Johnny O’Neil Releases Second Single and New Video “Take Me Down”

Video Takes a Look at the Epidemic of Opioid Addiction


JOHNNY O’NEIL “Take Me Down” Official Music Video

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (November 1, 2023) — Johnny O’Neil announces the release of the second single and video “Take Me Down” from his third album “Brand New Day”. The video was premiered by and is now available worldwide at

You can stream and purchase Brand New Day at:

Discussing the new video for “Take Me Down”, Johnny O’Neil had this to say, “The subject matter is something that has touched just about everybody in some form or fashion, the epidemic of opioid addiction. When it came time to shoot the video our stellar videographers, Brianna and Kurt Jorgensen, had a very clear concept in mind, shooting the entire video in black and white. As such, there is a more cinematic ambience, and ironically it seemed to soften the more disturbing scenes. I wanted to convey a glimpse into that terrible affliction through the view of a narrator looking in from the outside. It was a delicate line to tread; we didn’t want to be gratuitous in capturing the inherently dark nature of this crisis, while at the same time conveying that there is hope, and help for anyone who is suffering. It is obviously quite a departure from our first video for the title track, but it also serves to showcase the range of emotions and sonic landscapes that we traverse as a band on this album.”

Johnny O’Neil adds, “This song was the first “O’Neil & Funk” songwriting collaboration of the three tunes John Funk and I co-wrote for ‘Brand New Day.’ John had a killer chord progression he had been keeping in his back pocket for years, and presented it to the band at a rehearsal. I was able to come up with a complimentary riff that fit with John’s descending chord progression, and the melody line and lyrics took shape in my head pretty quickly as we refined the arrangement of the song.

Praise for “Take Me Down” from radio, retail and websites:
  • “Take Me Down highlights amazing guitar work, that’s full of emotion and bluesy riffs reminiscent of Michael Schenker, Gary Moore, Scott Gorham and Mick Jones. Great track!” – Leni DiMancari President/CEO, Ten13 Entertainment
  • “For those that are looking for new classic rock, this is the album. Mix Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, UFO and even Big Star and that is just some of the bands you will be reminded of when you listen to this instant classic from Johnny O’Neill and the album, Brand New Day.” – Danny Beck, Know Name Records
  • A fine slab of classic rock that will please and surprise many people. – Sleaze Roxx
  • This is strong and naturally resonates with me. Well done. – Andy Powell, Wishbone Ash
  • “Loving “Take Me Down”, it may be my favorite song off “Brand New Day”. Old school vibe, but a modern groove with a smokin’ solo.” – Brian Basher, BraveWords Radio
  • Wooow, “Take Me Down” is a great song that instantly makes you bang your head and feet beat to the beat, Johnny O’Neil at his best! – Tarja Virmakari, Metal Shock Finland
  • It’s been said “Don’t bore us…get to the chorus”. Johnny doesn’t mess around by getting to the hook straight away. This is followed by a descending verse featuring a smooth vocal delivery. Before you know it the chorus comes back around and ropes you in. By the end of the song you can’t help but sing along. – Mark Skaar, Program Director KIOW

There aren’t many musicians who cut their teeth as a founding member of a rock band that performed five nights a week, 50 weeks a year, for 11 straight years, often for an audience of thousands, just as there aren’t many musicians who hold a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. But Johnny O’Neil is a rare artist who combines expert musicianship with astute observations of the human condition gleaned as a therapist and forensic psychologist, all brought to bear on his third solo album, Brand New Day.

O’Neil’s third solo effort, Brand New Day, covers broad musical territory, taking elements from the past and adding a decidedly modern twist, combining guitar-driven hard rock and R&B with hooky choruses that get stuck in your head for days. Recruiting the talents of John Funk on lead guitar, Benny Craig on bass, and Joachim Baecker on drums, as well as engineer/co-producer Brian Bart – O’Neil’s former bandmate in Dare Force – O’Neil and his full band spent months writing and rehearsing before hunkering down to record with Bart atWinterland Studios in Minneapolis, as well as the legendary Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., where Nirvana famously recorded In Utero.

Johnny O’Neil is excited to announce the following show:

11/24 – St. Paul, MN – The Doghouse

Show info and tickets can be found at

ARTIST: Johnny O’Neil

01. BRAND NEW DAY (J. O’Neil)
02. TAKE ME DOWN (J. O’Neil, J. Funk)
03. MY MONA (J. O’Neil, J. Funk)
06. IN SEARCH OF (J. O’Neil)
08. HANDS UP (J. O’Neil, J. Funk)
09. DON’T BELIEVE A WORD (P. Lynott)**

Band Members:
JOHNNY O’NEIL: All Lead and Harmony Vocals, Guitars
JOHN FUNK: Guitars
JOACHIM BAECKER: Drums and Percussion

Special Guest Artists:
Saxophone on “My Mona”
Piano & Organ on “My Mona,”
“Hands Up” & “Tell Me Your Story”

Backing Vocals on
“Brand New Day” & “My Mona”

Violin on “Tell Me Your Story”

Pachyderm Studios
Cannon Falls, MN
Assistant Engineer:
Nick Tveitbakk

Winterland Studios
Minneapolis, MN
Assistant Engineer:
Todd Fitzgerald

Logic Recording
Minnetonka, MN
Engineer: Brian Bart

String Arrangement on
“Tell Me Your Story”
by Johnny O’Neil & Brian Bart

Johnny O’Neil

The Blood Brothers –
Johnny O’Neil & Brian Bart

Brian Bart

Michael Brandvold

Graphic Design & cover photo:
JoBa Visuals

Band photos:
Tommy Sommers & Kyle Hansen


O’Neil has been in practice as a Ph.D.-level clinical psychologist for over two decades, quite a feat considering he dropped out of high school at 16 to focus on his burgeoning music career. After more than a decade of achieving many of his musical dreams, including the ‘80s with Dare Force, O’Neil decided to go back to school at the age of 28 to get his GED. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, followed by a Master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Ohio State University.

Now a solopreneur in private practice as a forensic psychologist, O’Neil conducts Independent Psychological Evaluations (IPEs) of claimants involved in workers’ comp and personal injury cases, and provides courtroom testimony as an expert witness – a fascinating occupation to be sure. In fact, he found himself interviewing dozens of Minneapolis police officers who filed disability claims due to PTSD in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Not surprisingly, for O’Neil, playing music is an invaluable form of therapy and expressing his emotions. “I don’t have a choice, I have to play music,” he says. “It’s how I’m wired and how I preserve my sanity. It’s therapy for me. I’ll be performing until my last gasp.”

O’Neil fell in love with music at the age of five, begging his parents to buy him a guitar after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, which they finally did when he turned eight years old. The stars aligned when his future Dare Force bandmate, Brian Bart, moved in across the street when he was nine. “We had a tussle over something silly in the front yard, then my mom invited us in for a piece of cake; we’ve been thick as thieves ever since,” O’Neil says.

O’Neil and Bart immediately bonded over their mutual love of music (including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter, Steppenwolf, and Creedence Clearwater Revival), and quickly formed a band together. One of their first gigs was at Sunny Hollow Elementary School in 6th grade, where Bob Dylan’s younger brother, David Zimmerman, was their music teacher and introduced their band to an audience of 500-some fellow classmates.

Infusing his songwriting with his personal values of tolerance, compassion and empathy throughout his career, O’Neil believes that an important part of an artist’s job is to not only reflect what’s going on in the world, but also to comment on it and influence it. To this end, O’Neil’s driving rock tunes go beyond being simply upbeat, feel-good rock ‘n roll, to songs that really have something to say to the world.

DARE FORCE: (Johnny O’Neil’s previous band Dare Force)

Dare Force was a legendary hard rock/heavy metal band based in Minneapolis that was initially founded by Johnny and Brian Bart when they were 18 years old. Dare Force released three albums in the 1980s and performed in concert with numerous national acts such as KISS, Ted Nugent, Triumph, Kansas, UFO, the Joe Perry Project, and Ratt, as well as headlining in venues throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Dare Force also had several songs that received heavy airplay on rock radio stations throughout the midwestern US in the 1980s. Dare Force released its third album, “Firepower,” with a reformed version of the band in 1989. The original lineup performed occasional reunion gigs after the long run of the original band ended in 1987, but the original version of Dare Force stopped performing live altogether after their last reunion show in 2002. Dare Force reformed yet again with a return to a four-piece lineup in 2017, and released its fourth album, “Callin’ Your Name,” in 2018.

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