Arriving at a point where punk, new wave, and reggae crossed over, Fischer-Z secured a record deal with the major label United Artists in 1978, alongside the likes of Buzzcocks and The Stranglers, releasing three albums and enjoying considerable success here and in Europe. Although they never quite reached the commercial heights of those label mates, this was during a golden period of big record sales, and appearances on Top of the Pops, and the Old Grey Whistle Test, as well as support from the legendary John Peel, and the heavy rotation of their So Long song on fledgling MTV, all helped to give the band a high profile.
Founder member, songwriter, singer and guitarist John Watts has an impressive CV. He's performed to over 150,000 along with James Brown in East Berlin, toured with the likes of The Police and Dire Straits, was on the bill for the final European festival dates of Bob Marley, and continues to be a creative force of nature, turning his hand to not only music and song, but also multi-media and playwriting. He may not be a household name, but you are very likely to have heard one of his songs, from a deeply impressive repertoire that invariably displays his natural warmth, humanity, and gift for narrative.
One of life's natural born entertainers, the highly chatty and effervescent Watts is a performer, first and foremost, combining music with art and poetry. His ability to combine worldly political issues in narrative songs has struck a chord with millions around the globe. "I like to tell a story, and provide a map for a good way of living," he says. He's been performing for nearly 40 years and has played over 3000 concerts. And there seems to be no stopping him, as he readies himself for another renaissance, that includes a brilliant new album This is My Universe, and the re-release of much of his extensive back catalogue. "I'm doing some shows in Paris, as part of an exhibition, Pirates of the Mediterranean," he says. "It's five or six artists I know who are doing an exhibition in one of those arts squats that has been converted into a nice gallery. A lot of my media mates and painter friends are down there."