He was born in Santiago de Chile.
In his teen years, Johannes formed the band Chain Reaction (later Anthym) with Hillel Slovak, Todd Strassman, and Jack Irons. This band was later renamed What Is This?. Todd Strassman was replaced by Flea, who was replaced, upon leaving the band, by Chris Hutchinson.
In 1987, Johannes and Natasha Shneider released the album Walk the Moon under the MCA label. Reportedly, Chris Hutchinson and Jack Irons played on some of its tracks.
Eleven was formed in 1990 and released their debut album Awake in a Dream in 1991, which included the pop based singles "Rainbows End" and "All Together". They followed this with regular releases Eleven in 1993, Thunk! in 1995, Avantgardedog in 2000, and Howling Book in 2003.
Johannes was the only other contributor on the 1996 debut album by Jason Falkner, Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown. He was also a significant contributor to Chris Cornell's 1999 solo album, Euphoria Morning, both as a guitarist and producer. He also toured as part of Chris Cornell's band in support of this album. He mixed and played on Jack Irons' first solo record, Attention Dimension, released in 2004, and he co-wrote on Danish stonerrock outfit The Royal Highness.
In 2005, he joined Queens of the Stone Age to play guitar as well as bass on Lullabies to Paralyze. He had previously guested on Lullabies' predecessor, Songs for the Deaf, having also co-written the track "Hanging Tree" during one of The Desert Sessions. He would participate in the tour for the album and appears on the live DVD, Over the Years and Through the Woods in the main concert. Johannes once again contributed a main role to Lullabies' follow up, Era Vulgaris, but he opted to concentrate on Eleven with Natasha and the pair bowed out of touring before the album's promotion started.
In 2007 Johannes became a part of Brody Dalle's post-Distillers effort, Spinnerette.
In August 2009 he joined as a sideman with Them Crooked Vultures, with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and former Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones. Johannes contributed guitar, bass, keyboards, and backing vocals on their 2009-2010 tour.
In late 2008, a song he co-wrote with Shneider, Time for Miracles, was recorded by Adam Lambert and used in the movie 2012.
On October 5, 2010, he released his solo debut album Spark, a tribute to the late Natasha Shneider.
On September 5, 2012 Jimmy Eat World announced that he would be a producer/engineer on their 8th studio album.
In 2013 he became a player in Dave Grohl's Sound City Players project writing/recording a song for the album and playing a major role in the live performances.
On November 11, 2014, he released his second solo album Fragments and Wholes Vol. 1, drawing inspiration from the death of his parents as well as Natasha.
In 2015, he was the producer of K's Choice newest album, The Phantom Cowboy and Edith Crash, Partir.Guitars and basses
1962 Fender Jazzmaster- Alain's main guitar for the majority of his career, Alain bought his Jazzmaster secondhand in 1978. By happenstance the guitar's neck date is 2 May 62, his very date of birth. Repainted and modified several times through the years, notably equipped with Seymour Duncan humbuckers.
MotorAve BelAire #1- Alain walked into luthier Mark Fuqua's shop one day to have an old Maton repaired and spotted the prototype of what would become the BelAire, fitted with Gretsch Filtertron pickups and a Bigsby. Buying it straight away, bandmate Josh Homme ordered one for himself and has since made them his most used guitars.
1968 Gibson SG
Gibson Les Paul Florentine Prototype- Likely a Gibson prototype of the mid '90s semi-hollow Florentine Les Paul's, Johannes' guitar features unique characteristics not found on later production models such as a Florentine cutaway and an ES 175 style bridge in addition to its distinctive F-holes.
Cigar box guitar- Johannes' luthier friend Matty Baratto has built numerous 4 and 8 string cigar box guitars since the early 2000s, many of which have gone through Alain to friends like Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, Brody Dalle, PJ Harvey, and John Paul Jones. Paul McCartney used one in the song "Cut Me Some Slack" with the former members of Nirvana. Alain's detailed his guitars are wired with LR Braggs mandolin pickups.
Yamaha SA-70 bass custom- Co-opted with Queens bandmate Troy Van Leeuwen for songs in C tuning on the Lullabies to Paralyze tour.
Epiphone Jack Casady bass- Used for songs in E tuning on the Lullabies to Paralyze tour.
Rogue VB-100 bass
Throughout his career Johannes has worked with a wide range of artists and bands in various genres both as a musician, record engineer and producer.