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6th April 2017

guns n roses

John Otway has completed the recording of the first album on Montserrat since The Rolling Stones 'Steel Wheels' in 1989.

'Montserrat' by John Otway And The Big Band will be released on May 14th via Red Bowler Records and it's also the first Otway album in ten years.

John Otway was pretty determined about his idea last year after musing: "Where do real rock stars go to make an album?"

The answer was loud and clear. Montserrat was the go-to-place in the 70s and 80s for The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Dire Straits, The Police, Status Quo, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran and many others to make their records but two hurricanes later and one erupting volcano and that totally changed.

Air Studios fell into disrepair, the capital city became a modern day Pompeii and half the island became uninhabitable due to the spread of ash.

Then, in 1989, Hurricane Hugo effectively destroyed Sir George Martin's Air Studios making 'Steel Wheels' the last album to be recorded there, until now.

Otway liked the idea of following in the footsteps of the stars and visited the Island with a view to recording in January 2016.

The people of Montserrat are incredibly proud of their iconic musical status and when the Otway team arrived in the tiny seven seater plane (the only current commercial transport onto the island) they were greeted at the airport by the Premier, several members of the cabinet and Miss Montserrat. The Islanders were delighted that someone was coming back to record.

Air studios was no longer an option but Sir George Martin had a house in the north of the island. It had a basement with a soundproofed room that used to house a radio station and it was the perfect size for a four-piece band. Sir George, like the islanders, liked the idea of someone going back to record, and gave the project his support.

Sadly, Sir George Martin passed away on 8th March 2016, however last September the Otway Band found themselves in a Caribbean house surrounded by gold records and Linda McCartney photographs with Prodducer Chris Birkett.

John Otway told us:

"It was a big job. The band flew in from the UK, the producer from Canada, the amps from Miami and the fans from all over, but it was incredibly well worth it.

"Given the pressure and the expectations that you put upon yourself it's amazing what you can do. No one wanted to let the side down and no one did.

"I wanted to make a better album than 'Steel Wheels' – and I did!"

And as a generous footnote, the band left the amps on the island for future visitors to use along with the islanders themselves.

'Montserrat' tracklist:
Dancing With Ghosts
Seagulls On Speed
Real Tears From Both Eyes
I Shouldn't Be Doing This
Five Kisses
Already Missing You
Somewhere Else To Go
There's A War Going On
The Conductor's Waltz


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