John Custer began his career as a studio session guitarist. By age 23, Custer was providing guitar tracks for the #1 scoring house in America, New York's Vision Sound Studios. Custer played guitar on National Television Ads for VH-1, Ford, Jovan, Mazda, Revlon, and Coca-Cola. At age 25, Custer returned home to Raleigh, North Carolina to produce and develop original artists.
Punk-metal crossover giants, Corrosion Of Conformity hired Custer to produce their first major label disc, 'Blind' in 1991. The disc was hailed as an instant classic. CREEM magazine writers chose Blind as "One of the top 25 most influential metal recordings of the last 25 years".
MSN's Ed Rivadavia wrote, "The album's fiercest moment, "Vote With A Bullet" is a sonic precedent for the countless aggro-metal bands (Korn, Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit, etc.) which dominated the late '90s. Years ahead of its time, BLIND is simply one of the most important heavy rock albums of the decade." SPIN magazine raved, “Combining the heavy groove of the 70's with the hardcore political stance of the 80's, COC has set the metallic standard for this decade." The success of 'Blind' brought the attention of Columbia Records, who signed COC in 1993. Custer produced COC over the next 18 years. In that time, they received a Grammy nomination in '97 for the single, "Drowning In a Daydream," and two COC tracks appeared in major motion pictures CLERKS and THE FAN.
By 1992, Custer landed two major label deals for Raleigh bands he'd been developing since 1989. Cry of Love, and Custer's own funk creation, Dag, both signed to Columbia Records on the strength of Custer-produced demos. Custer went on to produce Cry Of Love and Dag's four major label cd releases. Cry Of Love's first Columbia single, "Peace Pipe" went to #1 on Billboard's Rock Radio charts. It remained at #1 as the most requested song in the nation for an entire month, and was the 5th most played song of that year. The next single "Bad Thing", which Custer co-wrote with the band, went to #2 in Billboard.
Funk band Dag was Custer's 2nd studio project to get signed. Custer wrote three songs showcasing the quartet's funk arsenal. They recorded. Three months later Dag was signed to Columbia Records. They recorded their first disc, "Righteous" in legendary Muscle Shoals with Custer producing and writing or co-writing the material. Their songs, so true to the classic funk recordings of the 70s, attracted guest performances by legendary drummer Roger Hawkins of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Hawkins is known for his drum work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, Steve Winwood etc. Quincy Jones's VIBE magazine hailed 'Righteous' as "…one of the best funk records since 1978. Dag's debut, 'Righteous', is definitely some of the most ass-grinding grooves you've heard since back in the day." A now legendary story, retold by writer Farnum Brown, holds that VIBE Magazine staffers didn't realize members were white until they sent a photographer to shoot the band.
MSN's Andy Hinds wrote "Although the notion of white guys playing funk is enough to make a person justifiably skeptical, make no mistake about Dag-they are the real deal. On 'Righteous', the band lays down some of the dirtiest, deadliest grooves this side of George Clinton, and do so with great restraint and respect for the genre. Bobby Patterson possesses a falsetto that could make Prince envious (as heard on the gorgeous title track). Dag's strength is their commitment to funk; unlike bands who use funk as a gimmick or try to fuse it with other styles, these guys play it pure. Highly recommended." Dag songs were featured in two major motion pictures, BAD BOYS starring Will Smith and READY TO WEAR starring Kim Basinger.
Custer has produced in every genre: He produced music for comedian Rich Hall's show on Comedy Central. He co-wrote songs with Canadian rock star Sass Jordan. Produced the brilliant Chris Whitley, Jazz/Hip-Hop band San Kofa (who made it to the finals of MTV's Best Unsigned Band In America Competition on the strength of the Custer-produced "Suspended Animation"), > and Pop group Gran Torino (whose single "Moments With you", co-written by Custer, won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest as the Best Pop Song of 2000). Moments With You was a Top 10 Most Requested Buzz Track on Pop Radio for 4 months.
In 2003, Custer opened John Custer Recording Studios. He produced Corrosion Of Conformity's cd In The Arms Of God in 2005. The disc was hailed by metal media as one of the best discs of the year. Drummer Stanton Moore subbed for absent Reed Mullin.
Custer went on to produce other projects and has begun work on an opera.