Johnny Heywood                                                                                                                         

(Bass, Vocals, Guitar, Keys)

 

 

 

 

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Johnny's first instrument, like so many school kids, was the Recorder ("The Devil's Instrument").  From this he moved onto clarinet and piano and studied musical theory.

When he saw his older brother Gordon playing guitar in rock covers band "Haze" at a local Tennis Club one Saturday night, he decided this was the thing he most wanted to do and started playing guitar with school friends.  From this, he realised that if he moved to playing bass, they were only a drummer short of a full band.

Playing the Glasgow circuit with MIDNIGHT OIL was a great learning experience and there were many excellent bands playing the same venues.  One night, the fledgling SIMPLE MINDS tried to poach Oil's keyboard player but he turned them down!

After a couple of years in the Glasgow scene, Johnny headed for London and joined 60's pop pastiche band HI-FIDELITY and played all over London including supporting DOLLY MIXTURES at Dingwall's in a big anti-nuclear gig.

When this finished after a couple of years, Johnny took almost 3 years off from music, although he continued writing and recording from home.  A chance encounter with a friend of a Club covers band who were losing their bass player, started him off playing live again and before long, Johnny was gigging regularly with local covers/blues/rock bands.

He was invited to join a new band - SOUL PURPOSE led by keyboard maestro HILLY BRIGGS, and this band became one of the top bands in Hertfordshire.  Musicians who passed through it's ranks include drummers JOHN COGHLAN (STATUS QUO), and JOHN LINGWOOD (MANFRED MANN'S EARTHBAND) and guitarist PAUL GREEN (SUZY QUATRO). Cliff Brown, later of FIRE IN THE HOLE, was a long time member too.

As a side project to Soul Purpose's busy gigging schedule, keyboard player TOM DUSSEK suggested a rock covers band with a guitarist he knew called Rob Sas.  BURN was soon off and playing live.  For two years it gigged, getting tighter, but dissatisfaction in the drum department called for a radical change and when ROSS ELDER sat in for one night he couldn't be persuaded to leave at the end. This line up finally called it a day in the summer of 2005 and Johnny & Ross started FIRE IN THE HOLE. However, the Burn line up reformed after a year apart and played on till 2011 when first Ross left to be replaced by Garry Randall and then Rob emigrated to Spain.

Johnny also joined progressive rock band QUATERMASS II led by original drummer MICK UNDERWOOD (GILLAN, STRAPS, OUTLAWS) and former DEEP PURPLE bassist NICK SIMPER, plus keyboard players DON AIREY (RAINBOW, MICHAEL SHENCKER, GARY MOORE) and LINDSAY BRIDGEWATER (OZZY OSBOURNE, BUDGIE).  Originally joining as vocalist only, Johnny took on the bass duties as well as when Nick left to concentrate on his covers band THE GOOD OLD BOYS.

Johnny has also found time to gig with PHIL MAY (THE PRETTY THINGS) GARY BARDEN (MICHAEL SCHENKER), HARVEY HINSLEY (HOT CHOCOLATE), MAC POOLE (WARHORSE), CLEM CURTIS (THE FOUNDATIONS) and has toured Europe and Britain with JOHN COGHLAN's QUO supporting MANFRED MANN'S EARTHBAND.  This line-up also included CHICK CHURCHILL  (TEN YEARS AFTER) on keyboards.

Recently, in addition to Fire In The Hole duties and the duo THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS BROS. , Johnny has been playing double bass with rock-a-billy band THE COPY CATS led by vocalist/guitarist ED HAMILTON (OUTLAWS, FASTBUCK).  Ed has also formed the Blues based FIREDOGS and has invited Johnny to play bass. 

Johnny completed his first  solo album SAVAGE EYE in 2001 and  the follow up, FIRESTORM in 2004. He finished SOUL PURPOSE and RUN WHEN THE GAMES UP in 2007, the former a compilation of tracks from the band of the same name and the latter - a collection of softer, love songs from the past to the present. ADOLESCENT ANGST and DREAMSTEALER were both finished in 2009.

If this wasn't enough Johnny took the lead in WINGSPAN - a tribute to Paul McCartney which began playing live in October 2003, supporting Showaddywaddy  and played a storming set at The Robin Club in Bilston, Wolverhampton. Regular theatre bookings commenced during 2004 and in August 2005 the band played The Annual Beatle Fest Week at The Adelphi Ballroom and The World Famous Cavern Club in Liverpool to great acclaim and went back there in 2007.

Another new band, THE NEW MUD started in late 2004 to continue the legacy that Les Gray left following his death the previous year. Johnny played bass and sang back up vocals for 18 months before moving on.

Two new bands started in 2006. DREW MURPHY (BC SWEET) formed a Paul Rodgers tribute band with Johnny on bass/ backing vocals which commenced gigs in December and the same month found Johnny on bass and lead vocals in a heavy rock 3-piece RAW GLORY with MICK UNDERWOOD on drums and COSMO (HEAVY METAL KIDS) on guitar. The band recorded an album and did extensive touring before Johnny was thrown out for not being "rock" enough. Six months later he was asked to rejoin and much enthusiasm was being banded about until illness caused the band to fall apart before a note was played.

Wingspan became WINGSBANNED in 2008 and Johnny took over the reigns of the band, leading them to another Liverpool Beatles festival and the Abbey Road On The River Festival in the States - the biggest Beatles Festival in the World. The band was so successful that they have returned every year since. In 2012 Wingsbanned played at Liverpool's McCartney 70th Birthday celebration at the Philharmonic Hall.

In 2012, Johnny formed Large Portion with Wingsbanned drummer Lee Herbert and guitarists Gary Davies and Martin Fleming. This band has an incredible repertoire and plays everything from Abba to Zeppelin. With three lead vocalists the harmonies are very strong and Gary is equally adept at Scotty Moore licks as he is playing Ritchie Blackmore. Large Portion played 7 gigs over 11 days in December 2012 which is practically a tour.

Gary left in 2016 but was immediately replaced by Marcus Lazarus bringing a fourth singing voice and an amazing virtuoso guitar style. In 2017, Martin retired and was replaced by Wingsbanned guitarist/vocalist Ian Herbert. This has energised the band and allowed them to stretch out and expand the repertoire.

. See Live Dates for details.    

 

All material displayed within this site Copyright JOHNNY HEYWOOD 2005

 

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