As an undergraduate at Oakland University, Cohassey took a tutorial with Kotynek on the history of American countercultures. Later, he joined his co-author as a consultant for the History Channel’s 2007 documentary, Hippies. Cohassey earned a master’s degree in history from Wayne State University in 1995. Since the early 1990s he wrote music CD liner notes, and over fifty entries on blues and jazz for Gale Research Inc., and his articles have appeared in the Detroit News as well as trade jazz and blues magazines. His first book, Toast of the Town: The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson (Wayne State University Press, 1998), won an award of merit from the Historical Society of Michigan.
John Cohassey has been cited as a source in numerous books, magazine articles and television programs. Click here for a list of books that have referenced works by John.
Writer/activist John Sinclair stated "John Cohassey performed a valuable service when he chronicled the glory years of Black Detroit in Sunnie Wilson's Toast of the Town: The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson. " Click here to view pictures from the book signing and read reviews about the book.
He is a professional musician and songwriter and performed with several well-known bluesmen, including legendary Chicago guitarist Otis Rush. As a music and cultural writer he has had lengthy conversations with famous jazzmen from Hank Jones to Kenny Burrell to Horace Silver.
Cohassey has visited New York, New Orleans, and Paris to research “ America’s Cultural Rebels.” His trips to these cities provided significant background for the book, as did his phone conversations with poet/activist John Sinclair and novelists Ken Kesey and Ed McClanahan.