News Archives : 2000

 

29th December

The album is now fully completed and ready for release in Spring 2001. Track order and album title have not been finalised as of yet.

The band meanwhile are taking a well earned break over the Christmas period..which will probably be their only bit of spare time for a long while once they start promoting and touring the new album!

Gerard is currently in the Isle of Skye, in the Scottish Hebrides, Ray is visiting Hong Kong whilst Dylan is driving along the West coast of America! 

I don't know what John and Julian are up to, but if you're reading this...drop me a line!

Thanks for all your continued support over the past year, and hope to see you all again in the New Year, when the site should pick up a bit, with those (long promised) interviews with Dylan and Ray, plus all the details on the new album as it arrives.

 

 

21st November

Witness have finished the recording of their album and have returned to Bristol. They have recorded 13 tracks, which will be mixed over the next few weeks in London, with producer Al Clay.

The album should be released in March 2001, preceded by a single, which will no longer be Zero Zero, but a track from the album instead.

 

26th October

Witness are currently in Belgium recording the eagerly awaited follow up to last years Before the Calm. The release date is pencilled in for January next year. If anyone knows which studio they are recording in or has any more info on these album sessions please let me know at the usual address.

 

2nd October 

Go to the interviews section for an hot of the press, exclusive interview with Rob Partridge! Rob talks about everything from events leading up to the signing of Witness to hopes and plans for the next album and tours. We also get to see his extremely impressive c.v of bands worked with in the past! 

 

29th September

Coming early next week, an exclusive interview with Rob Partridge, one half of Witness' management team where we hear initial thoughts on the new album, plans for the future and much more.

Secondly, rumours are abound in Wigan that Witness will be playing a hometown gig to help promote the "Wigan Musicians Collective" (a group helping promote local talent). It is reported that Ray Chan was at this weeks Collective meeting, discussing plans for the gig. Whether this is true or not is anyones guess, but if it is, then remember where you heard it first!

 

10th September

The new issue of the magazine "Comes with a Smile" comes with a free CD with a rare demo track of "So Far Gone" . The magazine doesn't appear to be available in many newsagents, but it has been reported on the message board that it is available from Londons' Oxford Street branch of HMV. A Witness fan on the message board has offered to make copies of the track for anyone who can't get hold of a copy.

I have now added a buy/sell section to the site, for people to trade Witness related merchandise. A link should be added to the left hand menu soon but in the meantime, click here.

 

3rd September

Thanks to Cat Ellis for providing me with a rare early interview with Gerard Starkie, only ever seen before in the fanzine, "Bluetonic". Amongst many other things, Gerard speaks about Witness's "worst" ever gig, his pre Witness days in a band that supported early-era Charlatans, and his regrets at not acquiring more copies of the Quarantine 7inch! The interview can be found on the interviews page.

For those wondering where the official websites message board has disappeared to, it is currently down whilst they change servers. In the meantime why not use the messageboard on this site by clicking here.

Next update should be later in the week, when I will be publishing an exclusive interview with Rob Partridge, one half of Witness's management team.

 

31st August

Recording of the second album is now underway. No title or tracklisting is confirmed yet, but it is expected that the tracks "Don't Suffer Fools", "Learn It on the Way" and "Wake Down" (songs previewed at the Blackpool gig in May) will appear on the album. It may be a while before the final tracklisting is confirmed however as the band have 30-35 songs in total, so there are plenty to choose from.

One track which will definitely not appear on the album, is fans favourite "Zero Zero". In a recent webchat with hob.com in the US, Gerard referred to it as a "dumb song" that will not appear on the new album. It will however feature on an EP due for release within the next couple of months. The album is expected to be released early next year. For the lengthy and quite interesting in parts, interview with Gerard and Dylan, follow this link: 

http://www.hob.com/live/artistinterviews/000623witnessuk/

Make sure to check back for further updates over the next couple of weeks.

 

29th July

Bad news for all those who forked out £15 for the Randall and Hopkirk album just for the one Witness track; Zero Zero will now be released as a single later in the year. Further details will appear as soon as they are available.

Rollingstone.com have recently done a feature on Witness, and their site contains an interview with Dylan Keeton. See below for the article:

After run-ins and run-outs experiencing several bands, Witness UK came together in April 1997 when singer Gerard Starkie and guitarist Ray Chan first met in the Northern England town of Wigan in April 1997.

Witness UKís Lo-fi pop sound has been matched up to early R.E.M. Having toured in the US with the likes of Whiskeytown, Grand Drive, Gene and Son Volt, Witness UK is now on tour in the US with the Charlatans UK.

The tour is promoting the bandís new album Before The Calm, which features their first single release, "Scars". To learn more about what the Witness boys are up to, listen to an interview with Witness UK at RollingStone.com.

I have to say, its certainly news to me that they're currently touring the US with the Charlatans!

Another article recently featured on eView.com, and provided us with the ever so helpful information on how to pronounce "Gerard". See below for article:

Fresh from England and no it is not another Spice Girls, or S Club 7, or BoyZone. It is a dyed in the wool wolf in sheep's clothing. Witness U.K. is a rock band. And that's band in every sense of the word. These not so old, not so young guys hailing from Bristol, England can play, sing, write and jam on stage. With their latest release in the U.S. "Before the Calm", Witness U.K. has made an impressive debut that will surely find acceptance here in the States. The maturity in the music and lyrics definitely reflects their mindset and soul dispositions. With a smooth blend of synth keyboards & classic guitar riffs from member Jazz Pransky, Dylan Keeton on bass, founding member Ray Chan with lead guitar, John Langley banging away on the drums and the mellow vocal wrangling of lead singer and fellow cofounder, Gerard Starkie, pronounced "Jerod", Witness U.K. has found a sound that opens the door to the next wave in mainstream music. Carefully blending the modern with the classic and the folk, Witness U.K. walks a fine line on the edge of worldwide fame. But fame I feel was not the outset, these guys love to play and you can feel it in all of the 13 tracks on the album. From the haunting piano riff of "Freezing Over Morning" to the very cool use of feedback on "Cause and Effect", the smooth vocal delivery of "Second Life" or the driving "Hip Hop" 'ish, Beck 'ish "Audition", Witness U.K. has blended many different influences effortlessly and it is outstanding!

I also came across another Witness review the other day on a website called "Ciao.com". The site pays you to sign up to it and write reviews on everything from music, films, sport to nights out on the town. I thoroughlly recommend it and more info can be found by clicking here.

 

9th July

No updates over the last few weeks due to me being away on holiday, but here is what has happened over the past month:

Gerard and Dylan spent the majority of June doing promotion work in the US such as showcase gigs, press interviews and radio performances. They played an acoustic set for KCRW in Santa Monica, and two showcase gigs at Luna Park in LA and the Lotus Club in New York - see gigography for more details.

If anyone was lucky enough to catch any of these performances, could they please contact me on webmaster@witness.fsnet.co.uk ?

Now back in the UK, Witness are planning the possible release of Zero Zero as part of an e.p later in the year, along with a proper US tour.

In the meantime watch this space for two exclusive interviews...

 

6th June

Hasn't been much to report on the Witness front as of late, so I'll use this space to recommend a couple of unsigned bands.

Strangeweather an unsigned band from Wigan, currently garnering quite a bit of media interest have a new track on Peoplesound.com entitled, "Real Life". The track is proving extremely popular, with over 500 downloads already. They are heading for a top 20 spot on the peoplesound site, which will give them a chance of a slot at V2000. You can reach the track at http://www.peoplesound.com/artist/strangeweather For more info on the band see the link page on this site for their official site.

Another promising band is "Moco" who played a successful gig at the Roadhouse in Manchester last Friday in front of several people from the music biz. They gained an offer from a member of punk band, Goldblade to produce their album. Their live shows are definitely recommended and dates can be found on their official website, which also contains several demos to download.

22nd May

Review of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom gig with Embrace added to the reviews section (thanks to Daniela Hoecke). Click here to read it or go to the reviews section.

No news as of yet on future tour dates but the US tour seems imminent. Things look bright for Witness in the US, with sales of the recent US release of Before the Calm looking promising, with some stores selling out of the album less than a week after it being put on sale.

 

7th May

Full details of the US release are now available on the releases page, including an exclusive picture of the albums artwork. The cover is similar to the Quarantine promo CD. The track, Before the Calm is confirmed as being the piano version as featured on the Hijacker CD.

 

6th May

The extra tracks on the US release of Before the Calm (released 16th May) are confirmed as being Long First Chapter and Before the Calm. Long First Chapter was originally a b side for the single "Scars" whilst Before the Calm featured on the Hijacker CD. Before the Calm was originally planned for the UK version of the album, but was rejected as the band were not happy with it. They rerecorded an acoustic version however and this is the version that features on the Hijacker CD. It is not clear whether it will be the acoustic version or the full band version which will appear on the CD.

To see the setlist from the recent Blackpool gig, check the gigography section. Thanks to Jo for providing the list.

 

3rd May

Before the Calm finally gets its US release (under the name Witness UK) on the 16th May. You can pre order the album through http://www.cdnow.com 

Witness play their first gig of the millennium supporting Embrace at Blackpool Tower tomorrow. If anyone wishes to review the gig for this website, please send your review, no matter how long or short to webmaster@witness.fsnet.co.uk and it will be published on the reviews page.

Non Witness related, but anyone wishing to play gigs in the Manchester area or find management for their band should check out the new management company "Bad Management" who deal specifically with young unsigned bands. Their website can be found at http://www.badmanagement.co.uk 

11th April

Witness have been forced to change their name for the forthcoming US tour. As from now they will be known as "WITNESS UK" on all US releases, and tours etc.

Keep an eye on the Interviews section for a forthcoming interview with Dylan Keeton...

 

2nd April

Ray Chan interview finally online! Thanks to Christie Shanks for transcribing it for me. It'd probably never ended up done if it had been left up to me:-) Read it now in the interviews section.

Not much else to report except that a post left on the message board claims that Witness will tour the US in May/June this year and will participate in Interviews and instore gigs. This may just be speculation or it may be true. We'll just have to wait and see...

Also, Witness will only play the first night of the Embrace gig in Blackpool (May 4th). Coldplay take their place on the 5th.

 

21st March

For those asking about the Ray interview; its taking longer than I though to transcribe, along with the fact that I'm really busy at the moment, so I'm afraid its still not ready for going up yet:-(

Can't get hold of the artwork for the Randall and Hopkirk album yet, but the promo cover is now up on the releases page.

20th March

Full lyrics are now available fro Zero Zero. Go to lyrics section to view them. 

Full tracklisting for the album is as follows:

Nina Persson - Theme
Basement Jaxx - Jus' Tonite
James - Confusion
Charlatans - My Beautiful Friend
Pulp - Barry Crusoe
Spacek - Eve
The Orb - Hamlet of Kings
Beta Band - To You Alone
Talvin Singh - Carnival of Drums
Gay Dad - Us Roach
Witness - Zero Zero  (3'44)
Emiliana Torrini - Dead Things
Lewis Taylor - Blue Eyes

For those of you debating whether its worth to fork out for the album just to hear Zero Zero, then no need to worry, as the album is actually really good, and well worth buying. Zero Zero is excellent (obviously!), but there are also other really good tracks on there such as Basement Jaxx's "Jus Tonite" (not one of my favourite bands, but that track definitely makes you want to get up and start dancing!), and tracks from Spacek, the Orb, James, Beta Band, Talvin Singh and Emilliana Torrini (very Bjork-esque vocals). The theme isn't bad either, and even Gay Dad have managed to put together an half decent tune!

19th March

The new Randall and Hopkirk series aired for the first time on Saturday on BBC. The soundtrack, containing Witness track, Zero Zero will be released next month.

Thanks to Malcolm for providing the info on early Witness. See the updated releases and gigography for more details.

 

8th March

Updates should come more regular now that my PC is back up and running. Not much news to report this week except that the official site previewed the new track, "Zero Zero" this week. The track sounds much more upbeat than anything we've heard from Witness before, and looks destined to become a favourite along the lines of Scars and Quarantine. Early press reviews are also looking good. An article in the Manchester Evening News states, "Highlights (from the album)..are Pulp's Barry Crusoe, Basement Jaxx's Jus' Tonite and Zero Zero from Wigan band Witness". Go to the lyrics section for a preview of the Zero Zero lyrics.

Also, if anyone wants a promo copy of Before The Calm, contact me at webmaster@witness.fsnet.co.uk

Finally, sorry for the delay in the Ray Chan interview, but hopefully it should be up at the weekend.

 

26th February

Go to interview section for an exclusive interview - his first since joining Witness with Julian Pransky-Poole. 

 

25th February

!!!Stop press!!!

Witness are to support Embrace on a one off gig at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool on May 4th. Tickets go on sale on March 4th at 9.30a.m. Other support comes from JJ72. More info will appear here as soon as it becomes available.

Also, disregard the below information. The track is actually an early name used for "Could've Had A Time".

 

Rare Witness track?

Just found a site that deals with and sells rare promo's, and it has plenty of Witness stuff on there. One of the CD's however is a promo of Audition that apparently features a track called "Drinking Song". Does anyone know if this is an actual track or just a misprint? Let me know through the usual address. I'll find the site address again later and post it tomorrow. 

Also, check the interview section tomorrow morning for an exclusive interview with Julian "Jazz" Pransky-Poole.

 

23rd February

Coming next week, a bi-weekly poll on Witness related subjects. Send any suggestions to poll@witness.fsnet.co.uk

 

20th February

- Before the Calm is finally set to be released in the US. It is due to be released in the summer on MCA Records and will feature extra tracks, not featured on the UK release. It is usually the case in situations such as this that the extra tracks are previously released 'b' sides. However, this cannot be confirmed at the moment -the extra tracks may indeed be unreleased or new recordings.

- A recent article in the Belfast Telegraph seems to suggest that Witness will play Belfast in the near future. Watch this space for any further info.

-As mentioned on the message board, Gerard recently provided the sleeve notes for an unsigned Wigan bands CD called "Northern Sounds". The notes read;

"All the best with the CD - there's a lot of talented people working on music in Wigan and I hope this helps some of them get noticed"
Gerard Starkie, Witness

According to Tom Lyth who put the CD together, Gerards' involvement has helped create record company interest for some of the bands on the CD, and Peoplesound.com have offered to sign all the bands to their site. The CD features eight local bands and made it to Midem 2000 in Cannes, Southern France. The CD can be ordered for £4.99 through Wigans finest record store, "Alans" at http://www.alans.co.uk

-Finally, check the interview section later in the week for two interviews. One with Julian "Jazz" Pransky-Poole and the other, a downloadable interview with Ray Chan from Hong Kong Radio 3! 



15th February

A short article on Witness appears in the new edition of "Pulp" magazine. The magazine is available free at all three Manchester universities, and Salford university. They are offering thirty five free copies of the limited edition "Quarantine" CD. For anyone living in the Manchester area, call into the Pulp office on the third floor of the MMSU building at 99 Oxford Road and pick up a copy.

Tablature section had now been fixed. Anyone with more tab, contact me at  tab@witness.fsnet.co.uk

 

13th February

Keep a look out at the new 'interviews' section for two 'exclusives' before the end of the month.

I'm currently putting together a tab section, so if anyone has any they would like me to put up then please contact me. Thanks to William Browne for his help so far.. his tab will go up as soon as I can properly convert it to html:)

 

7th February

The new track, is confirmed as being called, "Zero Zero" and will, as rumoured on the message board, appear on the new Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer comedy series, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased); a remake of the former popular TV series of the same name. The show will begin broadcasting on Saturday 18th March and run for six weeks.

The track will not be released as a single, and as far as I know, will not appear on the forthcoming album. However, it will feature on the shows OST CD which will be released in April on Universal-Island. The CD also features tracks by Skunk Anansie, The Cardigans and Pulp amongst others.

*COMING SOON* Ray Chan interview from Hong Kong radio of all places! Thanks to Neil Chase from the 7~9 radio show in Hong Kong for offering to provide me with this. See links page for a link to his site.

 

12th January 2000

According to the Official site, the album will now only be recorded in the summer, with the release set for the autumn. This is an unexpected setback, as Gerard recently stated that the recording of the album was about to start once the band had found a new producer. 

In the meantime, expect a new track to feature on a TV series to surface soon, as well as a possible week-long showcase at a Bristol venue within the next month or so. The US release date of Before the Calm will probably coincide with the bands US tour.