A native of Auburn, NY, where his father and grandfather also based long drumming careers, John began playing drums at age four, learning rudiments from his grandfather. Music, especially Jazz, was an integral part of the Dare family life. Some of John’s earliest memories are of helping his Dad set up his drums for a gig, or watching his older brother’s band rehearse. ( both his older brothers also played drums ) At a very early age, John was exposed to and taught about the lineage of great drummers, such as “Papa Jo” Jones, Davey Tough, Shelly Manne, etc..
John took lessons in school, and played in all the ensembles. He also took private lessons from Len Carey of the Syracuse Symphony. In 1978, John was selected to the NYS All-State Jazz Ensemble. He was house percussionist for the Merry Go Round Theatre in Auburn for six seasons, performing over thirty Broadway productions, including West Side Story.
John majored in music education at Berklee College of Music 1979-82, studying drums with Joe Hunt. He also studied privately with Joe Morello and Alan Dawson. While at Berklee, he played with future stars such as Branford Marsalis and Diana Krall, and led his own Big Band featuring trumpeter Joe Magnarelli. His professional career includes a national tour with rhythm and blues singer Bobby Freeman, and engagements with Chaka Kahn and Jack Jones. He has appeared locally with Lyman “Butch” Strong, Bobby Doyle, Bob Barbuto, Dino Losito, Frank Mucedola , and the Cayugans Big Band. In 2001, as a member of the group “In Flight”, John was honored to perform for former President and Mrs. Clinton. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, the Percussive Arts Society, the International Association of Jazz Educators, and the Vic Firth Private Drum Teacher program.