Thursday, October 26, 2006

Some arresting Johns

They were Jon Langford, John Hyatt, and Phillip "John" Brennan. On stage and on LPs, they were known as The Three Johns. (Of course, we can't forget Hugo; he was the band's drum machine and named thus because the trio was often striving for that Gang of Four drum sound. Clever, these Johns.)

I took these excerpts from Harp Magazine. A good read, that rag is:

The Three Johns commenced in '82 in Leeds when Langford-weathering a Mekons hiatus and nursing an urge to play, as he puts it, "flat-out rock."

The 3Js also incorporated metallic dissonance and psychedelic drones into their sound, shifting easily between dance-floor punk-funk, jagged Beefheartian skronk and T.Rex-styled riff-rock. (One highlight of Live in Chicago is "20th Century Boy," with Hyatt uncannily channeling Marc Bolan's trebly warble.) In the Margaret Thatcher era the Johns were defiantly political, too, as evidenced by song titles such as "English White Boy Engineer," about apartheid, and "Death of the European," which skewered American imperialism.

"But we didn't want to be dogmatic," Langford says. "I think our thing was more humorous, and Hyatt's lyrics were almost dadaist-surrealist in approach, too."

A pair of tracks by The Three Johns:

"King Car"

"Death Of The European"