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rule of thumb

john was the singer, guitarist, front man, and primary songwriter for the now-defunct san francisco quartet, rule of thumb.  rule of thumb bridged the alt-roots and indie-rock worlds through memorable melodies, literate lyrics, and non-traditional song structures. over the course of four albums, the band changed the modern landscape of music. okay, they didn’t, but at times they sure felt like they were. you can listen to the last two albums below, and you can find the entire official recorded output here. and, if you’re so inclined, you can go ahead and “like” them on facebook.


Multi-faceted, near-flawless gems of catchy, yet uncompromising pop. Rule of Thumb’s music is smart, beautifully produced, and scintillates with wit. It’s the kind of music which is so original and so good, music critics will bring out their most clever turns of phrase to offer praise. They’ll call them things like “postmodern pranksters pulling down the rock establishment like a deck of cards” while comparing them to bands like Gang of Four and the Rave-Ups.
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A prime example of San Francisco’s thriving indie scene… lyrical and imaginative.
– (San Francisco Examiner)

Rule of Thumb has a unique but unpretentious vibe; somewhat like solo-era Peter Murphy and Robyn Hitchcock filtered through Tom Petty’s resin-encrusted pot pipe.
– (BAM Magazine)

Never in recent memory has an album seemed so innocent on first listen and so subversive upon subsequent ones. …populated by more weird and wonderful characters than a season’s worth of X-Files episodes or a William Faulkner novel.
– (Rocklove Magazine)

Some of the most original material I’ve heard in a while. The songs are amazingly well-constructed for their uniqueness. Should you doubt the listenability of this, don’t.
– (Coast Weekly)

This album is different… you can play Spot the Influence, try to decipher the brainy, humorous lyrics, and be entertained all at the same time.
– (Monterey County Herald)

Progressive pop with occasional jazzy tidbits thrown in for good measure. Rule of Thumb’s clean pop music goes down easy featuring good arrangements and a keen ability for writing a good melody. …these guys throw a lot more of their brains into their instruments than your average three-chord schmuck-offs… Good stuff, with just the right amount of studio gloss.
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