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Mystery Of The Universe/Back In The 80's | Version Francais

John Zonn

John Zonn Chess Piece


"The songs of John Zonn: Caffeine Days, Headhunter's
, Photocopy of my Mind and Don't Speak Too Soon,
seem to me the beginning of a rebirth of 'Beatles'. The
main and background vocals in Don't Speak Too Soon
create a perfect blend that you would either sing with
it, dance with it or do both at the same time.

Caffeine Days is soft and mellow and invokes an
introspective mood. Remember Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds
in the song Photocopy of my Mind.
John Zonn intended it that way I guess, and
created a twist in the lyrics to focus on delivering
what's inside his mind. John Zonn is a breath of fresh
air in music. He abandons the convenience of distortion
effects to direct your ears to the vocals and lyrics instead."

- Jodelen Ortiz (Admin Member WikiMusicGuide)

About John's appearance at Danny's Comedy Club, in
Haywards Heath...

"First up was singer John Zonn with his simplistic, but
catchy musical style. His intentionally shambolic song
about perpetual drunkenness was a strange start to
the evening but gradually won the audience over."

- Lawrence Smith (Mid-Sussex Times)

1. OMG John that is amazing.

- Angie Barnes (Author)

2. This is mega John, love the collage of 'found' bits from the past,
it really works - gives it real replay quality as you want to pick
everything out - think I've heard everything now in your comment.
Revolution no. 9, number 9, number 9.... The production is awesome!!

Chris Ginge (Recording Artist)

3. Star!

David Parkin (Human)

4. Thanks, John. Reading the details was interesting and inspirational. And
I listened to the songs BEFORE I read the explanation and liked them!
I will listen again with renewed attention. May the mysteries continue.

John Francis Cross (Poet & Author)

5. ...I love hearing these tracks...

Judith Gardner (Development Consultant)

6. It is fantastic

Lou Law (Artist)

7. SPLENDID! Love 'em. And the cover is to die for.

Mike Russell (Author)

8. Thank you very much for the cd which I have been enjoying very much as I
drink strong coffee and drawing thin inky lines on my unrolling scrolls.
I love the sounds you have put together with your unexpected
lyrics. The cover is funny and scary! (all those old photos).

Kate Bradbury (Artist & Musician)

1. "We sat and listened to your CD Saturday evening and loved it. Jay said that
she thought the playing and the songwriting were your best yet. We really
enjoyed the found sounds, especially the laughter. I could listen to a whole
album of found sounds. We also loved the recordings with background
ambience. It gives them a mood. I think singing in a car is a great idea. It is
a private space, sometimes the only private space! Except for toilets. Plus you
have the sound of other people in their private spaces zooming about (in cars
not toilets). To me, it is wonderful but also melancholy to hear someone baring
their soul in such a space. Thank you John Zonn, the universe needs your music."

- Mike Russell (Author & Artist) and Jay Snelling (Photographer & Blogger)

2. "It's beautiful x"

Tracy Boness (Artist)

3. "It's a cracker..."

Chris 'Baby' Ginge (Recording Artist)

4. "I received Self-Confessed Petrol Head, thanks, and have been
listening with interest. It's a very neat and artfully constructed
package altogether, and not just the double-sleeved jacket. It's
nice to have 2 CDs for Side One and Side Two. The inside cover
photo is really intriguing and I especially like the golden
glove box. The songs I think are the same as those on a draft
version I've been listening to since September last year (2014),
though in a different order. This new one is better. I like the
audio links that create a soundscape in which the songs reside,
at home, and makes the two sides a whole rather than a
collection of items. More of that, I say.
. . sounds of a journey where the mind and memory stop off at points that start songs. . ."

John Francis Cross (Author & Performance Artist)

5. "Self-Confessed Petrol Head - John Zonn
A Review by the Big Ginge
Track by Track jottings:

Side 1:

Mothbox : The Moths return in all their runaway flamenco glory - the
intro an inspired hook - what the blazes is this?? - great opener,
familiar but clearly about to leap in different directions.

Pack up, Go Out, Turn On: I do love my sound effects and I do love a
set of songs with a story, and these homegrown effects are so well
constructed to form the beginning of that narrative I felt a shot of
jealousy as I listened.

Girls' Names: beautiful segue into this -Zonn the Pop Master.
'Reginald to Reg' one of umpteen lines here making me smile.

La Dame Dans Le Bois: Je suis en France. My ancient GCSE French grade
B that I somehow achieved with Pigeon French couldn't process lots of
this, so I let myself be washed along in the waltz of it all and the passing
cars which are now there as hypnotic genius.

Slipaway: More French (? Ed.) ambience followed by one of the albums
most surreal moments, but it draws me in close listening to every word
for meaning, leaving me exposed for the two cracking songs at the end
of side 1.

We are All Fighting: got the feeling of a trad number this one,
seamless chord sequence and stalwart Everyman lyrics with little Zonn
twists keeping it real and direct. Frantic cars passing somehow sent a
chill through me at the end.

Through the Wood: Wow, what a song - what a structure. I'm in awe
of this one. That is all.

Side 2:

If Everyone Was the Same: top start with the laughter and rapid
launch into another superb tune - chocka with meaning and conjuring
of endless life.

A Nasty Piece of Work: - innocence and pearls... like I'm mr. big
and mr.popular - Mabel loves the Mary Poppins soundtrack and this
sounds like a long lost song from that - complete with Dick Van Dyke
vocalisings - it's fantastic.

Anything in my Memory: hugely envious of your sfx again and the
album's most gorgeous melancholy sweetpea moment. Ah, mate.

The Service Station of My Dreams: I love my backwards too and
that's an impressive use at the start, and a bloody big vehicle going
by a few lines in. Another sweet ditty, we're definitely in the soft
belly of this thing now.

One Step Closer to Heaven: love the 'silent' sections, and the
line 'we progress on down to the end of the town' - and the opening
up towards the end, stirring and a feeling that we're now homeward

Turn Off, Go In, Wind Down: And so we are, great sigh work
and throwing down of keys!

The Big Scrap Car Dealer in the Sky: at journey's end we find a
skittish finish hinting at further adventures. At one point there was
a stretched word while you found a chord which I liked, as though
you just fell into a chair and, exhausted, managed one last song.

This is, I think, your finest and most complete set. The soundscapes
and drone and hum of passing cars is surprising and immersive - with
songs like Through the Wood bursting out of the ambience with even
more effect thanks to their setting. The songs have byzantine
structures without ever seeming so - humour, melancholy and
wide-eyed philosophies all swim around them - pinned to a natural
sense of melody.

I've been listening much of the year on my mp3 player, but
listening tonight through big speakers with the deep bottom end of
the car hum bought the whole thing alive in a new way - I think now
that this is the way it's best enjoyed.

A mention must be made of the gatefold packaging which I am
very jealous of and is a fitting home for such an awesome collection.

I am your fan.

Chris 'Baby' Ginge (Recording Artist)


1. "Hands down the best one I've seen"

Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

2. "Wet and wonderful. So good of your mate Gates to loan so much. Looks like a nice pad he's blagged.
But it was you who took the water. Like an otter. Who is human. Way to go videoman. It's really good."

John Francis Cross (Author & Performance Artist)

1. "Listened again today - brilliant recording,
like being there - the opening story is just lovely."

Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

2. "A Zonn classic."

Jim Best (Founder & Chief Executive of 'Next Train Productions')

3. "John and his audience create an intimate and
spontaneous evening of gentle magic and
considerate whimsy and to appreciate it
you had to be there - or buy Snap Shot."

John Francis Cross (Author & Performance Artist)

4. "Most the way you handle
the crowd (hope you've given up eating
sentient beings now). No, it's John
Zonn well on form - great."

John Hiom (Artist)

5. "Great to hear John's speaking voice, gives the
whole thing a sense of atmosphere. Also to
hear the songs set in context is great.
Although I am surprised at the wood pigeon
admission, previously we have seen seagulls
revered with religious adoration. Here the
bird is given a life beyond his dinner plate
but ultimately consumed by Zonn. I felt this
warranted a visual reply, as seen above."

Tracy Boness (Artist)

1. "Wonderful. Dropped out of nowhere, like Bowie...
...tender songs that brighten, from a genius friend of mine...
...don't pass this by, these really are brilliant."

Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

2. "This is cool. Family Man speaks for us."

Jake Chambers (Facebook)

3. "I listened and liked."

Sally Goodwin (Facebook)

4. "I love John Zonn."

Sara Brown (Facebook)

5. "Love it, great stuff x. Esp like the picture for
This Time Of Year, those trousers really suit you."

Tracy Boness (Artist)

6. "Thanks for the copy of new release, have heard
it twice already and enjoyed doing so. The red slacks
are hilarious comic genius at work."

John Hiom (Artist)


1." Xtreme Cleaned Feet C-Limbing."

Daniel Yáñez Pinzón

1." Hi Zonnimyer,
Separation Anxiety: A review

I've listened to this collection umpteen times now - it just keeps giving. The
number of voices swooping at you here is the most striking thing - it's like a
radio show - but not, I don't know - it's just bloody magic.

I struggle to think of anyone who packs this much variety, humour, melody &
passion into half an hour. JZ has played another blinder.

The Die is Rolled: Rolled up jacket sleeves? Mullet? Synths? A Keytar? What's
going on? This is what I love more than anything about each new JZ release,
pressing play and being taken on a ride. This builds on the success of
'Lament...' from the last E.P. - mixes message and humour in that unique Zonn
stylee - "too little recompense", too bloody right - they take forever to say
goodbye to each other too, which had me in stitches on the train, much to my
neighbour's alarm.

The Occupant's Return : the thump percussion works brilliantly here and wakes
you from the ambient opener - the new 'chug and melody' tracking is introduced
too, far from the Dylan backlash JZ might have feared, it feels natural &
sounds superb. Great Bowie-esque vocals too in the 'we are not alone' refrain.

I'm not Your Child : this must have taken the longest to perfect? Beautiful,
fluid arrangement - still haven't managed to count all the subtle changes here,
surely a record? Faraway vocal sound on 'the way I am' part is cracking.

It's a Dog's Life : a real pop gem confidently buried as far back as track 4,
love the high chords coming in on the 2nd verse & the dog bark solo. Deffo this
for the single.

Do the Seagulls know it's Xmas? : the most traditional Zonn-like song in this
collection & my current favourite - though not for this reason - just the free
drifting tunefulness of the string work, complimenting the bright seaside
imagery of the story - lovely stuff. And when the narrator enters the song
towards the end with the secret admirer "I hadn't mentioned before".

January : didn't get this the first time I listened to it I must say, but then
on subsequent listens it's quite compelling & a fitting coda for a mini album
which has successfully broadened the Zonn sonic palette still further.

Have a sunny one, baby"

Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

2." I've listened to all of it now. Its sooo good! The song about not being a
child reminded me of a documentary I saw a while ago about a girl living in
Brighton with her family. She had become a heroin addict and was living on
the streets in Brighton. That song seemed to echo some of the things in
the doc. Excellent stuff John Zonn."

Tracy Boness (Artist)

3." John your CD is brilliant!!! I LOVE the take on Carpenters/Day The Earth
Stood Still (?) LOVE it, very quirky and full of little truths."

Vanessa Beard (Artist)

1."I was driving along listening to it in the car with Hollie
and after we'd heard it once, we sat there with
the engine off and had to listen to it again!"

- Jim Best (Founder & Chief Executive of 'Next Train Productions')

2."I really enjoyed your banjo poem...
...very cute and funny, nice one!"

- Sharon Lewis (ex-Pooka)

3."Hi John – here are my thoughts after a dozen
or so listens on my commute:

Back in Blighty: When the album comes out this
has to be the opener. Love the deep bass vocal
multi-tracking complimenting the downcast lyrical
themes. It’s a winding beauty that never quite unravels,
more and more tension with no release – brilliant.

Lament for ma Banjo Case: Knowing your recent
personal history the start of this “I have recently
suffered a loss” really did stop everything for a
second – sent a shiver – what it then turned into is
absolute genius. Seriously – this is talent mate.
I think because of the first association that for
me this represents a victory of your soul over grief.
I don’t know if that’s where this came from, but it’s
what I felt as I heard the laugh behind the ‘amen’
– I thought “good, John is alright”.

This track makes me feel privileged to know you.

Varnished (You Will Last Forever) : Hook upon
hook this has to be one of the catchiest songs in
your cannon – the guitar break is a gem too. After
one listen the whole thing has stuck and you find
yourself singing ‘bash bash saw saw’ at your
workstation. A definite showpiece for any gig-getting
CDs you should compile in the future.

A Change is as Good as a Rest : Sorry about the
prog comparison – but you know ‘Harlequin’ off
Nursery Cryme? – this reminds me of that – a super
delicate melody and sentiment. The ‘bu bu bubbing’
later on works a treat too. This was Sara’s favourite.

I know I’m always piling on pressure for an
album, I suppose it’s greed – I want a big listen.
But this EP puts that demand at fever pitch. I know
I said it with the last EP, but you’ve pushed that
watermark even higher with this.

It’s made me think again about recording – no big
production, just thrumming them into a mike Zonn stylee.

Most of all, it made me realise I miss you mate."

Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

4."I heard the sample songs from gardneronline.
Back in Blighty is amazing! I am such a sucker for
easy listening type of songs... So relaxing and
exactly the song you wanna play during long drives!"

- Jodelen Ortiz (Admin Member WikiMusicGuide)

1."Hi Zonn

Your latest release arrived yesterday - I knew what
it was before I opened it, it was singing in the envelope.

What did I find? a fresh sounding e.p. by someone who
has invented and mastered their own genre - 'Los Galgos'
- a moody Spanish opener which just makes you glad
Zonn is back in black.

'Mes parents' is full of subtle poppy chord changes
and pulls you in as you try to keep up translating with
a grade B in GCSE French - this is quite brilliant John.

'When science meets art' with it's intricate waltzy
hooks and lunatic narrative is its equal.

I'm serious when I say you have blown your previous
high standard out of the water - this is a very
addictive e.p. - listened to it several times already.

The artwork is excellent too.

We demand an album."

- Ginge (from 'Up Holster')

1."With the proliferation of singer-songwriters available for
your delectation how do you manage to separate the
wheat from the chaff? Well my friend this is where I
come in, pointing you in the direction of John Zonn.
"Who?" I hear you cry. Well that doesn't really matter,
you just need to feel the warmth of the acoustic
songs that make up 'Portfolio Career', a selection of
songs from John's back catalogue re-recorded first
take in the studio. This decision is one that pays
dividends, as the rough unpolished edges are one of
the things that makes these songs special. The other
is that he writes lyrics that are at turns, funny,
heartfelt, happy, sad and much more about a range of
everyday subjects. The album features some intricate
guitar playing which can almost appear flamenco
at times ('You Make Me Melt') and some accentuated,
near crooning vocals. If by nothing else the
album justifies itself over the space of one song,
the heart rendingly sad 'Hands Of The Brewery'."

"If you like your music melodic, thoughtful and unaffected
you could do much worse than check out John Zonn."

- Russell Barker (Russell's Reviews Online Music Magazine)

1."Hello John, thank you so much for that CD - it is very
brilliant - I like the lo-fi casio drums and cute
handclaps - it's a cracker of a song too - really.
Sara really likes it too and put it on herself again
when I was in the bath.

You have GOT to record another 7 or 8 songs using
this production method - and put together an album
- I can hear a lot of time and love has gone into it.

I salute you over and over again,

- Baby Ginge (Songwriter from 'Up Holster')

2."I loved it!!!"

- DJ Chotvacs (Late Film & TV Scriptwriter)

3."I like it, he's got a good voice. It's as good
as anything you hear on the bloody radio..."

- Sara's mother

4."Like this one its unusual good tempo goes with the voice."

- Jem Allaway (

5."Lovely!! Gerry and The Pacemakers meets Bob Marley (- real easy groove."

- Terry Songs (

1."Thanks John. Enjoyed your songs, gentle and honest.
I liked 'Bless those Blues' and 'Night of the Moths' best".

- Mike Russell (Author)

2. "Sometimes Tom Robinson, sometimes Dinner Ladies, and
a superb anthology of 80s-tinged folkpop. A tiptop
achievement, hats off old bean. I’m in no position to
truly comment on the songwriting performance because
I’m thick, slow, shallow and possess no poetic soul,
but I liked the sentiments and the use of the words
themselves as instrument...
...Thanks for sending me a copy, I really
enjoyed it, as did Finlay, and will keep it for future
listening. Good luck in future performances and I
hope this finds you well."

- Famous Dave (Ex-Drummer from 'Header' and
'the Budgies', now House-husband)

3."That Moths song should be a number one!"
"Mature songs about everyday things."

- Steve Risby (Artist)

4."Today I was inspired by your 'Mucky Pup' song
and spent two hours cleaning up and down."

- John Francis Cross (Spoken Word Performance Artist)

Commenting on the tune: 'Englisserator/Oogenesis':

1. "A good strange title for some good proper
weirdness, nice hissy ambience. Hooray for
lofi experimentation! Delays sound dirty n'
retrotastic, all rather oogenistically intriguing".

- Gee Unit (Carbon Logic website member)

2."Same as above, I like this good work!"

- DHW (Carbon Logic website member)

Commenting on the tune: 'Skinheads in Uniform':

3. "Hi, your talent is really great! You should set
up a free account at
and upload & sell some of your stuff there. I
gave you 5 stars cause you truly deserve it.
Have a great day! ~ Check me out too :) ~

- Briana-Mariaah (Carbon Logic website member)

4. "Top tracks, John!! Belladonna Baby is superb!"

- BigDim (From 'Darkside - The Floyd Experience')


Commenting on the tune: 'Obzedrolliscool':

1. "Honky tonk, lo fi. Enjoyed it, like a slice of
trout mask replica.... or something like that".

- Hi Rise (Carbon Logic website member)

2."Lovely film foley".

- Gee Unit (Carbon Logic website member)

Free-soloing Chapel Rock at Marazion, Cornwall. August 2012

Radio Gets Wild Silver Artist Award 2005

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