2011 was crazy ole year. Although it wasn't the most musically active one for me it still brought forward many interesting things. I'm looking forward to this new year with shows scheduled for myself acoustically, performances with the John Idan Group and also with Top Topham as well. See Gigs Page.
The follow up album to The Folly is in its mixing stages and all things going to plan should be released this year.
A special project came together late last year....Beehive... with my friends Lord Dome, Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja! You can find out more here on the Bands/Projects page and on the Shop page.
There are several new videos on my Youtube channel from the Group, featuring Peter Miles on Drums, Iain Fidler on Keyboards and Fox on the bass. We are looking to do an album together during this year and play very loudly in your living room!
Though The Folly has been out for a good while now reviews still keep coming in, check out the current issue of Good Times (01/12). See Review page...
The website is still under construction and we will be putting more and more information (new and old) on in the next weeks. Stay Tuned and donít forget to check out the John Idan & Group Facebook page!
Sunday 10th May 2009
John has formed a new band called "The John Idan Group." Performing together with Toby Drummond, Fox and Andy Waterson.
They are performing a new show called "North and South of 8 mile" as John will be taking people on a musical journey to Detroit playing songs from both sides of the racial divide with selected covers and originals from 'The Folly'.
Upcoming dates are on the gigs page and see the Biography page for more on the band members.
Sunday 18th January 2009
John is returning to the Yardbirds on the bands request for a short tour of Canada:
" Though I have finished my last shows with the Yardbirds, I've been asked if I would return for a short tour of Canada in February.
Of course I'm happy to help them out and we are training a team of Huskies to take us from Saskatoon to Regina. "
Thursday 21st August 2008
For a while now, I've been thinking about how I should progress as a musician and as a person. I've covered great grounds in the last year and also travelled extensively and made huge advances over the last 13.
Being a musician is certainly not the easiest of lives to lead and many things over the years have caused me troubles. You may be wondering what I'm leading up to and I have to sadly say that at the end of this year I will be leaving the Yardbirds.
I wouldn't say for a second, that being in the Yardbirds has been bad for me, to the contrary it has taken me around the world several times, allowed me to perform on stages that many musicians only dream of, and perform some of the greatest rock music ever done. I'm proud of the band and my involvement has helped keep its legacy going.
It has been hard since the departure of Gypie Mayo to keep the band in a creative mode, though the fantastic talent of Ben King, his eagerness and consistency, has put the Yardbirds back on top form over the last 3 years. Yet, we are still (excluding our Birdland material) playing songs by the original group and to some degree nostalgically.
I have been honoured in playing my roles in this ensemble. I have never sounded like Keith Relf, nor ever aspired to, though I hold him in the highest of regards as a performer and musician. I do feel that I have played that role respectfully.
I have found these roles, vocals and bass, restricting, limiting my ability to improvise, as they are fundamental in recreating the group's sound and not to be messed with.
Also I am not a bass player, though I have been playing bass now for many years and my guitar talents have publicly gone to the wayside. This is something that as a growing musician I cannot allow to continue.
I have always hoped that the Yardbirds would get the share of acclaim that is due to them. And maybe they have or maybe they haven't. Gaining public notoriety isn't easy to come by these days and quite possibly my own hopes of musical success may be elusive. I won't know until I find out and probably won't stop trying until I'm older than Jim and Chris.
Of course I wish the band well and would never rule out working with them again on something that was truly worthwhile.
My main aim now has got to be to put my own music forward. Only time knows what anything will come to.
July 2008 What next?
As you can see it’s been a very eventful time and no matter what the troubles are, the world keeps turning. Spending is down, oil prices are high and people are watching their pocket books. This of course is not good for the music business and entertainment in general.
The Yardbirds shelved their US tour for this summer and I am looking to promote my solo album and band amongst these quite difficult conditions.
I’ll ask this of you: if you are hip to the music that I’m creating, and you feel so inclined, spread the word around!
I will be doing so with all the vigour that I can summon up, and your help would be appreciated. To say that I don’t care about money wouldn’t be true, but my main aim is to get this music heard. I think it’s pretty good stuff. Of course it’s available online as a hard copy and downloads and I feel it would be better to try and get the CD copy of the album through the sources available. If you can’t find it there make a suggestion to your local record store.
Downloading it in MP3 form is alright, though of course you’re missing the artwork, which is extensive, and the sound quality.
I’d ask of you as well to not share the MP3 files with anyone that may have other intentions for them. Think of it as making a cassette tape for your best friend, hopefully turning them on to something that they might not have listened to.
Reckless sharing of digital information and bootlegging are going to stop musicians like myself being able to survive in this world if we are not careful. The world is changing, but fair is fair, good music costs money to produce and every artist should be allowed some space to continue their creating. Thanks for listening.
John talks about:
The Album Launch May 7th 2008
The gig went great, all things considered. We had about 120 people show up and the band played their roles with good energy.
For those of you, who have heard the album, you can understand that some of the music is quite difficult to perform live. Especially as the lads were learning the parts from the album and with limited rehearsal time, I believe they did a sterling job at recreating the mood of the music.
As for myself, I was pretty uptight. I was worried, that the one rehearsal that the band had together, just wasn't going to be enough and in fact, that is the truth.
But like all good musicians, we let things fly and some things really soared.
The real spanner in the works that day was the fact that the Yardbirds rehearsed well into the afternoon. And though I said I would do the rehearsal and not sing, so as to save my voice for the evening, I sang any old way.
My voice eventually got tired about two thirds of the way through the evening show, but not too bad.
It was most enjoyable to play and hear these songs of mine come to life on stage. The audience really listened and I think that most of them appreciated what they heard.
The evening closed off with chat and a drink with friends and guests from the audience and by the end of that day, which was about 3 in the morning, I was totalled, but really pleased with the way things went.
The Yardbirds/Zombies UK Tour May-June 2008
This tour had been talked about since autumn 2007 and was going to happen in the early spring of 2008, but of course started in May and ending at the end of June.
This made time tight when it came to the release of my album for June 2nd and this is why the launch party had to be done on May 7th, a week before the tour started.
It felt good to be back on proper stages with the Yardbirds. I think we perform best in this kind of environment. Cramped conditions on stage never bring out our best and the sound quality on this tour was fantastic.
The band played well and by the half way mark we started playing brilliantly. There were a few shows starting around the time of Cambridge where we were peaking to new levels every night. This of course didn't go unnoticed, especially backstage; as the Zombies were due to follow what Terry Reid once described as "World War III"...
The Zombies are fantastic musicians and really nice people. Their performances were excellent night after night. Colin Blunstone is a true professional and knows, that his reputation as a vocalist is on the line every time he takes that stage.
Rod is a wizard on the keyboards. Jim and Steve Rodford are the glue which held the whole thing together on bass and drums with Keith Airey adding nice touches to the music sound, ranging from subtle chord work to an all out Blackmore-esque onslaught.
The difference between the two groups is simple, where the Zombies are slick and polished, the Yardbirds are raucous and leave the audience wondering what might come next, as many of the arrangements hinge upon the dynamics that the band creates.
The bands got along well together and a mutual respect certainly was evident. There is talk about us possibly playing together in the future.
As in every tour there are highs and lows and some crazy Rock 'n' Roll moments:
A backline of JMI amps including AC 100 bass rig, like the amps the Yardbirds used to play with, blew a valve during "Over Under Sideways Down", causing its own pyrotechnics. The amp was fixed the next day by my dear friend Dave Petersen and though he did what he could the amp failed again two nights later on the first note of the show. It had been alright at sound check, it just wasn't ready for the beginnings of that night's W W III...
The amp finished the tour after seeing the doctor in Doncaster.
A lot of faces on the tour, Jimmy Page came to the show in Reading and was in good spirits and health.
Jimmy popped his head round the dressing room door whilst I was ironing my shirt. I said "Come in Jimmy" as we shook hands and I said "let me take you through to see Jim and Chris". Jimmy seemed genuinely happy to see his old band mates and spirits were good.
I didn't part take in the photos, but Jimmy said when he left, it was nice to meet again and I wished him well and hoped he enjoyed the show.
He later texted Jim saying congratulations to everyone and that Jim had a good band.
A funny happening took place at the Northampton motorway services:
We were just about to leave the services when Chris say's: "That bloke in the car next to us looks a lot like Ray Davies", I then looked and said "That is Ray Davies!". I proceeded to open the van door and shouted "Hey Ray!", he heard me, rolled down his window and asked in a North London accent "Who is that then?" of course I said "the Yardbirds" he said "Where are you playing?" I told him and he gave us the thumbs up and we both went off on our merry ways.
It's sad really, that more wasn't made of this moment, as Jim and Chris of course toured with the Kinks and Jim Rodford had also been their bassist for a number of years. Also Ray's birthday was approaching and Jim Rodford had been invited but was unable to attend because of the tour dates.
We did a show in Brighton at the Dome which was one of those killer shows I spoke about before and afterwards we met up at Jeff Beck's house for a party.
Jeff's a nice guy and likes to include us in his circle of friends. I showed up late, as the road signs haven't been turned right since World War II.
There were some crazy people at this party and a Rock 'a' Billy band out in the garden. I made my way over to where Jeff was sat with some friends and rapped with him about music, his lovely house and Billy Butler's brilliant guitar playing on Honky Tonk.
Jeff seemed to be enjoying himself and said, that we would see him in the coming days in Tunbridge Wells. I think he got his wires crossed and wasn't able to attend as we found out, he'd done a charity show that same evening.
I had mentioned to Jeff that he should come to see the band with Ben on guitar, as I felt that the band is possibly the best it's ever been with Ben's playing.
And hinting, that he should consider joining us in some capacity in the future. We'll see...
It was a really fun tour, maybe not the greatest one we ever did, as audiences were a little low on some of the shows. I think this is due to the financial troubles we're all experiencing.
The week after the tour finished I became a married man and hopefully a better man for it. It was a fantastic day with good friends and family, music and the most beautiful bride.
June 2008 "The Folly" now available in local record stores
Check out Record Corner in Godalming
German fans - Check out Woodstock Record Store in Erfurt
Release date May 4th
Now available for download here >>
Single "Banging My Head on the Wall" from the album "The Folly" will be available on iTunes from may 4th..
Release date June 2nd
Now available for download here >>
Yardbirds vocalist John Idan's debut solo album "The Folly", which includes the first single "Banging My Head on the Wall" (release date May 4th on iTunes) and the songs "We All Belong", "The Ballad of Myself" and "A Long Time on This Road", a 20 page booklet with cool photography, all the lyrics and a personal message from John, will be available at the album launch on May 7th and on the Zombies/Yardbirds UK tour.
John Idan talks about his new album "The Folly" :
I started writing and recording songs about five years ago. Some songs go back further and I thought it was about time that I put my musical ideas out.
Much of the material is very personal to me and was not really suitable for the Yardbirds.
I've played all the instruments, more out of ambition than anything else, and viewed it as a challenge. It also meant that I could do things at any time I desired and it's been nice to have that freedom. Now I'm looking forward to performing these songs live with my band and pushing their boundaries further.
The album is a view of my life and the music that I'm into. I tend to write for the song, meaning I let it become its own thing, whatever genre it may fall into. I love all kinds of music and "The Folly" is just a glimpse of that.
-the Folly due to be released in May
-the Folly album launch party at the Eel Pie Club, Twickenham on May 7th
-Yardbirds/Zombies UK tour coming up in May/June
view the gigs page >>