DENISE JOHNSON – WHERE DOES IT GO

(31.7.1963 – 27.7.2020)

Release date: Friday, October 2, 2020

Physical formats: Limited vinyl & CD will only be available from Piccadilly Records: https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=134933

Lead track: Steal Me Easy

Tim’s Twitter Listening Party: Tim Burgess is featuring the album on Monday 5 October (9 pm UK time)


Digital/Streaming: on all platforms  https://cdbaby.lnk.to/WhereDoesItGo

Tracklisting:

  • True Faith (New Order)
  • I’m Not In Love (10CC)
  • Nothing You Can Do (Denise Johnson)
  • Evangeline (Cherry Ghost)
  • Sunshine After The Rain (Ellie Greenwich)
  • Well I Wonder (The Smiths)
  • Steal Me Easy (Denise Johnson / Fabien Lefrançois)


DENISE JOHNSON – WHERE DOES IT GO

When the news broke on July 27 that Denise Johnson ~ one of Manchester’s most talented and cherished singers ~ had died, so much love poured out for her from across the world. 

Her stunning voice can be heard on many iconic singles and albums over the last 30 years. Denise is best known for the two albums she recorded and toured with Primal Scream in the 1990s, Screamadelica and Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Others include New Order, Johnny Marr, The Charlatans, Michael Hutchence, 808 State, Electronic, Bernard Butler, Ian Brown, The Waterboys and A Certain Ratio – whose album released later this month will also feature Denise.

Denise had been working on her debut album before she passed away, which means it will now be a posthumous release when it comes out on Friday, October 2. The album is acoustic, just Denise’s vocals and an acoustic guitar – apart from Steal Me Easy which has an organ – it was near completion, mastering and cover images and design were signed off. Denise’s delight at finally getting it to the point of release was immense. She was hugely proud of this album, and responses to her twitter comments about it show that this was going to be an incredibly well-received record.

album artwork

Working with Manchester-based guitarist Thomas ‘Twem’ Twemlow since 2013, Denise had found the perfect accompaniment for her astounding voice. Their arrangements of covers had already seen two single releases: 10CC‘s I’m Not In Love (2017) followed by New Order‘s True Faith in 2018. Both tracks earned great reviews and – most importantly to Denise – approval from both 10CC and New Order.

Twem first met Denise in 2003 and she sang on a couple of his tracks as he describes:

“Denise got back in touch a few years after we’d first worked together, asking if I’d play acoustic guitar for her. We set about doing our own version of her favourite songs from various Manchester acts. One of the first she asked me to play around with was True Faith: my first thought was “how the hell can I make an electronic track work on acoustic?” But, to be honest, when you’ve got someone like Denise singing, you can make anything work!”

Where Does It Go was recorded at Hope Mill Recording Studios in Ancoats, Manchester. Alongside Denise’s previous singles – and Well I Wonder by The Smiths – is Evangeline, a song by one of her favourite writers, Simon Aldred of Cherry Ghost. Another song Denise wanted to include on the album is her version of Ellie Greenwich‘s Sunshine After The Rain, a song Denise performed in her role as Mary, in the BBC’s incredible live staging of The Manchester Passion in 2006. Denise always cited this event as one of the highlights of her career, for the simple reason that she knew it had made her mother incredibly proud.

The album also features Nothing You Can Do, written by Denise, and Steal Me Easywhich was penned with former collaborator, the French guitarist Fabien Lefrançois

With the exception of Steal Me Easy, the recording of the album is completely live and features no studio tricks or computer wizardry. It was engineered by Twem and produced by Denise.

The desire to capture the essence of their live sound was borne from the joy of performing. Early sets at Denise’s friend Terry Christian‘s ‘Mad Manc Cabaret’ events led to one-off shows, appearances at several UK festivals, and a number of intimate acoustic performances at wider events such as Tim Burgess‘s ‘North by Northwich’Festival No 6 in 2018 saw a joyful mass singalong to their set finale, an acoustic version of Primal Scream’s Don’t Fight It Feel It, with Twem playing bass guitar for a change. And at Bluedot 2019 Denise and Twem opened with The Carpenters’ Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – a fitting nod to a stage in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory.

‘Definitely Maybe’ is 25.


In 1994 ‘Definitely Maybe‘ by Oasis was released. It was an immediate critical and commercial success and became the fastest-selling UK debut in history at the time. It included the tracks ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star‘, ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol‘, ‘Shakermaker‘, ‘Live Forever‘ and ‘Slide Away‘. We [Red Alert Promotions] were there from the start.

I worked with Noel Gallagher before he was in Oasis. We toured together with the Inspiral Carpets; I was merch, and Noel was a roadie. It was an amazing time looking back; it was the height of Madchester.

I’d got to know Noel – and later Liam – when I worked at the music venue The Boardwalk,Oasis shared a rehearsal room in the basement with Sister Lovers. Other bands that rehearsed there were Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, James, ACR, The Fall, Simply Red, and Nico! Generally, after these bands finished rehearsing they come upstairs for a drink and watch the bands that were playing at the venue. I witnessed early shows from Primal ScreamHoleSonic Youth, Manic Street PreachersVerveBob Mould, Rage Against The Machine, Big Black, The Charlatans, The Wedding Presentand many more.

Following the demise of ‘Madchester’, I started working with Alison and Sue at Red Alert Promotions, a record plugging company with a cool roster that included The Charlatans, KLF, Depeche Mode, Pulp, Suede, The Sugarcubes and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds... It was around this time our friend (and neighbour) Noel decided to join his brother’s band Rain which subsequently became Oasis.

Alison and I saw Oasis play many times in Manchester, including regular support slots at The Boardwalk and Tony Wilson‘s In The City music convention in September 1992 and 93. In ’92 they played The Venue to a handful of people including Gary Davies a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in ’93 they played Canal Bar (both venues are no longer there).

Earlier in May 1993, they played King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut thanks to Debbie from Sister Lovers. She knew Alan McGee and she invited them to play, the rest is history. Soon after Noel announced that Oasis were going to sign to Creation Records. Months later their record contract came through on the Red Alert fax machine. I remember the never-ending fax paper spewing out and folding it up. I put it into an A4 envelope for Noel to collect.

Naturally, Oasis were added to the Red Alert roster and we began promoting the now-classic singles from Definitely Maybe. As part of the campaign, we took Noel and Liam on a promo tour around UK radio stations for interviews. One of the early interviews was with Chris Moyles. He was working at a regional radio station, Signal Stoke. Chris recounts this and still has his CD with a Red Alert promo sticker. The band’s first radio session was for Craig Cash (The Royale Family); he presented a show on KFM in Stockport. Both went on to do very well.

Below is an early TV performance on Yorkshire TV. ‘Something For The Weekend’ was filmed at Leeds Warehouse. Oasis were introduced by Madame Jo Jo –  now Jo Jo on Capital Yorkshire. It looks great! Oasis played ‘Shakermaker’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and ‘Supersonic’ in front of an audience of around 200.

The next tv footage is from America in 2017. CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason visits Noel’s native Manchester. It’s the first time Noel has been back to the city-centre flat where it all started. In the early 90s India House was inhabited by people who predominately worked in music and the arts including record pluggers, roadies, techies, managers, journalists, photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, artists, writers and Hacienda staff. You’d sometimes bump into members of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, New Order and the Pet Shop Boys after the Hacienda going to parties.

India House – like Manchester – has so much to answer for. It’s where Noel wrote the first two albums. Lyrics such as “As I live my life in the city, there’s no easy way out.” (Rock n Roll Star), “Your music’s shite it keeps me up all night, up all night.” (Married with Children) and “The sink is full of fishes, she’s got dirty dishes on the brain.” (Some Might Say) were written in that building between 1989 and 1994.

Photo: Michael Spencer Jones 1994

Peter Hook Is BIMM Manchester’s Next Special Guest

hookybimm4It’s an amazing coup for BIMM Manchester!

Peter Hook, bassist from not one, but two legendary bands in Joy Division and New Order, will be the special guest at BIMM Manchester’s next Open Day on Saturday May 25th at 11am!

Hooky will be discussing his career on stage and sharing his incredible experience with potential BIMM Manchester students.

After the enormous success of the previous BIMM Manchester Open Days, this event continues the tradition of securing amazing speakers – in previous events, Mike Joyce (The Smiths), Richard Jupp (Elbow), Ben Thompson (Two Door Cinema Club) and Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets) have all spoken about their life and careers.

The final BIMM Manchester Open Day until September begins at 11am on Saturday 25th May.

www.bimm.co.uk/manchester/open-days