Thanks to Cat Ellis for providing me with this interview. It originally appeared in the now defunct fanzine, "Bluetonic"


Witness are without a doubt one of the best new bands out of the bunch of ‘new acts for 99’.  The songs, the lyrics, the fellas are all just great and the band have become one of my favourites, and 1999 is going to be full of them so don’t miss out on becoming one of their HUGE fanbase. 

Months before their second single ‘Scars’ was released I had been given an advanced promo copy and the chance of an interview, which is to follow.  I decided to interview lead singer and songwriter Gerard, and when I phoned him up I found out a few interesting facts and he ended up asking me more questions!

Date: 19th February 1999

Are you planning on playing any festivals this summer?

Yeah we should be although we probably wont get told till a week before so I don’t know which ones

How did the NME tour supporting Mansun go?

It was probably the worst gig we’ve ever done, it’s probably the worse gig anybody’s ever done actually.  We started playing at about 6.45pm which was a bit of a shock and it was just a very, very bad day

You’ve got a support tour coming up soon…

Yeah we’re supporting Deus, 17th March it starts I think, we’re looking forward to that as we all do like Deus quite a lot

The closest dates to me are Leeds or Wolverhampton which are both over two hours away

I don’t even know where the dates are to be honest, no ones said, we’re probably find out a week before we do them, we never get told anything like that

You’re joking?! Even I know where you’re playing

Do you know what dates they’re on?

Um, I dunno I’ve got them on the press release

You don’t know if there’s one on 23rd March do you?


It’s just that’s my girlfriends birthday so she wants me to do something with her but I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I haven’t been able to prise anything off of anyone yet

That’s terrible!

Are you recording at the moment?

Yeah we’re working on the album

Do you know when the album is going to be out?

It’s supposed to be out in May unless nothing disastrous happens, but it all seems to be going fairly well

What are the tracks like? Are they like the songs from the Scars single? Or?

Well, they all sound pretty varied to be honest, there’s all sorts of things coming on actually… because we’re in the middle of it now it’s a bit difficult to declare what’s it all about.  We’re working long days and when you get to go to bed you’re not really knowing what it is you sound like anymore

Who are your own personal influences?

Um, I dunno honestly, it’s all kind of things, it’s hard to pin point just a few bands who have any specific influence like that.  You’re influenced by everything you hear whether it’s good or not.

What do you think of ‘Scars’?

I like it a lot, it’s a great song, I like ‘Long First Chapter’ as well

Yeah a lot of people have said that.  Have you heard ‘Quarantine’ as well?


A lot of people were quite surprised when they heard ‘Scars’, flabbergasted almost

Quarantine’s selling for £10-15 now

Is it? (sounding shocked)

Yeah, in mail order companies like the ones in the back of NME, they’ve got it in there for £12/13

If I had been given any copies I could have flogged them and earned a few quid!

Whereabout’s in Wales are you recording then?

We’re in South Wales, near Monmouth at Rockfield Studios

Really? The Charlatans recorded a lot of their past albums at Monmouth

Yeah they did, I heard that Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded here

(Running out of questions Gerard carries on talking)

… we haven’t really done a lot and ‘Scars’ isn’t out till a couple of weeks

Yeah but it’s been played a few times on Steve Lamacq’s show

Has it? I know it had been played once

Oh, well he’s played it a few times now, on last night’s show he played it again, it’s normally on near the end of the show

Oh well that’s good to know, no one ever tells us these things at all

That’s really terrible that you don’t get told anything!

We’re going to do an acoustic set on Monday for MTV and it was the lad who designs the record sleeves that told me about that, they don’t tell us anything until something like a week before

Where you in any other bands before Witness?

Loads of crappy little bands yeah but they were never any good, never any good at all, me and Ray the guitarist have been in a couple of bands together and we just got sick of being in crappy bands so we just wrote songs for a while until we felt we were pretty good and then put this band together

When was it that you signed to Island records?

It was over a year ago now, the Christmas before last.  We put ‘Quarantine’ out on Valiant  records just to get the ball rolling.  When we finally got signed to Island we didn’t even have a full line up

Um, have you been interviewed a lot yet?

This is the first one I’ve done today, there’s been a few coming in over the last few days

We’ve only really done a handful of interviews so it’s all still pretty strange

You’re in all the music press about the bands to make it in 99 as well…

Yeah that’s’ a pretty strange feeling as well

What stuff do you write about then?

Urm.. er… (We talk about Bluetonic and my Charlatans ‘zine Isolation) (I thought I was supposed to be asking the questions!)

I was in a band that supported The Charlatans once around when they released Indian Rope. It was at the Manchester Boardwalk and then Bolton


Yeah, they’re nice blokes.  They’ve done a lot of recording down here haven’t they?

Yeah they did a lot of their albums there although they’re in Cheshire now recording the new one

It’s a really nice place here though

Yeah I’ve seen photos of it I was going to visit for some reason

For a nose

Yeah something like that but I don’t know if they are going to record there again as they’ve now built their own private studio

I suppose there’s a few bad memories here for them

Yeah, it was just round the corner from there…

(Return talking about Deus tour…)

We’re gonna have the chance to do a lot more gigs, we’ve only done a handful so far, we did a few with Gene a couple of months back, and then we did 5 dates with this American band and that’s all we’ve done, not many at all, and then we’re going to do this Deus tour, I think it starts a week after we finish recording which means we’ve got to learn how to play the songs like they sound on the album in 5 days, so it’s going to be a bit of a struggle

Do you prefer recording etc than playing live?

We feel a lot more comfier recording at the moment cause of the so few gigs we’ve done, it’s a lot easier to get your ideas down when you’re in a studio but gigs you’ve got to get it right then and we don’t always get it right like that NME gig

I can’t remember if they showed you on the TV

No they didn’t, thank God!  It was just a bad gig, I suppose going on so early and that, it was a funny line up as well, the other bands didn’t seem to have anything in common with us at all

Yeah a lot of people have remarked on how the various line ups were so varied.

(We end up talking about Delakota)

Yeah Delakota are a good band, I met one of them in Stockport when we were doing some b-sides at a studio, not the lead singer the other one


Yeah he knew the guy who owned the studio or something and he was alright


Conversation draws to an end. Cheers Gerard!


Cat Ellis