Yoav Gerber was born in Israel on March 27th, 1980, to an American father and Israeli mother, and spent parts of his childhood in Boston, Massachusetts. He began playing the acoustic guitar at age 16, taking only 6 months of lessons before stopping for reasons he does not himself remember. Songwriting was an early focus of his though, and his first attempts with a high school classmate resulted in one incredibly morbid, fairly memorable song, which focused on the pair’s fear of dying in the army, as their mandatory military service following high school loomed around the corner.

Yoav kept writing songs over the next years, but never saw himself as talented enough to even consider releasing them. “The songs were just not very good, and I knew that, and was Ok with it”, he says. But around the age of 22 his songwriting turned a corner, and a batch of new songs impressed two of his friends so much that they, despite his frequent objections, went ahead and scheduled a gig for him at the now extinct Syndrome bar in Jerusalem. In October 2004, at the age of 24, he took the stage for the first time in his life, along with childhood friend and accomplished guitar player David Szekely, for an acoustic set in front of approximately 60 friends and relatives.

After another show later that year the momentum died down, and a few years passed until he would go on stage again, this time fronting a four man group hastily named Twelve?, which disbanded after three shows after guitar player Alon Sela was fired, and bassist Ilay Englard left following disagreements over Sela’s replacement. The band did enter the studio for an amateurish 4 song recording, 3 of which would end up being recorded and included on Potentially Violent. Yoav and drummer Zohar Shechter continued rehearsing on their own, toying with the idea of a White Stripes-like guitar and drum duo, which never materialized.

FOJ Rehearsal

Yoav Gerber of Friends of John’s, during rehearsal at Downtown studios.
Photo: Shlomi Oron

At this point Yoav was chasing another dream, as he founded Last Word Technology together with business partner and childhood friend Omri Allouche, now CEO of Israeli startup Otonomic. After receiving an initial investment from internet guru Yossi Vardi, hero of Mirabilis, Yoav discovered that his temperament was not suited for the start up life, and fell into a deep depression. A romantic break up followed, which sent him spiraling even deeper, until he reached the decision to close the business and focus entirely on his music. He began playing live sets at Tsuzamen Pub in Tel Aviv, a small pub known as the place that jumpstarted indie musician Geva Alon, and searching for a producer to help advance his music. After meeting with a number of professionals, he ended up choosing Ithamar S. Eshpar over local star Yossi Mizrachi of Acollective, a decision that even surprised Eshpar himself.

Despite Shecter’s, the drummer, initial commitment to the project, he ended up leaving the group due to his father’s illness, leaving Yoav to continue on his own. In December 2014, the independently produced 6 song EP was ready for release.

Musically, the songs are influenced by several artists looked up to by Yoav, each leaving their own mark on his songwriting. Notable influences include R.E.M., Simon and Garfunkel, Elliot Smith, John Frusciante, and even some Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N’ Roses. His first exposure to Rock music came through his father who force fed him and his three brothers Beatles songs, and extensive listening to Oldies 103, an oldies station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today Yoav lives in Ben Shemen, a Moshav in central Israel, with his girlfriend, her 8 year old son, and their two dogs.