John Kurzweg is a multi-platinum record producer and multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter who first became known for his work with successful post-grunge band Creed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Three of Creed's records, which Kurzweg produced, were certified multi-platinum and helped Creed achieve worldwide popularity. Kurzweg also played keyboards and sang background vocals on Creed's first three albums. After Creed broke-up in 2004, Kurzweg produced lead vocalist Scott Stapp's platinum-selling debut album The Great Divide in 2005. Kurzweg has also produced other popular bands, such as Puddle of Mudd and Socialburn, as well as solo artists Jewell and Eagle Eye Cherry.
Kurzweg produced multiple albums for Puddle of Mudd, including their 2001 break-out success Come Clean and the majority of their follow-up release Life on Display in 2003. Kurzweg produced “Blurry,” which was released as their second single from the album Come Clean. The song is the band's best known song, reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts for ten and nine weeks, respectively. This soon propelled the single to mainstream success, reaching the #5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay and Billboard Hot 100. The song is also the band's highest selling U.S. single ever, with sales of 753,000 copies, as of 2010. The single “She Hates Me” continued the group's popularity on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #13. It also topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for one week in October. The popularity of "She Hates Me" made it become Puddle of Mudd's second single to sell over 500,000 copies in the United States, following "Blurry." The song peaked at #14 in the UK Singles Chart making it the group's third Top 20 hit.
Along with his success as a record producer, in the 1980s, Kurzweg was a popular musician in the Tallahassee area, fronting bands such as Slapstick, Synergy, The Front, Radio Bikini and John Kurzweg and the Night. In late 1980s Kurzweg signed a record deal with Atlantic Records,and released the album "Wait for the Night"under the name John Philip (using his middle name as his last name) - he soon returned to FL to make more music and to start producing bands on the side.
Most recently Kurzweg has worked as producer, engineer and mixer for GodSmack’s “Whiskey Hangover,” which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, and appeared on the deluxe edition of The Oracle. He also served produced/engineered/mixed/co-wrote and played all the electric guitars on The Sean Healan Band’s 2009 cd Floodplain. Kurzweg also produced two of the tracks on Puddle of Mudd’s 2009 release Vol. 4 Songs in the Key of Love and Hate – “Better Place” and “Hooky.”
Born in San Francisco, his family moved around from California to Illinois and New York before settling down in Richmond, Virginia in the 60's. Richmond is where music started to take its hold on John, as the Beatles, Tommy Roe and Steppenwolf began to seep into the Kurzweg home. Both his adoptive parents were very musical and John started piano lessons with his dad at age seven. At age 11 John switched to guitar lessons and had his first paying gig as lead guitar for a band named Sycamore at age 13.
"My first guitar teacher told me I should give up guitar. Luckily he was replaced at the music store my dad drove me to for lessons. My second teacher, Ted, changed everything by asking why I wanted to play guitar. I shyly told him that I wanted to play guitar like the heroes of the day, Joe Walsh, Santana, Mark Farner, etc. He said he could show me that. A year later he called my dad and me into his room, and told my dad I had gone as far as I could with him, and that he was going to refer me to the premier jazz guitar teacher in Richmond, a guy named Jerry Fields. Jerry took me on, and man, he didn't know any rock stuff at all, but he showed me all these crazy jazz scales and chords and I soaked it up like a sponge. That same year I found a book in our music room, "The Contrapuntal Harmonic Technique of the 18th Century." With that book, sitting down at the piano with my guitar in hand, and hours and hours of playing with my heroes on my record player, I started to figure out a sort of my own version of music theory and mixed that with what Jerry and Ted had taught me. After a year with Jerry, my dad moved the family to Tallahassee, Florida. This was 1974. He was a Lutheran minister, and was to be the new pastor for a congregation there.
In Tallahassee I would start playing in a lot of different bands, trying into put to practice what I had up until then, been mostly learning alone with my turntable. It was a time of a lot of trial and error, and a lot of good musicians who put up with my ideas and experiments. I got to be in some really great bands: Burn, Gas, Fair Warning, Slapstick, and John Kurzweg and the Night. At age 21 I bought the first porta-studio that came out (a personal multi tracker that allowed musicians to record themselves,) and at age 25 I signed a record deal with Atlantic records. We started recording at Bear Tracks in Suffern, New York with the great English producer, Ken Scott; who is still one of my favorite producers. We did some more work at Total Axis in Redondo Beach, California and then Ken and I parted ways, not well unfortunately. At the time I was drinking a lot, (I have now been sober since 1989), and being even more of a perfectionist than Ken, I needed someone to push me through the project and to add some spontaneity. So, I finished the record with a very talented friend who had tracked some of my demos, Dana Cornak, in Orlando, Florida. Dana was and still is a recording mentor to me. Anyway, we released the album in 1986 under my middle name, John Philip, and got some radio play and got some Billboard notice for a few weeks, and then our independent promotions budget ran out. Everything stopped at this point. I ran out of money, moved back to Florida and started playing clubs again. In 1989 I got a call from a band that heard I had an 8 track recorder, asking if I would record them. I did, and they gave a cassette to the local college station and all of a sudden I was recording a lot of local bands. In the early 90's Pierce Pettis told me, "You need to get producer credit. These bands put these tapes out and give you "recorded by" credit, but I've worked with engineers and I've worked with producers, and you, my friend, are a producer." So, luckily I started to do that and started to turn down bands that didn't want a producer, and that's about the time Creed literally knocked at my door.
In 2003, after visiting the southwest several times, I moved from Florida to Santa Fe, New Mexico and was immediately drawn to the uniqueness of the local music scene. While producing and mixing national and local acts, I picked up the guitar again ( at Larry Mithchell's prodding) and soon found myself in the role of lead guitar with the Sean Healen Band. In June of 2010, after being asked to put a band together for a party, I launched the John Kurzweg Band. I stayed with the Sean Healen Band, while also doing shows with my own group until January 2015, when Sean and I amicably decided to go our own ways. These days I split my time between producing, mixing, performing, writing and recording and always trying to find the right balance.
Most recently Kurzweg has been producing projects for Kito Peters, Tiho Dimitrov (both received NMMA awards) and Eden Miner (NMMA Nominee) in New Mexico; Neil Alday & Further South, and the hard rockin' band Eli, in Florida; and also mixing projects for producers Stan Lynch & Billy Chapin : Chelsea Bain's, "James Dean" : The Villians single, "Rainy Day Girl": and also mixed the hard rock band Hurt's album, "Crux".
A life long full time musician, Kurzweg can often be found performing around the Santa Fe New Mexico area with his own band and from time to time in Florida.