Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Verity - Interrupted Journey

John Verity began his music career in the early 1960's, playing guitar in various local bands around his home town of Bradford, Yorkshire, until he was offered a full time gig with a band which was backing various visiting US pop acts, as well as Decca Records UK acts when they toured.

By 1969 John was living and working in the US, with the first ever line-up of the John Verity Band doing prestigious support slots with many of the big names of the day including Jimi Hendrix, Mountain, Canned Heat and Janis Joplin.

On his return to England in 1971, John secured a contract with producer Steve Rowland to record his first solo album for ABC/Probe records, 'John Verity Band', which was released in the spring of 1972. Whilst on tour promoting the album, JV was spotted by Rod Argent who was looking for new lead vocalist for his band following the departure of Russ Ballard. John eventually joined Argent in 1973 and there followed a period of intense recording and touring until the band decided to come off the road late in 1976. Argent never did go back on the road, and decided to disband, at which point John became involved with various new projects both as Artist and Record Producer. First of all, along with Bob Henrit and Jim Rodford from Argent he formed Phoenix, which soon signed to CBS records. The band recorded three albums and toured Europe before disbanding amicably when Jim Rodford joined the Kinks, and John and Bob joined Charlie, to record an album with RCA Records. John produced the Phoenix albums and Charlie album as well as the first Saxon album during this time, and decided to divide his time between sessions and record production whilst Bob Henrit teamed up with Jim Rodford once again by joining the Kinks.

The next few years were spent in recording studios throughout the world, producing, playing guitar, or doing backup vocals with various acts including Motorhead, Tank, Ringo Starr, Russ Ballard, Colin Blunstone, Brian Connolly, John Parr, BowWowWow and The Searchers amongst many others, until late in 1981 when PRT Records MD Matt Haywood asked JV to record a comeback album. By now living in his native Yorkshire, John had built his own 38-track studio achieved by synchronising together 24 and 16 track tape machines - and had moved into full time record production. The Matt Haywoods offer meant that JV could get back out on the road again to promote the album, and touring always seemed to bring out fresh ideas...

"Interrupted Journey", released in 1982, was highly acclaimed in the UK, USA and Europe and successfully relaunched Johns performing career, and he once again took to the road. John was approached by many big name acts for recording and performing projects during this period - Mike Rutherford of Genesis wrote three songs for inclusion on the JV Bands' next set of recording sessions, and both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake used John on their current recording projects. The next two albums "Truth Of The Matter" and "Rock Solid" were also well received, and John soon had offers to join various name bands including MSG, Ted Nugent, and Asia which he declined, deciding instead to come off the road to record an album with newly reformed Zombies. This project took the best part of a year and was mostly recorded at Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland and finished in London...

After a short break John was soon back on the road again with John Coghlan's Diesel Band (Status Quo), in the UK and Europe, before reforming the John Verity Band for similar venues and recording here in the UK.

In 1992 John decided to re-locate, away from his native Yorkshire to rural Bedfordshire and closer to friends from the Argent days. Since the move south the JV Band gigs have continued as ever, with different line-ups chosen from a shortlist of fine musicians. At the 1994 Manchester Festival "Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary" concert, JV guested, along with many Rock Legends past and present including Sonny Curtis, Frankie Miller and Rory Gallagher. Johns performance of "Stay With Me Baby" was one of the high spots of the evening, bringing the capacity crowd at the Manchester Free Trade Hall to its feet!

He has also done vocal sessions for 3 episodes of the Granada series "Full Stretch", (1991) and another guest spot with the 'Strat Pack', for the Australia Day (1995) celebrations at the Hippodrome in London's West End.

2000 saw a major recent gigging project with a 32 date UK tour, opening the show on the Jools Holland Sex Jazz and Rock'n'Roll tour at major venues including Manchester Opera House, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and the London Albert Hall. After this, it was back to his regular gigging routine.

It's the year 2008 and the JV Band is still alive and kicking at venues throughout the UK and abroad... Catch them at a venue near you...

The earliest sessions for the album were at Livingston Studios, in North London - Just Bob Henrit and Me laying down tracks for my new Solo album as yet untitled. I wanted to start by recording some of my favourite songs at that time. We laid tracks for 'Stay with Me', 'You Keep Me Hanging On' and 'Hold Your Head Up' - just drums and guitar, with me in the control room playing guitar and working the desk, and also yelling a guide vocal with Bob out in the studio playing drums! Dave Wintour came in later to add bass and then I put on proper guitar and vocal tracks... Finally I asked Rod Argent to add some keyboards - in the background - this was going to be a GUITAR album!

These were the tracks that were heard by prospective record labels, plus my rough home demos of my own songs, 'Rescue Me' It,s 'Comin, Right' and 'Are You Ready' There was a lot of record company interest, but the one guy who really stood out as believing in my return to the frontline was Matt Haywood at PRT Records in the UK. I signed with PRT, and went into their own studio in London to lay down basic tracks for another bunch of songs, including 'Rescue Me' 'It's Comin Right' 'Are You Ready?' and 'You're the Loser'. Overdubs for these tracks were done at my own studio 'Somewhere in Yorkshire' and the band was Terry Uttley on bass, Steve Rodford and Bob Henrit on drums. Terry and I did the background vocals.

Around this time, a good friend of mine, Don Alexander, had brought me a bunch of songs he'd heard - 'Chippin, Away at the Stone', and 'Blinded by Love' were among them, and I went back into Livingston to lay these tracks and also Russ Ballards, 'Just Another Day,... Sadly Don is no longer with us, but I think of him when I play these songs still, and it helps put a little more heart and soul there... Band lineup was Bob Henrit, Dave Wintour and me as before, with keyboards by Rod Argent and Russ Ballard.. Background vocals and overdubs were done 'Somewhere in Yorkshire'... I was putting the finishing touches to the album - now entitled 'Interrupted Journey' - when I had a surprise call from Mike Rutherford.... Mike wanted to work with me, and had some songs he wanted us to try. Bob Henrit and I went down to Genesis' studio 'Fisher Lane Farm' where we recorded 3 titles with Mike, and engineer Jeff Callingham. We only finished 'In the Arms of Someone Else' in time for this album - overdubs and mixing were done 'Somewhere in Yorkshire'... Finally, 'Fallin' was completed using the original 24 track tapes recorded at 'Trident' studios a couple of years earlier.. This one started out as a Phoenix track which was never finished - Bob Henrit (drums) Jim Rodford (bass), and Rod Argent (piano) laid the basic track, and I added vocals and 12 string guitar. Background vocals by me, Rod and Russ. There was no chorus written for the song when we recorded it at Trident, so the first job at these completion sessions was to write and record the choruses! Then I recorded a new lead vocal, added the guitar fills and mixed the track. The new work was done 'Somewhere in Yorkshire'...

Well, I hope all this is of interest to you. Thanks for the support - come see us if we play live in your area. There,s been a JV Band for over 30 years now, and we,re still going strong!!

Cheers, JV 2001

Track list
1    Rescue Me
2    Just Another Day (In the Life of a Fool)
3    Stay With Me Baby
4    Love Is Blind
5    Are You Ready for This
6    You're the Loser
7     It's Comin' Right
8     Chippin' Away at the Stone
9     In the Arms of Someone Else
10   Fallin'

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