Johnny 5th Wheel & the cowards

Time To Hang Up Your Mask, Johnny


So it goes...
After five years, two and half albums, 42 band members, and who knows how many gigs, the experiment is over.

It is with much sadness (mingled with optimism for the future) that Johnny5thWheel&thecowards have decided to call quits on live performance and, barring a musical version of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, quitting recording as well. We have three last gigs (12th Sept, 4th Oct and 24th Oct all at our favourite venue Mad Ferret, Preston) and then it's curtains for us.

It was around 2009 when myself and Andy Lyth concocted the idea of an anonymous band who would dress like Mexican wrestlers and wear fake moustaches and have a different frontman at every gig and always play with a different set of musicians depending on what city we were in and play only wooden instruments and spell everything WithoutAnySpaces. It was an experiment with the format of being in a band in the modern age - we wanted to see what was possible if we just created for the joy of creation without worrying about what people thought of us or if it was cool or rock'n'roll. Throwing every idea we had into the mixture.

I'm very proud of those two J5W albums. I think we created what we set out to do, although along the way we learnt some lessons about the harsh realities of constantly changing, eschewing stability and consistency, and employing humour in our music. A lot of people got what we were trying to do, some were baffled, some were enraged but we never inspired indifference and hopefully some folks' imaginations are just that bit more enriched for what we tried.

Thank so much to everyone who played with us (this is going to be a LONG list)...
Steve Garner, Mikey Kenney, Frank Beaver, Stevie Guy, Daz Woodcock, Ollie Mason, Andy Weights, Mark Mace Smith, Thom Tyrer, Mike Stephens, Matt Wilcock, Andy Raven, TE Yates, Dan Wheble, David Wright, Norman Helme, Garreth Knot, Dave Watkins, Liam Scales, Tim Davies, Kelly Bridge, Daev Barker, Jackpot Jim, Ragnhild Zeigler, Biff Roxby, Zeynep Oscabuncu, Jack Eastham, Jess Chalker, all of My First Tooth, Andy Harris, Anja McCloskey, Tom Metcalfe, John Hudson, Ami Warnock, Alexi Grivas, Huw Olesker, Edward Perry, and of course, young Amelie. It was an honour to play or at least record with each of you.

Stevie Guy and I will continue to work together. I am now working on my first solo album with the help of Dogface Records in Manchester and some very talented musicians. This album will be the lost Uncomfortables album and feature a lot of songs I've started playing again and am enjoying very much. It's due out this year, please keep an eye out for it.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm constantly writing so you know there's at least a couple more albums in the pipeline containing songs that none of you have heard before so please indulge me and allow me to get these old numbers out into the world properly as they never really got the chance they deserved and it's caused a blockage in me somewhere over the years.

I think that's quite enough rambling from me. I'd just like to give a special mention to Joel Ransom, Daniel O'Neill and well, the entire town of Southsea who have given us at least two of our favourite ever gigs in the Browns Hotel and our last Southsea Fest appearance and a more loyal and beautiful bunch of people you couldn't wish to meet. Thank you to everyone, everywhere who bought our music or came to our shows. Also all at our label, Sotones in Southampton, Anja, Andy et al who gave us a wonderful home away from home, down South whenever we were far from the North. And all at the Mad Ferret and Peter & The Wolf Productions.

and check out Stevie's band The Woodwards

Johnny5thWheel albums are still available, feel free to order one, Ami is going to have a big bonfire out the back of her and Andy's house otherwise...

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it

There is no life I know
To compare with Pure Imagination
Living there you'll be free
If you truly wish to be



Playing this Saturday 17th August at the Mad Ferret in Preston supporting American comedian Nice Peter on his European tour.

Details here:

Johnny5thWheel&thecowards play an experimental mixture of psychedelia, folk and pop.

Their debut album 'TalesOf...' was voted one of the top 50 albums of 2010 by God Is In The TV.

Sotones Records released their three follow-up singles 'WhereDidISleepLastNight?', 'Spike' and the forthcoming double 'A' side 'Nancy / In My Laboratory' and their second album released in 2012 was named in the top 50 of the year by Rocksucker.

They are currently working on their third album due for release in 2013.