Witness the Comeback 

(Wigan Reporter <Music Scene>p.39, 3/5/01)

WITNESS begin their long-awaited comeback with a month-long tour this week.

The band that were formed in Wigan in 1997 and who received critical acclaim for their 1999 album 'Before The Calm', will follow up the tour with the release of a single and album, titled 'Under A Sun', later in the summer.

Despite winning the respect of their peers with their first effort, Witness failed to shift the sort of units to give them mainstream appeal two years ago.

But the band, Gerard Starkie, Ray Chan, Dylan Keeton, John Langley and Julian Pransky-Poole, insist they were ready to make a second record, as part of a three-album plan, almost straight after the first, but claim they were deterred from doing so by unhappy record company bosses who questioned the quality of the new songs. They spent last year reassessing the tracks and making the occasional live appearances including supporting Embrace in Blackpool.

During that time, their record company, Island, was taken over by Universal, who have now accepted many of the same Witness songs Island dismissed back in '99.

Bass player, Dylan, told Music Scene: "Of course we wanted the first album to be a 10-million seller - its damn hard to get a record deal in the first place, but it didn't work out like that.

"It was a success, but not successful enough for us all to go out and buy flashy cars.

"This time we want to gain a higher profile and sell more records - I think the songs that we've written deserve to do well."

Dylan, who met Ray and Gerard after placing an advert in Loot, also tipped more success for the Wigan area this year, claiming the success of bands such as Starsailor is attracting record companies to the North West. 

He said: "I think that there are a lot of A&R men heading for Wigan at the moment. I would say to Wigan bands, get out there and get noticed."

Witness play Manchester Roadhouse on Tuesday, May 15 and Liverpool Lomax on Thursday May 17.