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PAGE 19...John Fisher Fansite Interview
Hi John thanks for doing the interview for the Audience Fansite.
Here we go............."
FS. 1) I believe you’re from Buxton, what music did you listen to when growing up there,
did you see many live groups, and who influenced you as a teenager ?
JF. " You are in the right part of the world but I grew up in a village called
Birch Vale which is between Buxton and Glossop.
My father had a fine collection of big band records and took me to see/hear
Syd Lawrence and his Orchestra ( Syd's drummer at the time was Geoff Myers who
subsequently taught me for a while a good few years later) and Count Basie and
his band with Ella Fitzgerald. Both of these concerts were before I had
reached the age of ten and had a huge effect on me. In fact it is most likely
that seeing Sonny Payne with the Basie band was the biggest factor in my
wanting to play the drums."
FS. 2) What made you take up the drums, was it you’re 1st choice of musical instrument,
did you have formal training,+ what other musical instrument's can you play ?
JF." I had percussion lessons throughout my teens and was much more a percussionist
than a drummer until I was about twenty. I spent two years on the jazz course
at the City of Leeds College of music in the late seventies and am currently
two thirds of the way through a music degree course at Canterbury Christchurch
University. I play a bit of keyboard and own a trombone and guitar."
FS. 3) Can you tell us you’re previous band history, what groups ect did you play in prior
to joining Audience ?
JF."Musical history is wide a varied. I did lengthy stints with The New
Millionaires and Jack Hawkins and his Orchestra, both big function bands.On
the more rocky side of things,I was with Eric and the Frantics in the
Manchester area for six years in the eighties ( I have to say that playing
with those guys was the most fun you could have with your clothes on)and later
on spent six years with the Blue Bishops.In between and along side all that I
have been involved in several big bands over the years, played small group
jazz, alot of blues, done some function work and occasionally if I am lucky
get a chance to play orchestral percussion from time to time."
FS. 4) Had you heard of Audience prior to joining them ?
JF." I had not heard of the band BUT I was only eleven when they split up."
FS. 5) Did you have any reservations about joining the band ?
JF. "Having met the guys and being reassured by Trevor in particular that they
were more than happy for me to play as I do and not to try and reproduce
Tony's drum parts then reservations were non existent."
FS. 6) How long does it take you to learn a new song, what is the sequence of events from
1st hearing to playing a new song live on stage ?
JF. "Learning new material can be quick or not. Since the band's material involves
some complicated arrangements, I always map out a song via an idiot sheet
which renders mistakes less likely. Sequence of events is variable but
normally rehearse it for a while and when everyone is comfortable with it, gig it."
FS. 7) Do you write material, and if so can we expect to hear some of you’re songs
in the future ?
JF." Yes I write stuff. Whether any of it makes it into the public domain via the
band has yet to be seen".
FS. 8) Have you a particular favourite drum kit you prefer to play or like the sound of ?
JF." I am very comfortable with the sound of my current drums. Yamaha custom maple
bass drum and toms and a Pearl free floating maple snare. I would love to play
British drums but at the time I bought the Yam none were in the same league.
It is different now so if if anyone in Leicester reads this................?"
FS. 9) Is there something that really annoys you presently ,apart from questions ?
JF."Very little annoys me except when I am very tired and then absolutely
FS. 10) Who are you’re icon's in the music world nowadays, what cd's do you listen to ?
JF. "I listen to everything pretty much from the present day ( not Radio 1 type
stuff ) back through the last four hundred years. If I had to pick a couple of
favourites then I would have to say that I admire Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming,
I love the music of Edward Elgar and that the Stan Kenton Band of the early
seventies was "roaring".
FS. 11) What types of movies do you like, can you name the last film you went to see ?
JF." Movies ............ can't remember."
FS. 12) Do you enjoy life on the road when touring, do you enjoy driving ?
JF "Yes I enjoy driving and getting around a bit is fun."
FS. 13) What are you’re hopes and expectations of being in Audience ?
JF. "I hope to enjoy making music with these chaps for as long as it suits us all
and as far as expectations go is that I don't do expectations, it's one way to
A very big thank you to John Fisher for taking time out to do this Q + A for the Fansite
JOHN FISHER (1960 – 2008)
Message from Audience
It is with the deepest regret we have to announce John Fisher, Audience’s drummer since our reformation in 2004, has died.
In March 2007, John was admitted to hospital with jaundice, the underlying cause of which was swiftly diagnosed as pancreatic cancer. Bluff Derbyshire stoic that he was, John brushed aside any suggestion his calm and philosophical response to the disease was ‘courageous’. And because he didn’t fancy dealing with the inevitable change in friends’ attitudes, he opted to keep the matter, if not a secret, then quiet, thereby enabling him to continue playing and teaching without well-meaning folk continually focussing on how he was doing.
We were all disappointed when John’s fluctuating health and treatment schedule precluded the rigours of last year’s Canadian tour. But closer to home, he managed gigs with his other bands - Blues Academy, Dover Soul and The Simon Hopper Band - and fulfilled his traditional role, arranging the score and playing in the pit band for the annual pantomime at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre.
When Audience reformed, we knew it would not be easy to find someone open-minded and versatile enough to fill the spats of our original drummer, Tony Connor. Tony’s main influences were from the jazz world, particularly Joe Morello of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and he was as much a percussionist as a drummer. A straight-down-the-line rock drummer could never fulfil the requirements of this band. It’s just the way it is. We’ve never been straight-down-the-line.
We auditioned several drummers in 2004 and approached a number of old acquaintances from ‘60s/’70s prog bands of renown. Nothing quite worked and if we were going on the road with what we had, we knew we would have to narrow the range of our projected live set drastically, which we really didn’t want to do. We even considered gigging as a trio rather than setting out with the wrong drummer, but that, too, would have precluded songs we knew folk would want to hear. Then someone recommended John. Minutes into rehearsal, we knew we’d found our man.
An eclectic history, playing blues, rock, swing and soul, with big bands, orchestras, small jazz combos and behind singer-songwriters provided John with an attitude that prejudiced against no form of music so long as it was good. His ability to listen, his easy, floating style which owed so much, like Tony, to jazz influences – albeit Basie rather than Brubeck - were ideal, as was his dry wit and his immediate desire to contribute ideas rather than simply copy what Tony had previously committed to vinyl. Audience had never been able to play “Nancy” live. It always sounded manic, stilted and dangerously unsteady. John came up with a way of playing the subtly changing rhythms that made immediate sense, got Nancy under control, and brought her alive for the first time.
John, like Tony before him, was an intelligent musician who knew his way around keyboards, trombone, all manner of percussion instruments and who could also sing. His contribution to Audience is nowhere better heard than on our 2005 live album “alive&kickin’&screamin’&shoutin’”, which contains fine examples of the inspired punctuations, fills and flurries he brought to our music.
John’s last words to the band came in the form of a text, saying, “It was an honour and a privilege to be a member of Audience and to meet and make music with you”. That was John’s matter-of-fact way of waving goodbye. Well, it was a privilege to have him in the band – a big hearted, funny, generous bloke and a remarkable musical talent, terminated far too soon at the age of 47.
Our thoughts are with John’s partner Andee, his family and his wide circle of friends. If you would like to pass on your own condolences, memories or thoughts to them, please contact Trev at email@example.com.
Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell and Trev Williams