Interview: The Walker Brothers’ John Walker at Heroes Of Rock Super Mega Con 7/10/2010

Posted: December 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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BA-Tell us how the Walker Brothers formed.
JW-We started in the 1960’s in Gazzarries in Hollywood.
BA-Where are you guys from originally?
JW-I’m from New York & raised in LA; Scott is from Ohio; & Gary, I think, is from California.
BA-How did you get the name Walker Brothers?  You guys aren’t brothers, are you?
JW-I always used the name Walker since I was 16 & when we signed with Mercury Records wanted to come up with famous brothers like The Warner Brothers & The Wright Brothers & so we became The Walker Brothers.  Gary played in The Standells; he left in 1963 to join PJ Proby in England.  He came over to see us play in Gazzarries & said you guys should play in England.  He instigated the whole thing for us to go to England.
BA-That’s where you really made it, & everyone thinks that you are an English band.
JW-They still think we are an English band.  In fact I did a PBS TV show on The British Invasion when we went to England in 1965,  and we never played America again.
BA-What was the last show that you played in America?
JW-The last show we played was in Gazzarries in Hollywood in 1965.  The first show that I ever played in America since 65 was on the 29th of May this year at The Cannery in Las Vegas.  It was a tribute to Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon, who died.
BA– How did you get involved in doing this Heroes of Rock convention?
JW-I was at the Cannery & I haven’t seen Terry Sylvester of The Hollies since 1975 & he was on the show.  I got an e-mail from Shawn Wise, the promoter,  & he  wanted me to come over & do this show & so Terry knows Shawn very well  & Terry said you gotta do this show.  It will be a lot of fun &  I said okay.  And Billy J Kramer, I haven’t seen him since 1965.
BA-Was Gary Walker & the Rain after The Walker Brothers ?
JW-In 1967 The Walker Brother split up.& Gary formed the Rain with Joey Molland before he joined Badfinger; & I did some solo work for a while & so did Scott.  We drifted apart.  In 1974 we reformed again & we recorded 3 albums.  We had a big single called No Regrets It was a hit all over England  & did three more albums & one has become a cult album called Night Flights.  It was a real departure.  It was not the typical Walker Brothers sound.
BA-What did you think of the Scott Walker film 20Th Century Man?
JW-It makes Scott happy.  I was not involved in the film.
JW-David Bowie had a big influence on Scott.  I remember David Bowie from a long time ago when he was Davey Jones.  He changed it cause of Davey Jones from The Monkees.  David did shows over in Holland with me.  He wasn’t anyone yet; he was just this guy.  I said, if there’s a way to capitalize on the way he would dress to be fashionable… & he did!
JW-Here is another important piece of history that a lot of people don’t know:
In the last tour that we did, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine was # 1.  On this tour was Cat Stevens, a brand new guy named Engelbert Humperdinck & there was this young black guy from America that nobody knew at all.  He was playing clubs in London.  His name was Jimi Hendrix.  We promoted that tour & we insisted to have him on the tour.  That tour was a total sellout.  After that everyone in England knew Jimi Hendrix.  Our management thought we were crazy.  He didn’t fit the bill. You had Cat Stevens who was a little artsy, & Engelbert Humperdinck was a straight singer & then The Walker Brothers doing the ballads.  So what’s Jimi Hendrix doing here?  We wanted him on the tour.
BA-Any closing statements?
JW-Well, I have a  new singing career, & I’m looking forward to performing again & playing in America this time around!  But the 60’s was a great time that will never happen again.

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