Thanks to the following for their contributions: Raymond Allard, Boz Boorer, Brian, Michelle Coomber, Cornelius, Ray Eden, Andy Ellison, Joe Giorgianni, Martin Gordon, Michael A. Green, John Hellier, Marietta T. Hülsken, Ivan Kocmarek, Mark, Chris Marshall, Cliff McLenehan, John Melbourne, Gavin Ross, Sonia & Matthew, Paul Thompson, Chris Townson, Jeff Watt, Colin Wilcox, Steven Wright.
"A giddy miasma of sound something like a carousel disappearing down a whirlpool... spasms of distortion, staccato jolts, drum roll gear changes, indiscreet effects, febrile echoey emanations from the acid-rock crypt, swathes of sustained feedback that appear and disappear without good reason, blissed-out moans and catched breath." - Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker
"Musically, it's eccentric, loud, irreverent and to the point, too sharp and angular for period psychedelia, too bizarre and disrespectful to fit in anywhere else. There are a few nice tunes, but the group thoughtfully never allow them to dominate the general mayhem. Musicianship is not as bad as some would have you believe. They sound as if they can actually play but would rather enjoy themselves, which is no mean feat." - Richard Mason, Perfect Sound Forever
"Ignore every other punkadelic Sixties band till you've heard this." - Paul Oldfield, Melody Maker
The current John's Children line-up of original lead singer Andy Ellison with Mikko Kapanen on guitar, Kassu Kapanen on bass and Ville Särmä on drums revive the Ellison/Bolan nugget "Cornflake Zoo", originally tucked away on the B-side of one of Ellison's 1968 solo singles. Restored to its full psychedelic glory, consider "Cornflake Zoo 2013" a taster and mission statement for a new JC album...
"Cornflake Zoo 2013" is released on April 20th as a 7" vinyl single with The Hypnotic Eye covering the John's Children classic "Smashed Blocked" on the flip. Limited to 300 copies, the split 45 is brought out by Downtown Sound for Record Store Day 2013 and is distributed by Cargo Records (Germany).
Andy Ellison: lead vocals Mikko Kapanen: guitars, backing vocal Ville Särmä: drums, percussion Kassu Kapanen: bass
Instrumental session engineered by Janne Lastumäki at Kerttusaurus Rex Studios, Helsinki. Vocal session engineered by Ben Rhodes at Metropolis Studios, London. Mixed by Ben Baptie at Electric Lady, New York. Sleeve illustration by Marty Street.
Stories and myths abound around the cult '60s pop-art mod/psychedelic band John's Children, known for their infamously wild stage act, a string of chaotic but catchy records (most of them banned, cancelled or deleted) and having once boasted a young Marc Bolan on guitar. Original lead singer Andy Ellison and drummer Chris Townson reformed the band in the '90s (with Morrissey's guitarist Boz Boorer replacing Bolan), appearing sporadically and eventually releasing a new album in 2011. After Townson's untimely passing four years ago Ellison has toured with johnschildren.co.uk webmaster Mikko Kapanen on guitar, Ville Särmä on drums and Kassu Kapanen on bass. Now this line-up will be joined by Boz Boorer for a five man, double guitar attack.
"The current line-up is a Finnish garage band led by original John's Children [vocalist] and one time Radio Star Andy Ellison. They've captured the sound of 'Circles'-era Who, when mod groups threw off the shackles of their pale imitations of soul and embraced technicolour psych pop, cramming it into four minutes with speed-fuelled urgency." (Claudia Elliott, Classic Rock magazine)
23 August 2012
The Groove Lounge, "the world's first weekly Marc Bolan & T.Rex dedicated radio show" on Cable Radio Milton Keynes, recently aired a two hour show featuring special guest Andy Ellison. The show can be downloaded here.
Eyeplug Magazine has published an excellent, brand new, comprehensive interview with Andy conducted by Michelle Coomber. What's more, the John's Children website has been given permission to republish this fantastic piece, right here. Big thanks to Michelle Coomber and Eyeplug.
17 May 2012
Dave Thompson's long out-of-print John's Children book has been updated and reissued digitally for Amazon Kindle.
Apologies for the lack of updates on the website. Please do join us at the John's Children Facebook page for more frequent postings of things that don't necessarily merit a website update.
7 July 2011
The John's Children gig at Barfly Camden on July 28th is part of London 60s Week. Unlike previously reported on this website guitarist Boz Boorer will not make this gig due to other engagements, so the line-up consists of original lead singer Andy Ellison with johnschildren.co.uk webmaster Mikko Kapanen on guitar, Ville Särmä on drums and Kassu Kapanen on bass. Ellison toured with this line-up in Finland last year. Here's a video clip of the song "Train In My Head" from the Black & White album performed in Helsinki.
22 June 2011
Don't even think about how many years this album was in the making, let alone how many since the last actual studio album was originally released (not to mention recorded) - the numbers will only make you dizzy. Anyway if you've been pinching yourself reading news about it, here is indisputable proof that yes, finally there really actually is a new John's Children album out. Go get yours now if you haven't! Here's also a couple more reviews, one from Record Collector magazine ("...the mighty Townson's Moon-challenging eruptions...") and the other from Mod Speed blog ("...harks back to the 60's line-up at their peak...").
Andy Ellison will be appearing with bassist and cult DJ Andy Lewis' band on Thursday 26th of May at the Buffalo Bar Islington, London, singing "Heather Lane" and "Top Of The Tower" plus two John's Children songs. The two Andy Lewis songs are from his solo albums Billion Pound Project and You Should Be Hearing Something Now respectively and featured Andy Ellison on lead vocals.
9 April 2011
The long-awaited studio album BLACK & WHITE by The Legendary JOHN'S CHILDREN finally sees the light of day through Acid Jazz records on June 6th 2011. The 12 track album features original members lead singer Andy Ellison and the late drummer Chris Townson with Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer (with John's Children since 1992) and Radio Stars bassist Martin Gordon.
To celebrate the album's long due release Andy Ellison will take to the stage at Barfly Camden on July 28th to perform John's Children songs old and new, backed by the band from his Finnish mini tour of 2010: johnschildren.co.uk webmaster Mikko Kapanen (guitarist with Madame De C***), Ville Särmä (drummer with Them Bird Things) and Kassu Kapanen (bassist with Kap Kap).
"The stories and myths abound around the legendary, cult, pop-art/mod, '60s band John's Children, who return for a one off London gig. Known for their wild stage act and some say the forerunners and godfathers of punk. They caused riots and upstaged The Who on a tour of Germany and were promptly deported. Their first album Orgasm was banned and to top it all, they once boasted Marc Bolan on guitar. Their singles are now some of the most collectable world wide. With Morrissey's guitar man Boz Boorer they reformed in the mid '90s. Since then they have appeared sporadically and now have a new album Black & White out on Acid Jazz (June the 6th). After the untimely death of their legendary drummer Chris Townson, three years ago, Andy Ellison has toured with the Finnish JC, Mikko, Kassu and Ville... Lock up your mothers and wear suitable clothing?"
Re: previous update... we (Andy and the band) are still alive and well, apologies for not updating sooner. We'll have a full report of the Finnish dates at some point but for now here's some photos and a clip of "But She's Mine":
1 May 2010
ANDY ELLISON & band plays JOHN'S CHILDREN
Bar Loose, Helsinki, Fri June 4, 2010 Bar Kuka, Turku, Sat June 5, 2010
In the annals of rock'n'roll history John's Children - undeniably one of the most legendary cult bands of the 1960s - are mostly remembered for having been Marc Bolan's first band before T. Rex. Aficionados of that era's mod, psychedelic and "freakbeat" sounds will however also know them for a handful of bona fide classic songs of the genre ("Midsummer Night's Scene", "Desdemona", "Come And Play With Me In The Garden", "Smashed Blocked") and their explosive live show that got them thrown off a tour supporting The Who in 1967.
After the first few years of having been together the band members all drifted apart (vocalist Andy Ellison for example eventually forming new wave band Radio Stars who went on to have some chart success). John's Children made a return in the '90s with two original members, Ellison and drummer Chris Townson. Bolan's place was filled by Morrissey's guitarist Boz Boorer with Martin Gordon from Radio Stars filling in on bass. Following Townson's untimely passing in 2008 the band hasn't performed.
Since then Ellison has appeared sporadically accompanying himself on acoustic guitar or appearing as a special guest with other bands. He has never played any of the Nordic countries. In June 2010 this will change when Ellison will be appearing at Bar Loose in Helsinki, Finland, and Bar Kuka in Turku, Finland, performing John's Children material.
Andy Ellison: "This is the first time I have played any Scandinavian country. John's Children, Jet and Radio Stars played all over southern Europe and John's Children finally got to the USA a few years back. So now I am looking forward to coming over to Finland and to playing in the snow, eating reindeer, meeting a Moomin, and hanging out with Tarja and Matti. Lock up your mothers, I'm on the way."
A special feature of these gigs is also the backing band which is made up of local musicians. Accompanying Andy Ellison will be guitarist Mikko Kapanen (Madame De C***, ex-Flannelmouth) who has been running the John's Children website since 1999, drummer Ville Särmä (Them Bird Things, Kevin) and bass player Kassu Kapanen (Kap Kap, Koivuniemen Herrat). The three of them have previously played together in a Who tribute band so the authentic sound and spirit of John's Children is guaranteed.
In addition to the actual two gigs Ellison will also be appearing solo at Fatty Sounds record store, where he will be performing a few acoustic numbers and doing a signing session on Friday, June 4th at 5 p.m.
Well they say 'There is a first time for everything', and on Friday September 18th I witnessed Andy Ellison in one place for just over 35 minutes. It seemed strange seeing him walk on stage with his Union-Jack acoustic guitar, but this was the 'mild side' of Andy Ellison. The 'wild side' was still to come from the 'Godfather of Punk' !! It was good to see Andy in all white and wearing his Ramones t-shirt too !! I had gone down to London for the gig from Yorkshire as I wanted to lend him my support, which is now in its 32nd year (Yes, I am old too !!). I was also doing the merchandise for Andy and T-Rextasy.
There was a great John's Children family gathering as Andy's daughters Jo-Jo and Tanzi came to support their Dad, along with his girlfriend Sharon. Sammi Townson, the eldest daughter of the late 'great' Chris Townson was also there too. Some of my friends also came along, Phil Madden, Kevin Hook and Julie Skattabu from Norway. Yes Julie came all the way from Norway to see Andy perform, and she was proudly wearing her Radio Stars website (www.radio-stars.com) badge !! She is still buzzing from the gig !!
Andy walked on stage to a big cheer and sat on his stool as "It Must Be Love" by Labi Siffre was pounding out of the PA. You would have expected the person in charge of things to have faded the song out so Andy could start his set, but he didn't !! Andy said prior to starting things off with "Mustang Ford", "That was the most exciting intro' of all time !!" Andy thanked everyone for coming and the song got a rousing reception from the crowd. This was followed immediately by one of my favourite John's Children songs "But She's Mine". Towards the end of the song Andy flicked his plectrum into the audience, then proceeded to do his 'Joe Satriani impersonation'. He put a 'stop' at the end of it and this totally caught the audience out as they started applauding thinking it was the end of the song, but it wasn't as Andy came back in !!
"Hippy Gumbo" was next, and Andy introduced it by saying that John's Children used to rehearse the song with Marc in their club in Leatherhead and they had bought it as they had had some success in America with their debut release. Part way through talking Andy told the audience to 'Shush' as they were talking quite loudly, and rightly so and this got a big cheer !!
Andy's debut 1967 solo single "It's been A Long Time" followed, and Andy introduced it by saying that after John's Children had out who'd The Who during a gig in Germany and got thrown off the tour, when they on the boat home from Calais, Marc was very drunk and entertained the passengers by standing on a table reciting poetry !! Plus when they got back home they found out that their equipment had been confiscated in Germany. A few months later the band split up. Andy then found himself in the studio recording "It's Been A Long Time" and the songs ended up in the film "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush". The chorus sounded really good with it's choppy sound and every time I hear it, it always reminds me of the 'German Goosestep' for some reason !!
My all time favourite Andy Ellison song was next, "Cluster Bombs". This really is a killer song and is from Andy's "Fourplay" EP that he released in 2008. Andy did a short version compared to the one on his EP. It didn't surprise at all when the song went down very well. John's Children performed the song live during May 2007. Andy then came up with a very interesting surprise, "Smashed Blocked". This was the debut release by John's Children back in 1966 and Andy did a good version of it. Prior to the song Andy told the crowd "Simon Napier Bell went to America to record it with session musicians, and on the plane back he came up with the name psychedelia for it. So this song became the first ever psychedelic song." The only other occasion it had an outing was when John's Children played in London during February 1998.
Another song from the pen of Marc Bolan was "The Perfumed Garden Of Gulliver Smith" and this virtually went straight into "Train In My Head". This song was another one of Andy's, and actually started life back in the early 80's. It has even had the John's Children treatment along the way !! The song went down very well and appears on Andy's solo album from 2006 "Cornflake Zoo". "Sara Crazy Child" was next and this was followed by another surprise, a version of The Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby". The 90's version of John's Children used to perform this, although originally the idea and arrangement came from when Andy was in Radio Stars during the early 90's. The song ended with Andy doing another 'Joe Satriani impersonation' !! He was attacking his guitar in quite manic fashion !!
Andy's voice sounded good throughout and it was nice to hear that he had slightly rearranged the melodies a little on various songs, as well as the arrangements. Andy finished his set off with "Anyway Goodbye" and this song appears on his 2006 solo album "Cornflake Zoo" and his "Fourplay" EP.
Andy performed a good selection of John's Children songs with his own songs, and to say this was the very first time he had performed an acoustic set, he did brilliantly. Andy has a great attitude when it comes to performing on stage and the crowd know that and they showed it when they gave him a wonderful reception.
T-Rextasy put on a great performance performing every T-Rex hit and more. It was a very enjoyable set by Danielz and the boys and they are by far the best T-Rex tribute band around. During the sound-check I had the pleasure of meeting Danielz and his wife Caron, along with bassist Paul Marks.
Danielz introduced Andy back on stage for the encores. His Ramones t-shirt had gone and he had a Union-Jack flag wrapped around his waist. The first thing he did was throw water into the crowd from his bottle !! The first of three encores was Radio Stars' "No Russians In Russia". Sammi and myself weaved our way through the crowd and headed right to the front. I really got into the song and was singing every word because the song sounded big and full and really punky. Plus it had lots of attitude with the 'twin guitar attack'. The song was also faster than usual, and it sounded brilliant. I kept bumping into people as I was punching the air and playing my air guitar (not at the same time !!) due to the sheer excitement and enjoyment as Andy was really working the crowd into a frenzy, well he did me anyway !! The spirit of '77 had really got hold of me and I was unstoppable !! Andy was bouncing around on stage like he was 20 years old, and obviously enjoying every minute of it. First he was on the drum riser, then on his knees and then strutting all over the stage. Amazing stuff !! There might not be any Russians in Russia, but there was certainly plenty of energy inside Andy Ellison !! The reason Andy & T-Rextasy did this song was because Radio Stars performed it on Marc Bolan's TV Show 'Marc' during September 1977.
"Desdemona" followed and Andy moved up to another gear in the entertainment category. Again he was bouncing all over the stage, but at the start of the second verse he invaded the crowd and bisected them straight down the middle as he headed towards the bar. I followed him to make sure his microphone lead didn't get caught up around anyone !! As he retuned to the stage to finish the song off he got individuals to sing along. Andy went off to a great reception, but Danielz brought him back for the final encore, "Hot Love". Andy proceeded to waft everyone with his towel as he came back, and then he drenched a few more of the crowd with water !! Andy sang along and got the crowd to join in.
A very enjoyable evening was had by all and I bet T-Rextasy enjoyed playing "No Russians In Russia" and "Desdemona" as it was something different for them. Hopefully Andy will perform more acoustic shows in the not too distant future, but what I would love him to do is assemble a band featuring two guitarists and go out and perform under his own name. Keep going my friend, there is still plenty of energy left in your tank !! Umbrellas and raincoats will be made available next time !!
22 September 2009
Andy Ellison played a solo electric/acoustic set supporting T. Rextasy on Friday the 18th. Andy did encores with T. Rextasy of Radio Stars' "No Russians In Russia" and John's Children's "Desdemona".
Andy Ellison will be appearing solo (supporting T. Rextasy) at The Marc Bolan Commemorative Anniversary Concert on Friday, September 18th at The Standard Music Venue (Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, London, E17 6DS). Andy shall be playing John's Children songs and some of his new material. Tickets £10 (www.standardmusicvenue.co.uk).
9 December 2008
The text for the history section of the website is being rewritten by Andy Ellison himself. So far we have Andy's take on the story up to the band getting signed by Simon Napier-Bell. The rest will be uploaded later on.
6 December 2008
Radio Stars play the Forum, Kentish Town London, next Saturday the 13th, and then the following night in Southampton at Talking Heads.
5 December 2008
It's been long overdue but the website has finally been moved to a new host (no ads) and as you can see, everything has been redesigned (big thanks to Mr. Tuomas Vanamo for the visual design). A new discussion forum will open soon, everything else is operational already. Hopefully you'll like the new website. More updates soon.