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SOME KIND OF HERO
Newsletter Snippets - Issue No.1/February 1997
Published with friendly permission of editor Alan Grundy
Welcome to the first issue of Some Kind Of Hero.
free service designed to give you up to date info on gigs and record releases
for the Wilko Johnson Band and hopefully, will come out quarterly (don't
hold me too closely to this - Q it ain't!). As well as news on Wilko and
the band, I'll also be including stuff on similar artists such as Eddie
& The Hot Rods. I also aim to include some features on Wilko's past
work in every issue including of course Dr Feelgood. Hopefully, S.K.O.H.
can also provide a means of contact between fans, perhaps to share transport
to gigs, swop live tapes, videos (anyone interested in swopping?) etc.
I'd also be grateful for any contributions such as gig reviews (your own),
newspaper articles/reviews, ticket stubs, gig flyers from the forthcoming
dates for inclusion in the next issue. Also any feedback from you lot out
there. Finally, I'd like to thank you all for your interest, at last count,
I'd had about 60 enquiries about S.K.O.H. mainly from the U.K., but also
from Eire, France and Sweden so were not alone out there! As the converted,
we find ourselves in the position of missionarys so it's up to us to spread
the word and give the Wilko Johnson Band the support they deserve! I'd
also like to give a big thanks to Irene (of "Paradise" farm)
for enduring my phone calls and letters and furnishing me with all the
up to date news and last but no means least, thanks to Wilko, Norman and
Sav for all the hours of enjoyment they've given us. - - -
Nuff said. Alan.
Although the band are still in the process of "shopping around" for a record deal, they do have enough material for a new album and the draft artwork has been completed. The new album should feature all original songs and will probably include some of the newer live material such as "Black Cat Bone", "Slippin' & Slidin´" and "Take It Easy Babe". Some tracks may feature Lew Lewis. Hopefully more news next issue! There are also tentative plans for Wilko to be featured on an album of Johnny Kidd covers.
1996 - A RETROSPECTIVE
Although '96 was without an album release, Wilko and the band had quite a high profile throughout the year. In the monthly music magazines, "Mojo" came up trumps in May with a lengthly piece on Pub Rock by Will Birch which although standing as an article in it's own right, was basically to promote the release of the "Naughty Rhythms - Best of Pub Rock" CD, which Will wrote the "sleeve" notes for! Bit of a coincidence that! Anyway, the feature included a short interview with Wilko. June´s "Mojo" also featured Wilko, this time with his endorsement of Mick Green in the "100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time". Even "GQ" - one of the new breed of men's "style" magazines - got in on the act with December's "Great British" issue featuring various music maestros including Wilko wearing the best of British menswear and their views on Britain. In Record Collector's poll of collectable artists, Wilko reached #469, a rise of 21 places from last years positions although they missed out on an extensive article on Wilko's career (modesty forbids me to mention the author's name!). If anyone is moved to protest about this ommission, please feel free to write to them! Seriously, if they ever let me know that they've no intention od using it, then I may include it in a subsequent issue of S.K.O.H. Wilko also featured briefly in print the recent Johnny Kidd biography by Keith Hunt. On the touring side, the band played extensively throughout the year culminating in a serious assault in late autumn and the ubiquitous London gig in December. There were also some Spanish dates in late November/early December. The band also appeared at "Madstock 3" in June (some of which was aired on one of the satellite/cable music stations - anyone got a copy?). Norman played bass for Madness as well as for the Wilko Johnson Band. Us poor folk with only normal T.V. also got a chance to see Norman with Madness at Old Trafford in the "Euro´96 Extravaganza" shown on BBC in June. Norman also appeared with Ian Dury & The Blockheads in London on December the 14th. Although as mentioned before, there was unfortunately no album release in '96, Wilko featured on several compilations. There was of course the Feelgood's box set at the end of '95 and the previously mentioned "Naughty Rhythms" CD. But there were some lesser known releases: "Whats on in the Pub in '96" CD - PUB001CD - features the B-side of the single "It's all over now"-"I want to talk to you" as well as tracks from Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood, etc. "NV R&B E.P. (NVEP6) 7" vinyl E.P. featuring a new version of the old Feelgood's number "The more I give" as well as other Southend bands - in memory of a Southend musician - Andrew Gyp Robinson. "Southend Rock 2" CD (Lunch Label 01702001) includes the band's take of "Muskrat" from the same rehearsal (these guys need to rehearse?) sessions as the NVEP track as well as stuff from Dr Feelgood, Mickey Jupp and numerous other Southend bands of various genres. All artists royalties are donated to the loyal Fair Havens Hospice so it's in a good cause.
"Southend Rock 2" is vailable from S.K.O.H. at £ 10 plus £ 1 (UK) or £ 2 (overseas) for post & package. Cheques/postal orders payable to A.P.Grundy. Alan Grundy, 11 Darley Avenue, Farnworth, Bolton, Lancs BL4 7RU, Great Britain
TO TOP OR MENU
OUT! Wilko Johnson live in London"
(Waterfront WFO 24)**** (Sounds 25th Jan.1986 - By Roger Holland )
CONFESSION TIME. I stand before you a Doctor Feelgood devotee of a great many years. That inimitable Oil City Sound - four gears biting perfectly together - still commands tremendous respect within my record collection. Forget all that utter tosh about Pete Townshend. Wilko is perhaps the single most dangerous guitarist in town. Almost startlingly evil, malevolent somehow, his crisp, slanting action that man is threatening you with a sawn-off shotgun! And this live set reveals that Wilko - now teamed up with arch-bore Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Sal Ramundo, who could so easily be the Big Figure of old and not a "young Southend drummer" is even now a fierce rock force. And frankly, Old Grey fans, numbers like "Doctor Dupree", "Sneakin' Suspicion" and "When I'm gone" absolutely piss all over those boring Yankee chappies.
BASIN IS BACK
(NME 29th March 1986 - By Charles Shaar Murray)
WILKO JOHNSON - WATCH OUT! (Waterfront). Since the '60s wave of British R&B pioneers, no-one in the UK has constructed a more distinctive and personal music from the building blocks of blues and '50s rock than Wilko Johnson. This oddly formatted object - a seven-song 45rpm 12" - catches the quirky-jerky master of robotism'n'blues in performance with his current band (featuring ex-Blockhead bassist Norman Watt-Roy), and it's the proverbial screaming yellow zonker. Some of these tunes will be familiar to veteran Johnsonists, but rarely have they been so crisply and wittily performed. He still sings slightly sharp in that dryly quavering voice, and "When I'm Gone" isn't quite the tour-de-tric-and- force that it can be on his best nights, but the Everly Brothers' "Muskrat" comes up bright-eyed and bushytailed and the psycho-reggae masterpiece "Dr Dupree" has never sounded as slinkily dangerous as this. "Ice On The Motorway" hits a red-alert black-ice groove and the old Feelgood standby "Sneakin´ Suspicion" is as good an example as any of the songwriting craft that Johnson brings to his trad materials: an off-hand throwaway line like "Ain't seen so many women since the day they closed the factory down" adds to and extends the social realism in which the blues is so deeply sunk. Root crops are good for you, and this is one of those. Wilko'n out.
(Mojo June 1996 #31)
"FAR AND AWAY THE GREATEST BRITISH GUITARIST" - Wilko Johnson: "The first time I ever heard Mick Green was on the radio when they played I'll Never Get Over You by Johnny Kidd And The Pirates. I was walking across the room and stopped in my tracks when the guitar solo came in. It sounded like the real thing, like an American guitarist. I started checking out Johnny Kidd records and found that this chopping lead and rhythm style was just one guy: Mick Green. From that moment I became determined to imitate him as closely as I could. To me, no other British guitarist had achieved that sound up to that point - or since. He's far and away the greatest - he's added to the vocabulary of the guitar; and is a great original. His playing has incredible feel. I took my style from Green, but he told me he set out trying to copy James Burton, but was forced to develop his own style because The Pirates were a three-piece and he had to cover both lead and rhythm., they were a three- piece because Johnny Kidd thought it looked better with one guitarist either side. Mick was a teenager on the early stuff and that's stuff's incomparable, a magical sound that nobody else gets. Over 30 years later it still does the business for me." (WB) Guitar: Fender Telecaster. Highlight: My Babe. Available on Johnny Kidd & The Pirates "Classic And Rare", Pinnacle, 1993.
BRITISH - Issue
(GQ December 1996)
WILKO JOHNSON, 49, about what he likes on/in Britain: The complete works of Shakespeare; My wife Irene ("I'm very uxurious"); Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey; The Weather; A June afternoon. "The very idea of being proud to be British seems depressing - if you are, you can't help it. I've always been an R&B freak - the Stones showed it didn't have to come from America. We stamped our character on R&B, but I don't think people deliberately tried to change it. You do your damnedest to imitate it, but you're going to make mistakes."
about it for this issue, hope you've enjoyed it. The next one will possibly
include a feature on the U.K. Autumn'96 tour, the first part of the complete?
Wilko discography and hopefully details on how to obtain that most essential
of fashion accessoires - a WILKO JOHNSON BAND T-shirt (if you ain't already
got one). Who knows, we might also have news of a new album release!
Wilko and out (I have to say it!) Alan.
PART OF THIS ISSUE
100 CLUB, London/UK - March 1996 was added to WILKO GIG (P)REVIEWS Section
to next newsletter Issue 2/April 1997
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