24th Oct, 2021

Music Matters - John Garrison and 'recognise the 2-Tone legends during Coventry's City of Culture year'

Coventry Editorial 6th Nov, 2020

COVENTRY Music Museum curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.

ANYONE who knows their local music will be familiar with the name John Garrison, once a part of the local band Budapest, his bass playing skills have given him something of a stellar career.

His first solo release entitled ‘Above The Cosmos’ named after the famous Cosmos Diner that Garrison lived above in New York City, won critical acclaim with the track ‘Never Far From Me’ which established a new audience in Europe after the first lady of France Carla Bruni featured it repeatedly on her radio show. Songs from the follow-up Departures were regularly featured on US TV shows with over 30 major syncs.

John has become a much-in-demand studio bass guitarist for some of the biggest acts in the world, having played on tracks by Ed Sheeran, Christine Aguilera, Sting and Robbie Williams, who he also co-wrote the recent number one ‘Fairytales’ featuring Sir Rod Stewart.

The new album ‘Extinguisher’ will be released in Winter 2020. The single from the album ‘Blissfully Ignorant’ is a real tour de force, building oh so slowly, then the doors swing open and you are surrounded by a searing musical soundscape that really takes the breath away, just wow!

The accompanying video is pretty powerful too. So it’s fair to assume that the new album will be of a similar level of musical finesse.

John said of the album: “Extinguisher came from a feeling that situations are out of control.

“Multiple wildfires springing up everywhere. There are too many fires to tackle as an individual.

“But if we all took personal responsibility, we could potentially extinguish the overall fire that burns.

“However, it is much easier to blame than to take responsibility. Extinguisher is a record for these times.”

Something Special

As we approach Coventry City of Culture, it’s worth remembering just what those 14 people did that we know as the 2-Tone bands The Specials and The Selecter.

Between them, they put Coventry on the music map, but much more importantly they added to the fabric of Coventry’s history, they changed this city and the world of music.

2-Tone music has become a global genre, and we must never underestimate what these 14 individuals actually did.

2-Tone Music has become one of the four major identifiers of our city alongside Godiva, the automotive industry and the Blitz.

So next year wouldn’t it be perfect to award them with something extraordinary, not one or two of them, but ALL of them to thank them for creating a heartbeat that began in our city and has reverberated all over the planet, a multicultural sound that will last forever.

As I write I have just discovered that The Specials are number one in the official top 40 vinyl charts with ‘Gangsters’, ahead of artists such Eminem, Keith Richards and Billy Eilish – further proof if it was needed that 2-Tone is still very much relevant.


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