John Wesley – Your Round
Posted on May 17th, 2007 by Alan @ 12:10 pm

John Wesley

I first saw John Wesley playing live as the support act for Marillion in about 1992. He was previously their guitar tech, and as I understand it got the gig when the original support band pulled out at short notice. As Marillion were scratching around looking for another opener, their guitarist Steve Rothery said “What about John? I’ve heard some of the stuff he’s written and it’s pretty good” so they gave him the job. I think he was still doing his guitar tech duties on that tour so he must have been pretty knackered by the end of it! Anyway, I was really impressed with his performance that night, for a guy standing on stage on his own with an acoustic guitar he seemed to impress most of the people in the Barrowlands Ballroom. So I grabbed a copy of his CD (“Under A Red And White Sky”) from the merch stand – and was even more impressed when I listened to the studio versions of the songs.

And then I kinda forgot about the guy for about 10 years. The CD still made it into the player from time to time, but as I’d heard nothing about him other than his guitar work on Fish’s “Fellini Days” album, I never really thought to look for any more of his stuff.

But in 2003 I heard Porcupine Tree for the first time. I’d heard of them for a few years, but my preconception (mainly from their name, but also from the fact they were pretty popular among Marillion fans who tend to have pretty dodgy tastes!) was that they would be beardie weirdie prog rockers, which really isn’t my scene. But then I heard that had made a booboo with their pricing of “In Absentia” and were offering the DVD-A version for 99 cents. About the price of a Mars bar. With postage, about the price of a pint. So I ordered it. When it arrived I stuck it in the DVD player and almost flew back into the wall when the guitars from “Blackest Eyes” kicked in! I loved the whole album, and now own everything by them that isn’t out of print and trading for silly money on eBay. But back to that day – as I picked my jaw back off the floor and leafed through the inlay booklet, I spotted that some of the guitars on “Blackest Eyes” and the backing vocals on several tracks were by Mr Wesley. I found out later that he had first met Steven Wilson while working with Fish, so maybe I should have read the inlay booklet for Fish’s “Sunsets On Empire” CD a little closer – a lot of it is co-written by Steven Wilson, and he contributes guitars and keyboards to it as well. If I’d known that my preconceptions of Porcupine Tree might have been a bit different!

Anyway, I’ve seen a lot more of John Wesley since then, as he’s a regular member of Porcupine Tree’s tour line-up, who I would crawl over broken glass to watch. Thankfully I haven’t had to do that yet, although if it was an option I’d maybe choose it over lining Ticketmaster’s pockets.

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You can check out more of John Wesley’s back catalogue here

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