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Jono Watts

“I was 7 years old when I watched Nigel Kennedy on a small TV in my family home, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I thought he was brilliant. It was then that I told my mum that I wanted to play the violin; and she told me I could learn if I promised to stick with it. I distinctly remember my very first violin lesson, I played a 1/4 size violin, “pizzicato” in “banjo position”! And my teacher (a Ms. Hargreaves if memory serves) was lovely. My grade 1 notes (dated June 1988) summarised with the comment “Much Perky Promise!”

Some years later and having progressed through the traditional grading system, I was touring Europe with a youth orchestra. On the coach journey through Belgium, I friend passed me a cassette tape to listen to on my Walkman(!)… it was the Levellers “Levelling the Land”. I knew instantly that this was the music I wanted to play more than anything in the world. So I entered into my rebelious teen years!

Finding somebody to teach me folk music was an impossibility. I turned to the Levellers, Wolfstone, Clarion and Fairport Convention… all up to volume 11 in my bedroom! I played along with what I heard; and what I couldn’t play, I improvised.

Chris Leslie first introduced me to a “Zoom” multi-FX unit, also a Zeta Electric fiddle with midi interface. I remember being amazed at playing a french horn through a violin! I knew I wanted an electric violin. So at 15yrs old, I made one for my Design & Technology GCSE (I got an A*!).

I made another electric fiddle for my A-Level and went on to play this very unique instrument on stage as I played around the country with ceilidh band “The Quiet Men”. Playing the ceilidhs really re-envigorated my love of scottish traditional music, especially when delivered in a Wolfstone fashion.

 

Then one fateful night in the Flyer in Banbury, I met Mr. Bailey at a jam session. We quickly discovered that we shared a love of the Levellers and Wolfstone! I remember Pete suggesting we could start up a Levellers tribute band! But we never did… (did we?!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few months later, Kev (ex-’at) asked me to do a guest slot at a one-off show with a band starting out called “Leatherat”. I was reluctant… even more so after a quick rehearsal with the band (an enthusiastic Pete trying to convince me to play the whole gig!) But I did it, the whole gig, and I loved it.

The rest… you know!”