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John Lennon McCullagh - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 31 / 8 / 2013

John Lennon McCullagh - Interview


Anthony Strutt speaks to 15-year old singer-songwriter John Lennon McCullaugh, who is the first signing to ex-Creation Records boss Alan McGee's new label 359 Music, about his debut album, 'North South Divide'

John Lennon McCullaugh is the first signing to 359 Music, ex-Creation Records boss Alan McGee's first label since Poptones. John is a mere fifteen years old, and has been playing guitar since he was twelve. His debut album 'North South Divide' is the first for the label, and he has already played dates with the Strypes, Babyshambles and Richard Hawley. In in his vocal and playing style he is like a Bob Dylan for the now generation. Pennyblackmusic spoke to John about 'North South Divide' PB: Your full name is John Lennon McCullagh. Is Lennon a double-barrelled surname name or a nickname, and do you think it will help you or will not help you being Beatles related? JLM: John Lennon is my real name. I am not sure if it will once the record is out. It will be about the music, not the name. PB: You're an excellent guitarist. Did you undertake lessons or are you self-taught? JLM: Thanks, I had a couple of lessons when I first started but, yeah, I am basically self-taught. PB: Although it sounds very natural, your voice is reminiscent of Bob Dylan. Do you think that while that will help you with his audience or do you think that it will hold you back winning fans who are not into Dylan? JLM: The proof will be in the pudding. I don't think it will be only Dylan fans that are into my music, but who knows? PB: You started writing songs at twelve years old. Were they any good or were you just learning your craft? JLM: I started playing at twelve, but I only really started to write when I was fourteen. The first couple were pretty forgettable, but it is all about learning and practising. It is my job, so I do it every day. PB: Alan McGee has obviously been in the music industry for a long time. What do you first make of him when you first met him? JLM: I had seen him on TV, but he was sound, really down to earth and very funny. PB: You are now signed to 359 Music. How long is your deal? JLM: As long as they want me! Ha! PB: Are you a fan of vinyl? JLM: Yeah, I love my vinyl and I have a huge vinyl collection ranging from Deep Purple to the Last Shadow Puppets. PB: The album is stripped down, mainly voice and guitar. How long do you think it will be before you get a band behind you? JLM: It's me, my guitar and my harmonica. It has also got a few numbers with an amazing violin player from Sheffield called Anna Hambleton. I am not too sure about the band thing. We have spoken about it, and it will happen at some point. I am just not sure when... PB: How would you describe yourself? Is it as a folk artist? JLM: I think of myself more as a song and dance man. Ha! Ha! PB: 359 Music is a new venture. Does everyone know each other and look after each other there? JLM: Yeah, it is cool. I was out with Chris Grant the other night at the Liverpool Music Awards. He was great and we had a good laugh. I will meet up with Pete Macleod in London next month at a BBC session we are doing. PB: How much have you played live, and does airing these songs to the world at large excite you the most ? JLM: I've played live lots and done the rounds as you have to. I love it and, yeah, it excites me to play my music to people. It is what it is all about. PB: You're fifteen and talented. Was this the only choice as a career for you? JLM: That's correct. There was never going to be anything else. My mum calls me Frank Spencer because I can't wash a cup without breaking it, so music was always going to be mine. PB: You have seen Dylan nine times now. Has he heard your material yet? JLM: I am not sure. I would love to think he has, but that's a big ask. PB: Your debut single, which is like the album is called 'North South Divide', is limited to 359 copies, and features a live reading of 'Masters of War'. Is that a special favourite of Bob's back catalogue? JLM: The vinyl is limited to 359 copies. Yes, 'Masters of War', which is the B side, is a favourite of mine and I still play it live sometimes. I recorded it when we did the album. PB: What are your current and future plans? JLM: Currently we are just gearing up for the single/album release, so I am going to be doing lots of interviews etc. I have got some good shows coming up, one with the Strypes and one with the Enemy and one also with Reverend and the Makers in my hometown of Doncaster, so that will be cool. As regards future plans, well, there is stuff happening all the time. I'm busy writing new songs already. Alan's excitement for all this just spurs us all on. PB: Thank you.

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John Lennon McCullagh - Interview

John Lennon McCullagh - Interview

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Photoscapes (2014)
John Lennon McCullagh - Photoscapes
Bill Gray photographs sixteen year old singer-songwriter John Lennon McCullagh, who was the first signing to ex-Creation Records boss Alan McGee's new label 359 Music


North South Divide (2013)
Outstanding debut album from fifteen-year old Doncaster-based singer-songwriter John Lennon McCullagh, who draws comparisons with the young Bob Dylan and which is the first release of ex-Creation Records boss Alan McGee’s new label 359 Music

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