|(photo: Richard Young Rex )|
"Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he's right up there. And there are a lot of people who'll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It's some legacy." - Paul Weller
The original Dr Feelgood guitarist known for his incredible distinctive chopping guitar style. Wilko had gone on to find further success with Ian Dury & The Blockheads and after teaming up with Roger Daltrey on 2014’s Going Back Home. An album of the year it featured reworkings of songs from Wilko’s Dr Feelgood days such as ‘All Through The City’ and ‘Going Back Home’.
In Sept 2017, Wilko celebrated his 70th birthday by playing a sold-out show at the world famous Albert Hall in London.
‘I’m supposed to be dead!’ - In 2012 Wilko was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Despite the doctors’ worst predictions, he continued to perform. In 2013, Wilko announced that thanks to a second opinion and subsequent life-saving surgery, he was cancer-free.
Recently Wilko & I braved telephone technical traumas* to have a chat about his forthcoming new album Blow Your Mind (out June 15th) and his May tour (with Hugh Cornwell and a host of others as special guests ) (*Ok, suffice to say HE braved it, I got rather flustered and ended up nervous, as there is nothing worse when trying to do an interview by phone, and there are problems with said phone! Upside to that was I got an impromptu lesson in breathing exercises, so can add that next to getting my rain-soaked hair towel dried by James Brown & his bodyguards at Glastonbury, filed under Weirdly Wonderful Interview Moments ;-) )
This interview aired on Radio Deeside May 7th 2018 and variations of it will be airing on a couple of other radio stations, a full transcript is forthcoming but for now, enjoy a taster below :
MM: You're about to embark on a tour in May, this tour is obviously to promote your new album: Blow Your Mind, are you looking forward to the tour?
WJ: I just really like playing you know. I'm just really glad to be out doing gigs. We've just done a tour of Finland, we were putting in the new songs from the new album and going very good, yeah that's what it's about for me. Finland, now there's a place, I like it there, very very mysterious.
MM: This album (Blow Your Mind) is the first one in thirty years?
WJ: (starts laughing) You see that's what they're saying after roughly asking me how many records, I mean I haven't made many records right, and I think I forgot 2 or 3, (laughs) so they worked out it's been 30 years but maybe it just feels that way!
'We did it in November, in 2 weeks, using more or less the same kind of set up that we used for the Roger Daltrey album, and yeah we just bashed it out in 2 weeks, it takes so long for them to actually make it into a record,but I;m very very pleased with it'' - Wilko Johnson on 'Blow Your Mind'
MM: You mention the Roger Daltrey record, that was 'Going Back Home', that was 2014, what was that like to work on?
WJ: That whole album is really strange to me you know, because I was expecting to die of cancer, they told me I had 10 months, I think it was in the 11th month, Roger got in touch with me and said 'let's do this album' so we just went and did it. I never even thought I would see it released, then, in fact, it was enormously successful, most of which I missed because by then I'd had my operation and I was lying in hospital in a stupour, so I kind of missed it all so that whole album is kind of strange, good though!
WJ: I remember arriving at Heathrow airport from somewhere or other and we were just driving out of the airport and there was these huge hoardings for the new HBO series, and there was one for Game Of Thrones: a big picture of Sean Bean's face , and then looming in the background is my glorious self (laughs) - Wilko Johnson on Game Of Thrones
Wilko Johnson Links:
Website http://wilkojohnson.com Twitter @WilkoJohnson Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WilkoJohnsonBand
HUGH CORNWELL & BAND
Hugh Cornwell is one of the UK's finest songwriting talents and accomplished live performers. As the original guitarist, singer and main songwriter in the British rock band The Stranglers, he's enjoyed massive success with 10 hit albums and 21 Top Forty singles, etching himself into Europe and the USA's musical psyche with classic songs, including Peaches, No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Nice N’ Sleazy, Always the Sun and Duchess.
This electric band performance will feature songs spanning his career from early Stranglers to the current day.
MIKE SWEENEY & THE SALFORD JETS
Classic old skool post punk rock whose single 'Who You Looking At' was global hit across the whole of Manchester in the 1980s as well as breaking the band in the national charts. The band reformed in 2003, still fronted by the mighty Mike Sweeney - vocals, guitar and former Piccadilly Radio DJ (now broadcasting on BBC Radio Manchester), and Diccon Hubbard on bass and vocals.
Having supported and backed some of the best rock stars in the industry including Robert Plant, The Faces, Mark Knopfler and Paul Weller, Mollie is set to take the industry by storm with her debut album Truth Is A Wolf later this year.
Tickets available from:
MANCHESTER – Academy 1
Box Office No – 0161 832 1111
Website - https://www.manchesteracademy.
net/order/tickets/13331624/ wilko-johnson-and-special- guests-hugh-cornwell-and-band- manchester-academy-2018-05-12- 16-30-00
Doors – / On-Stage from
Tickets - £25.00 advanc