Witness line up: Gerard Starkie (vocals/guitar), Ray Chan (guitar),
Dylan Keeton (bass), John Langley (drums) + Julian "Jazz" Pransky-Poole
(guitars on live performances)
are from Wigan, Manchester, the home of Northern
a band they have been inappropiately compared to.
brilliant debut album, "Before
is the result of years of hard work which along with Bury's Elbow,
earned them a contract with U2's label, Island Records.
Ray Chan, and frontman, Gerard Starkie, met over ten years ago
in Wigan where they played in a number of unsuccessful local bands
before eventually deciding on a focused course of action. Together
they wrote numerous tracks and recruited Dylan Keeton (originally
as a guitarist, now bass) and John Langley (drums) along the way
before eventually finding a deal with Island after a handful of
soulful demos. The band originally used a Wigan fish'n'chip shop,
owned by Ray's dad, to record their music. Their rise to studio
recordings though was rapid.
end of 1998 they had released their highly acclaimed 'double A'
side debut single, "Quarantine/Into
1999 though was the year that Witness hit the big time. They recruited
a second guitarist, Jaz, to supplement the live set up provoking
a series of enthusiastic reviews. Their singles, "Scars"
and the promo, "Audition
won rave reviews with many comparisms to The Tindersticks, REM
debut album, "Before
with its own unique sound (the closest comparism would probably
be Soul Asylum at their most mellow), achieved massive praise
from the music press and earned the band the support role for
and Us Only"
future is looking good for Witness, who appear to be following
in the footsteps of their close friends, The