist for Thin Lizzy from 2011 to 2013 and songwriter/musician on albums by Stevie Nicks, Skid Row, Faith Hill, Ted Nugent, Carlos Santana and Sammy Hagar, among others. 

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Jeff Kitts

As a teenager, Jeff Kitts began his career in the mid ’80s as editor of an underground heavy metal fanzine in the bedroom of his parents’ house. From there he went on to write for countless rock and metal magazines around the world – including Circus, Hit Parader, Metal Maniacs, Rock Power and others – and in 1992 began working as an assistant editor at Guitar World. During his 27 years at Guitar World, Jeff served in multiple editorial capacities, including managing editor and executive editor before finally departing as editorial director in 2018. Jeff has authored several books and continues to write for Guitar World and other publications and teaches English full time in New Jersey. His first (and still favorite) guitar was a black Ibanez RG550.