The Three johns – An institution not a band
I often forget how impressionable I was as a teenager as I thought I furrowed my own way through life, no one call tell me what to do I would exclaim whilst searching out like minded individuals. We are all individuals we would say once someone started the chant. We had a music, a way of life that was ours, but of course we did what we wanted.
Well not quite but there was a soundtrack to it all for me. My youth is spent in 6 or 12 month periods and one or more of these definitely involved the three johns. When they appeared on the tube with those red and black flags waving high I wasn’t too concerned about the sound. When I went to Basement X and bought the first album I was enthralled by the sound. This was no punk band in the conventional sense of the word. Whilst I listened to and loved a lot of racket being made by Punks and had my Oi compilations I was happy to hear something different but yet the same.
When I say the same it is the attitude, the diy independent spirit. The Three Johns quite clearly had that. They were out supporting the miners, rallying against apartheid and ready to kick out the tories, but with a drum machine and an eye on parody they were smashing the system their own way. I was hooked.
I travelled to Leeds to see them, then London – ready to stand at the front of the stage, smiling in the wonder of it all. When I saw two copies of Torches of Liberty on sale in Record and Tape Exchange I had to get them both, I’d already bought my copy after being on Summer holidays in Germany – my first trip to mainland Europe and what I remember most is buying records by the three johns and the ex.
I got a chance to see them play in rebellion this year and marvelled in it all
A truly great band