John Watson - drums
John was born in one of the
bedrooms of his family home in a city in Northern England.
Outside the door of this room was a storage area where his
fathers drums were kept so it was perhaps natural he should adopt this
instrument. John started
playing when he was about eight years old and his ‘drum set’ was an old
tea chest, the bottom half of a banjo and a very cheap cymbal.
He must have shown some promise because he eventually persuaded
his Father to let him use his drums.
John joined the band at senior school and shortly after did his
first paid ‘gig’ at the age of 11 playing for a pantomime.
After leaving school he played with various groups playing
material by the then chart topping bands and singers.
These were artists like Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Elvis
Presley and an up and coming group from Liverpool that he thought were
very good called The Beatles!
John gravitated to a small band playing the club circuit in the
North of England and stayed with them for a couple of years but became
disenchanted with the music and left to join a long established Dance
Band led by a local music shop owner.
This band had been in existence since the early 1930’s and had
changed little when he joined.
It was a great band in which to learn how to be a musician rather
than how to play an instrument and played the kind of music John liked.
He played with this band and other similar function bands for
some years and also played in clubs backing some of the big and not so
big names of the day.
A change of circumstance took
John to Bristol and here he indulged his passion for jazz by joining
various Dixieland bands and making his first musical excursions to play
in Europe. He played with
the Severn Jazzmen then the Avon Cities Band for a short while and
formed his own band to play small band swing music. John joined the
formidable but enjoyable Henry’s Bootblacks and the highly respected
Blue Note Jazz Band and recorded and broadcast with both these groups
and several others.
Some fourteen years ago John was
asked to do a date in Switzerland with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra and
began doing occasional gigs with them until taking over the drum chair
permanently in 2005. He has
travelled all over the world with this famous band and considers it a
pleasure and a privilege to have played with the talented members.
After some seven years John left the PRO but is still to be seen
with them as first call stand in for the new drummer.
John started playing dates with
The Big Chris Barber Band in 2013 and now plays all the UK gigs.