The Creative Associates at SUNY Buffalo explored the avant-garde in a wide variety of 20th Century styles, and performed regularly in Buffalo and in New York's Carnegie recital Hall. Some of the results of this group included the first book of madrigals by George Crumb, Vibone by Vinko Globokar, Passion Selon Sade by Sylvano Bussotti, and Songs From the Japanese by Fred Myrow. From this group John became involved in smaller "sub-groups" with Buell Neidlinger, Charles Gayle, and Andrew White; and a trio with George Crumb and Paul Zukofsky.
Relocating on the West Coast, John became involved in learning Tabla and other hand drums traditional to non-European cultures, and since 1970, has been coordinator of the percussion program at California Institute of the Arts. This breadth of background has led John to such diverse musical involvements as concerts with John McLaughlin's Shakti, performing in Frank Zappa's Abnuceals Emukka Orchestra, recording with , and a tour to the Soviet Union with Robert Shaw, to name only a few. John continues to be involved in contemporary music performance, studio work, and non-EuroAmerican music performance.
Incorporating many of the styles which have influenced him, John has co-founded two all-percussion groups The Repercussion Unit in 1976 with Larry Stein, Ed Mann, James Hildebrandt, Greg Johnson, Paul Anceau, and Steven "Lucky" Mosko; and The Hands On'Semble with Andrew Grueschow, Randy Gloss and Austin Wrinkle in 1997.