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"'Quarantine' is fabulous. It is an inspirational record and possesses a rare empathy. Buy it, tape it and then sell it for a fortune when Witness go stellar next year" - The Times review Witness's debut single in 1998.
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Current Witness line up: Gerard Starkie (vocals/guitar), Ray Chan (guitar), Dylan Keeton (bass), John Langley (drums) + Julian "Jazz" Pransky-Poole (guitars on live performances)

Witness are from Wigan, Manchester, the home of Northern Soul and The Verve, a band they have been inappropiately compared to.

Their brilliant debut album, "Before The Calm", is the result of years of hard work which along with Bury's Elbow, earned them a contract with U2's label, Island Records.

Guitarist, 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.

By the end of 1998 they had released their highly acclaimed 'double A' side debut single, "Quarantine/Into The Waves". 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 EP", won rave reviews with many comparisms to The Tindersticks, REM and Radiohead.

The debut album, "Before The Calm", 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 The Charlatans' "Us and Us Only" Tour.

The future is looking good for Witness, who appear to be following in the footsteps of their close friends, The Verve.

All contents within these pages are copyright of united MANCHESTER, 2000, and may only be reproduced with prior permission. These pages are in no way official or connected to Witness.

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12th July 1999:

Witness -
"Before The Calm"

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(1999 single)

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