Arts & Culture
Rock and Roll's biggest failure John Otway crashes back into Swindon to kickstart your weekend

He’s back… punk rocker, eccentric musical madman and cult hero, John Otway will bring his trademark chaotic brand of rock and roll back to The Victoria in Swindon this Friday May 12.

From the age of 9, John Otway knew he wanted to be a pop star. But having listened to his sisters Beatles and Stones records, he knew he would never be able to do what they do.

However, when his sister got the latest Bob Dylan album, he knew there was a place for him and he set about learning how to play guitar. Otway had to wait until 1977 and the rise of punk before his dream of fame and fortune would finally become a reality.

Having caught the eye of the producers of the BBCs Old Grey Whistle Test, Otways performance on that show would grab the attention of the watching audience. Otway, ever the showman, decided to jump on to the amplifier of his colleague during a performance of Bob Linds Cheryls Going Home. (Un)fortunately for Otway, he misjudged his leap and sent Wild Willy Barretts amplifier tumbling as he crashed down straddling the box under the amp.

The full force of the impact was absorbed by the most tender part of his body, but in doing this one simple act of recklessness and his wanton disregard for his own safety, Otway was the talk of everyone who watched that evenings programme.

Not only did he see a surge in his audiences, sales of Otways sixth single, the half-spoken love song Really Free increased dramatically and reached number 27 in the UK Singles Chart. An appearance on the BBCs flagship music programme Top of the Pops, where Otway & Barrett were introduced by Elton John later, Otway was finally a star.

It would however, be his greatest success for some time. Otway would have to wait 25 years for his next taste of chart success. In 2002, Otway achieved what he desired the most – a second hit. A concerted publicity campaign saw Otway reach number 9 with the disco pastiche Bunsen Burner and a second appearance on the Top of the Pops.

In 2016, Otway announced that he was planning to record a new album. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, he will take his band to the Caribbean island of Montserrat to become the first international recording artist to record there since the Rolling Stones in 1989.

John Otway AND his Big Band will be at The Victoria in Swindon on Friday 12 May, tickets are £14.

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