John Evans is the very archetype rock'n'roll survivor whose music speaks of the life he has led. It has not been a bed of roses!
A loner noted for his black self-deprecating humour, he takes on a new persona when he is on stage leading the band through a piece of electric blues-laced rock.
"It's the only thing I've ever wanted to do," he says.
The London-based singer-songwriter and rockband leader draws on all the main popular Anglo-American musical styles: pop, country, blues, soul, and above all rock.
John amply demonstrates that with his second album, a quality production of original material entitled ‘Survivor’, which pushes his distinctive voice to the full and stretches his songwriting ability.
The title of the album is significant (as indeed was that of his first album of 2005, called ‘In the Wild Years’).
For John is a survivor: of false dawns and faded hopes, but also the drink and drugs of his excessive “wild years” as a busker on the streets of London, Paris and Amsterdam.
“Most of the people I hung around with in those days are dead now, including my best friend. If I hadn’t stopped drinking I’m sure I would be too by now,” he says.
Born in Dartford southeast of London (‘Same hospital as Mick Jagger’, he quips), John Nigel Evans has been playing guitar and singing since his early teens. By 16 he had his first Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry covers band.
During the 70s and 80s, he bummed and strummed his way around Europe, spending seven years in his much-loved city of Paris, before returning to London to work a carpenter.
John finally found himself on Skid Row, homeless, before deciding in 1994 to quit the bottle and devote himself seriously to music.
He fronted a trio called The Business, later renamed Fat City, which met the challenge of entertaining rough, tough and boozy pub audiences with full-on blues-rock on two German tours in the late 1990s.
As a one-man-show, he even opened for Nina Simone at London'a prestigious Royal Albert Hall in 1998 with an acoustic set, and the London media carried silly ‘busker-hits-the-bigtime’ and ‘rags-to-riches’ stories about him.
After that brief blaze of glory, John moved to the United States, studying music and working as a waiter in California.
Returning to London in 2003, he asked an old Paris friend, Michael Anders, now his manager, to organize another German tour. They soon realised they needed an album for that. Anyway John had already begun writing original material.
The result was in “In the Wild Years”, and two tours of German clubs and pubs in 2005 and 2006 followed, this time with a five-piece band.
With a bunch of new songs, several of them already road-tested on the 2006 tour, John began recording a new album in 2007 with his musical mentor Mick Doherty as producer/engineer and star guitarist.
‘Survivor’, recorded and mixed in John and Mick’s own Maida Vale Studio, is a well-crafted and balanced blend of original rock, pop, blues and country, and even has a trace of punk...
John’s musical influences include The Rolling Stones, Free and Bad Company, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart and Paul Weller, but the voice and style of this survivor of the streets are his own.
(Notes by Michael Anders, manager for John Evans and The J. Evans Band)
John Evans, lead vocal, guitar, composer of the band's original songs.
Mick Doherty, vocals, star guitarist and arranger/producer.
Martin "Fuzz" Deniz - bass guitar
James Compton, piano and organ
Damien Grant, drums
New album "Survivor" released in UK and Ireland November 2008 on own indie label Evans Records. Some airplay, physical and digital sales in 2009. Eleven original songs in range of styles from brutal hard rock to pretty acoustic pop. Very good critical reviews, very encouraging. Distribution through NOVA/Universal Music in UK and Ireland. Distribution in Benelux and Germany on demand. Previous album "In the Wild Years" released only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as CD but worldwide Internet and concert sales and digital downloads.
Are You Ready?
City of Lights (All of My Life)
No Smoke Without Fire
Take Care of Your Business
Famous for Being Famous
Welcome to the World
(I'm a) Survivor
Love Just Dies
Long Time Gone
Reviews of album 'Survivor'
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"Tracks like Are You Ready? and City of Lights show his real strength: hard-edged boogie blues that ..."Tracks like Are You Ready? and City of Lights show his real strength: hard-edged boogie blues that gets men drinking and nodding, offset by stunning Springsteen-esque ballads like No Smoke Without Fire and Shadowlands" - Henry Yates, Classic Rock magazine.
“The untamed spirit of Free and Bad Company runs through ‘Survivor’ like a raging river… ‘Survivor’ is no-fuss, no-frills, white-hot blues-rock. The songs that grace it come straight from the guts of a musician who has lived the life.” – Berwick upon Tweed Advertiser
"Gutsy rockin’ blues-rock. It betrays a slight influence from late sixties UK blues-rockers Free in the guitar and drum sound – not a bad thing in my book. Not a bad set at all.” - Norman Darwen, Blues Art Studio and Journal website
“John’s rasping vocals cut through the fine driving background throughout and the songs are strong and all self-penned... Overall this is a very competent outing and it will be interesting to keep an eye out for this band out on the road… Investigate this album” – Graeme Scott, Blues Matters magazine and website /Leith FM/Classic VRN
“The album as a whole is a hard-rocking blues affair, although he takes a couple of acoustic diversions, as befits someone who seems to have done his share of busking… As a man who seems to have spent a large part of his life living very close to the edge, he has the experience and stories to turn into great blues songs… There are a handful of very good songs on offer here.” – Zeitgeist online music reviews.
Band has rehearsed a set list to showcase the new album. Will begin with the album opener, the riff-heavy "Are You Ready?" and close with the anthemic stadium belter "Long Time Gone" which climaxes with an extended solo from Mick Doherty (think Guns 'n' Roses). Most of the songs from "Survivor" and "In the Wild Years" will be in the set, which will also comprise a few selected covers. These will likely include the blues-rock standard "One Way Out" in which the guitarists trade licks in the solo spot in Allman Brothers style, some Johnny Winter-inspired blues-rock pieces and some covers from The Doors such as "L. A. Woman". Expect also "Back-Door Man" à la Doors. Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan songs may also make an appearance.
Typically, John usually likes to do one or two soul numbers originally by The Temptations, such as "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" which was covered on the "Wild Years" album, and a storming version of "I'm Losing You" which just missed the new album. According to circumstances (and if we are very fortunate! ) he may also do a completely acoustic number alone, such as Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat", which is about as classy as it gets!
Set list comprises some 25-30 songs performed and last two hours +, not counting a break of about 20 minutes in the middle. But such details can also be adapted according to the kind of venue, audience etc.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.