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.