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.

John Watsons Photo Gallery (to come)
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