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The Gutter Brothers

The Gutter Brothers began life in the mid-eighties on the streets of London's Covent Garden, as a busking band. The line-up changed frequently as various musicians came and went. Tony Green -(vocals and washboard), and Dennis Johnson (tea-chest bass), were founder members, originally playing a mixed bag of blues and rock n roll standards with a swampy feel. Tony hails from New Orleans, hence the washboard, and Dennis, a Londoner through and through, had been fooling with the tea chest for a few years as an ideal busking bass, needing no power, and costing virtually nothing to make, yet throwing a loud and boomy sound across the London streets, attracting a crowd from all over.

By the time guitarist Chris Cawte joined the band, there had been attempts at recording and playing a few gigs indoors, the odd bit of songwriting, greatly inspired by Dennis' lyrics, which had an incredible strength and real power. They played on the street every weekend and started doing more gigs, and taking the strange womping sound into pubs and clubs, gradually increasing their repertoire of original songs and building up a following of some size around London. The line-up as above had a chemistry and belief about it which is rare to find, but essential for success as a gelled and creative band. The Gutter Brothers recorded an album of songs in 1988/9 called "Isometric Boogie" which, though totally self-financed and initially only sold by the band through gigs and mailshots, went on to be distributed nationwide to shops and finally selling thousands of copies.

The band's following grew in the next couple of years, and they went to Germany, Italy, Spain and USA playing gigs and doing TV shows. In 1991 they wrote the soundtrack for a new comedy serial on Central TV called "Gone to the Dogs", starring Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman, Warren Clarke and Harry Enfield. This work led to a release on Demon Records of an album of the same name, containing songs and music from the show. The Gutters continued to tour and write, by now playing gigs at venues such as The Town & Country Club, London, The International in Manchester, and large festivals like Reading, the Capital Radio London Festival and many motorbike rallies and such like.

In late 1991The Gutter Brothers supplied the music for an "Only Fools And Horses" Xmas special, including recording "Summer in the City" for the show. The song was soon incorporated it into their live set, and they released an EP with the song plus 3 more tracks later in 1992.

Dennis left the band as a player in 1992, continuing to write lyrics for it, and the four of us played on but with a bigger, rockier sound. The busking days now gone, the band progressed until 1993, when due to personal life decisions (kids, schools, housing, all the normal stuff) Chris decided he wasn't going to tour any more.

Tony decided it was time to go back to New Orleans and start a family, and we did a farewell tour which culminated in a live CD and video recorded at the old Mean Fiddler in Harlesden - for this show Dennis came back to play a small selection of the old stuff with us in a montage in the middle of the set, and thereafter we parted.

The band did one more "comeback" tour of UK in 1994 by venue request and nothing since.

Sadly, on Chrstmas Eve 2002 Dennis James Johnson died in Cheltenham Hospital Glos., aged 54. The remaining band members all attended his funeral and saw him off, with a host of his friends and family, in style. The band played "Summer in the City", and a load of Dennis' own amazing songs.

The remaining members of the band are reforming for the odd gig now and again in Dennis' memory, and we're fortunate that the Southsea show will be one of them .

The Gutter Brothers are at South Parade Pier on Wednesday 9th February 2005. Doors open 8 p.m. Tickets (8.50) available from Wedgewood Rooms Box Office, Albert Rd., Southsea, (023) 92 863911, South Parade Pier General Office (023) 9273 2283, Reflex Records, Albert Rd, Southsea, (023) 9229 3571 by post from Barking Spider Music, 105, Landguard Rd, Southsea PO4 9DR, (enclose s.a.e.) cheques payable to BarkingSpider Music. Further info from spiderpromos@aol.com

A Potted History of the Gutter Brothers

  • 1988
    • Busking in Covent Garden
    • Record LP "Isometric Boogie"
    • Appear live on First Exposure, LWT
    • Appear live on MTV Europe
    • Appear live on Night Network, LWT
    • 5 weeks in New York and New Jersey, clubs and busking
    • Release single "Fat Cadillac", voted a hit on Jools Holland's "Juke Box Jury"
  • 1989
    • Play on Formel Eins party in Munich
    • Obtain distribution for "Isometric" LP
    • Playing nationwide in clubs and busking wherever we go
    • Go to Ireland - Dublin street festival and appear live on Nighthawks, RTE
    • Appear on two shows in Italy on RAI2
    • Appear on "Late Night with Jools Holland" on BSkyB, live at the Astoria
  • 1990
    • Sponsored by Heineken to tour UK.
    • Extensive gigging.
  • 1991
      Wrote music for "Gone to the Dogs" T.V shows
    • Release album same name
    • Recorded music for "Only Fools And Horses episode " Miami Twice"
    • UK tour with Jools Holland Big Band
  • 1992
    • Release EP "Failsafe"
    • Write music for "Gone to Seed" Central TV
    • Toured UK with Dr Feelgood
  • 1993
    • Continue to tour until splitting up in summer
    • Live farwell CD and Video from Mean Fiddler - "Already Dead"

If you would like to contact Barking Spider, please email J.R. at spiderpromos@aol.com
or ring the
Barking Spider Hotline on: 023 9243 6267

 buy tickets now ...

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