Long Gone John …
John Edward Mermis was born on November 13, 1951. He is best known by the pseudonym Long Gone John. He is an American entrepreneur best known for his record label, Sympathy for the Record Industry, and his vinyl toy company, Necessaries Toy Foundation.
He founded his record label in 1988. Sympathy has a catalogue of more than 750 releases, and is based out of Olympia, Washington. The label’s name is a play on The Rolling Stones’ song “Sympathy for the Devil”.
Notable artists who started on Sympathy and went on to gain mainstream success include The White Stripes and Hole. Sympathy Records continues to be one of the more successful indie labels in the US.
Along the way, John has compulsively amassed a vast collection of art and pop ephemera so in 2003 he founded a new company, Necessaries Toy Foundation. It allowed John to focus on manufacturing a line of toys and publishing art-related books.
A documentary film The Treasures of Long Gone John was released in 2006. The film chronicles John’s eccentric art and musical obsessions. It also explores the work of some of the artists he collects and collaborates with. It features a wall-to-wall soundtrack of over 40 Sympathy artists, original animation and time-lapse photography. This is the trailer.