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John Otway - Interview

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 23 / 2 / 2020

John Otway - Interview


John Otway talks to Nick Dent-Robinson about fifty years of his comic rock and making a success out of failure.

Many see John Otway as an iconic figure. He may come across as a loveable, comic-rocker, buffoon. But he is fiercely intelligent and a consummate professional who has been dispensing slightly silly rock'n'roll to the masses for over 50 years – and making a good living from it! Originally from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, John Otway recently played Oxford's Bullingdon venue as part of his current tour, celebrating his half century in live music. “For me, playing Oxford is always something of a homecoming,” John Otway explained. “Because in my earliest days I played regular gigs in the former Oranges and Lemons pub in Oxford and I still usually play each May Day Morning at the Bear in the heart of the city." “It began for me in the midst of the punk revolution and my single 'Cor Baby That's Really Free' broke into the Top 40. To be honest, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me ever since. I believe in making your own luck and, somehow, I've been able to survive over the years as a moderate success, having promoted myself hard as 'rock'n'roll's greatest failure'!" “My fans were the first to do fan-funding of not just records but also a feature film which premiered at the Leicester Square Odeon in London and also featured at the Cannes film festival. They also helped me have another big hit when 'Bunsen Burner' reached number nine in 2002! I am so proud of them! That was their 50th birthday present for me...a second hit record! Then there was my 2017 album, 'Montserrat', which was recorded on the Caribbean island...another success!" “I am actually very proud of my hits – especially the first one. After that I felt entitled to call myself a rock star.” John Otway laughs heartily at this! He continues:- “Before that I was just another struggling artist, wasn't I? You know I have a lot of really talented friends who've never had a hit – ever. I am far less surprised that I had a few hits than I am that these far more clever and deserving guys never had a hit at all! Of course I always expected every one of my records to be a hit - Which means I've been surprised 38 times, so far!” The Oxford show with John Otway and his Big Band was another sell-out, of course. Chaotic fun from start to finish – a great show!

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John Otway - Interview

John Otway - Interview

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