Verity, one of the names behind the names

Oct 2018 Verity, one of the names behind the names

By Robert Ruiz

John Verity began his music career in the 1960s.

By the spring of 1970, John was living and working in the US, doing prestigious support slots with many of the big names of the day, including Jimi Hendrix, Mountain, Canned Heat, Savoy Brown, and Janis Joplin. The John Verity Band, formed in Miami later that year.

On his return to England in 1971, John secured a contract with producer Steve Rowland to record his first solo album for ABC Dunhill/Probe records, ‘John Verity Band’, released in the spring of 1973.

While on tour promoting the album, JV was spotted by Rod Argent who was looking for new lead vocalist for his band after the departure of Russ Ballard. John eventually joined Argent late in 1973, and a period of intense recording and touring followed, until the band decided to get off the road late in 1976. Argent never did go back on the road, and decided to disband, at which point John became involved with various new projects both as artist and record producer.

First with Bob Henrit and Jim Rodford, he formed Phoenix, which soon signed to CBS records. The original line-up recorded the first album and toured Europe before recruiting Ray Minhinnet to share the guitar-playing duties in time for the second album scheduled for release on Rocket Records.

During this time Jim Rodford left to join The Kinks, and the line-up remained a three-piece for the recording of In Full View for Charisma Records. John produced the Phoenix albums and co-produced the Charlie album ‘Good Morning America’, as well as the first Saxon album during this time. He decided to divide his time between sessions and record production, and Bob Henrit teamed up with Jim Rodford once again by joining The Kinks.

The next few years were spent in recording studios throughout the world, producing, playing guitar, or doing back-up vocals with various acts including Motorhead, Tank, Ringo Starr, Russ Ballard, Colin Blunstone, Brian Connolly, John Parr, BowWowWow and The Searchers among many others, until late in 1981, when PRT Records MD Matt Haywood asked JV to record a comeback album.

By now living in his native Yorkshire, John had built his own 38-track studio, by synchronising together 24- and 16-track tape machines – state of the art at the time, and had moved into full time record production. The Matt Haywood offer meant JV could get back out on the road again to promote the album, and touring always seemed to bring out fresh ideas.

“Interrupted Journey”, released under the name Verity in 1982, was highly acclaimed in the UK, USA and Europe, and successfully relaunched Johns performing career, as he once again took to the road. John was approached by many big name acts for recording and performing projects during this period – Mike Rutherford of Genesis wrote three songs for inclusion on JV’s next set of recording sessions, and Keith Emerson and Greg Lake used John on their current recording projects.

The next two albums “Truth Of The Matter” and “Rock Solid” were also well received, and John soon had offers to join various name bands including MSG, Ted Nugent, and Asia, which he declined, deciding instead to come off the road to record an album with newly-reformed Zombies.
This project took the best part of a year and was mostly recorded at Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland and finished in London.

After a short break John was soon back on the road again with John Coghlan’s Diesel Band (Status Quo), in the UK and Europe, before reforming his own band for similar venues and recording here in the UK. In 1992 John decided to re-locate, away from his native Yorkshire to rural Bedfordshire and closer to friends from the Argent days.

Since the move south, the JV Band gigs have continued, with different line-ups chosen from a shortlist of fine musicians. At the 1994 Manchester Festival “Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary” concert, JV was a guest with many rock legends past and present, including Sonny Curtis, Frankie Miller and Rory Gallagher. John’s performance of “Stay With Me Baby” was one of the high spots of the evening, bringing the capacity crowd at the Manchester Free Trade Hall to its feet!

During this period, JV also did vocal sessions for three epiVerity, one of the names behind the names sodes of the Granada TV series “Full Stretch”, (1991), and another guest spot with the ‘Strat Pack’, for the Australia Day (1995) celebrations at the Hippodrome in London’s West End. In 2000 was a major gigging project with a 32-date UK tour, opening the show on the Jools Holland Sex Jazz and Rock’n’Roll tour at major venues, including Manchester Opera House, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and the London Albert Hall. After this, it was back to his regular gigging routine, festivals across the UK and mainland Europe, recording and writing sessions keep the man busy.

JV always said live work was his first love, and that holds true today. After playing the Cambridge Rock Festival in the summer of 2009, JV and the band went into the studio once more. The resulting recordings were released in April 2010: VERITY – A Phoenix Still Rising… yet another stage in JV’s amazing journey.

The plan was for Phoenix to go back on the road, but things didn’t quite work out, so JV re-packaged some of the tracks and added three new originals, to form ‘Verity – Rise Like The Phoenix’ instead.

Back on the road, the band worked solidly until mid-2011 when JV went back into the studio. This time the aim was to record some of John’s favourite blues material – some of which goes back to the very earliest bands that he had played in. Bob Henrit, Steve Rodford, Mark Griffiths, Andy Childs and Keith Weir were asked to work on these tracks at different times, during a busy few months, to complete the album in time for release in December 2011.

‘It’s a Mean Old Scene’ is Verity’s strongest so far, and new dates are in the diary – early 2012 and the band was on the road again… first major date being the GB Rock & Blues Festival, with successful video to provide a lasting record of this excellent gig. Featured musicians in the JV Band for this one were Steve Rodford on drums, and bassist Mark Griffiths.

2012 was to prove a landmark year for JV in a number of ways – first of all a chance meeting with guitar guru Trev Wilkinson during which John impressed Trev with his ideas on guitar design, led to the development and release of the JV Signature model guitar. To give the guitar its full title – the ‘Fret King Black Label Corona JV Signature model’.

While the guitar was in development, John was inspired to try to complete all the links in the audio chain, and together with amp specialists began work on an amplifier worthy of the JV stamp of approval. The finished amp was soon a fixture of John’s live setup – an all valve (tube) design following traditional values but with just the ingredients needed to get the “sound in my head” as JV is quoted saying, on trying the combination of his new signature guitar and amp.

The final ‘icing on the cake’ in this search for the perfect tone is the specially-voiced loudspeaker made to JV specification with the help of Paul Seago at Tayden Loudspeakers in the UK.

In 2014, the band was on the road as usual, interspersed with JV appearances to promote the JV signature products at music trade shows/ events, and the new album Tone Hound looked set to follow the success of It’s a Mean Old Scene, which charted in late 2013.

Next up in 2014, JV went into the studio to record tracks for ‘TONE HOUND on the road to Corona’, and took this one on the road with the band, to an ever-expanding group of followers across the UK.

In 2015. the band was in the studio recording live for the ‘Boske’ album, an opportunity for JV, Bob Henrit and Bob Skeat to work together in the studio just laying live tracks down like in the old days! Bianca Kinane added some amazing vocals, and Tom Wilson performed keyboard duties on this entertaining set.

Fast forward to May, 2016, and the release of ‘My Religion’. Surely JV’s strongest to date, with six of JV’s own songs, with four of his favourite covers. For the first time in ages, this JV album is released on vinyl – a double album with bonus tracks in a gatefold sleeve.

This year looks like being JV and the Band’s busiest to date with shows across the length and breadth of the UK.

Booking Agent
Robert Ruiz 077875746105