John Verity began his music career in the early 1960's, playing guitar in various local groups around his home town of Bradford, Yorkshire, until he was offered a full time gig with a pro band the ‘Richard Kent Style’. Soon gigging – sometimes twice a night, 7 nights a week all across the UK and Europe, the band became tight in the way that only a hard working band can.
‘My first band with a real rhythm section (Al Powell on drums & Harvey Rose on bass) that sounded to me, as good as the American records we tried to emulate. The band was a six piece complete with brass section, and soon in addition to the R&B material in the set there was some Chicago Blues to get my teeth into - amazing!’
By the spring of 1970 the Kent Style had morphed into ‘Tunnel’. Living and working in the US, doing prestigious support slots with many of the big names of the day including Jimi Hendrix (July 5th 1970 – 2 days after JV’s 21st birthday), Mountain, Canned Heat, Savoy Brown, and Janis Joplin. Very soon, Tunnel would morph into the very first John Verity Band, formed in Miami later that year. On his return to England in 1971, John secured a contract with producer Steve Rowland to record his first solo album for ABC Dunhill/Probe records, 'John Verity Band', which was released in the spring of 1973. John is pictured right, with Steve Rowland and Head of Probe records Dave Chapman at the signing of the contract.
Whilst on tour promoting the album, JV was spotted by Rod Argent who was looking for new lead vocalist for his band following the departure of Russ Ballard. John eventually joined Argent late in 1973 and there followed a period of intense recording and touring until the band decided to come off the road late in 1976. Argent never did go back on the road, and decided to disband, at which point John became involved with various new projects both as Artist and Record Producer.
First of all, along with Bob Henrit and Jim Rodford he formed Phoenix, which soon signed to CBS records. The original line-up recorded the first album and toured Europe before recruiting Ray Minhinnet to share the guitar-playing duties in time for the second album scheduled for release on Rocket Records. During this time Jim Rodford left to join the Kinks, and the line-up remained a 3 piece for the recording of In Full View for Charisma Records. John produced the Phoenix albums and co-produced the Charlie album ‘Good Morning America’ as well as the first Saxon album during this time, and decided to divide his time between sessions and record production whilst Bob Henrit teamed up with Jim Rodford once again by joining the Kinks.
The next few years were spent in recording studios throughout the world, producing, playing guitar, or doing backup vocals with various acts including Motorhead, Tank, Ringo Starr, Russ Ballard, Colin Blunstone, Brian Connolly, John Parr, BowWowWow and The Searchers amongst many others, until late in 1981 when PRT Records MD Matt Haywood asked JV to record a comeback album.
By now living in his native Yorkshire, John had built his own 38-track studio achieved by synchronising together 24 and 16 track tape machines - state of the art at the time, and had moved into full time record production. The Matt Haywood offer meant that JV could get back out on the road again to promote the album, and touring always seemed to bring out fresh ideas... "Interrupted Journey", released under the name Verity in 1982, was highly acclaimed in the UK, USA and Europe and successfully relaunched Johns performing career, as he once again took to the road. John was approached by many big name acts for recording and performing projects during this period - Mike Rutherford of Genesis wrote three songs for inclusion on JV’s next set of recording sessions, and both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake used John on their current recording projects.
The next two albums "Truth Of The Matter" and "Rock Solid" were also well received, and John soon had offers to join various name bands including MSG, Ted Nugent, and Asia which he declined, deciding instead to come off the road to record an album with newly reformed Zombies. This project took the best part of a year and was mostly recorded at Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland and finished in London... After a short break John was soon back on the road again with John Coghlan's Diesel Band (Status Quo), in the UK and Europe, before reforming his own Band for similar venues and recording here in the UK. In 1992 John decided to re-locate, away from his native Yorkshire to rural Bedfordshire and closer to friends from the Argent days.
Since the move south the JV Band gigs have continued, with different line-ups chosen from a shortlist of fine musicians. At the 1994 Manchester Festival "Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary" concert, JV guested, along with many Rock Legends past and present including Sonny Curtis, Frankie Miller and Rory Gallagher. Johns performance of "Stay With Me Baby" was one of the high spots of the evening, bringing the capacity crowd at the Manchester Free Trade Hall to its feet!
During this period JV also did vocal sessions for 3 episodes of the Granada TV series "Full Stretch", (1991) and another guest spot with the 'Strat Pack', for the Australia Day (1995) celebrations at the Hippodrome in London's West End. 2000 saw a major gigging project with a 32 date UK tour, opening the show on the Jools Holland Sex Jazz and Rock'n'Roll tour at major venues including Manchester Opera House, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and the London Albert Hall. After this, it was back to his regular gigging routine. Festivals across the UK and mainland Europe, recording and writing sessions keep the man busy.
JV always said that live work was his first love and that holds as true today as ever. After playing the Cambridge Rock Festival in the summer of 2009 JV and the band went into the studio once more – The resulting recordings were released April 2010: VERITY – A Phoenix Still Rising... yet another stage in JV's amazing journey... The plan was for Phoenix to go back on the road, but things didn't quite work out so JV repackaged some of the tracks and added 3 new originals, to form 'Verity - Rise Like The Phoenix' instead. Back on the road the band worked solidly until mid-2011 when JV went back into the studio. This time the aim was to record some of John's favourite blues material - some of which goes back to the very earliest bands that he had played in. Bob Henrit, Steve Rodford, Mark Griffiths, Andy Childs and Keith Weir were asked to work on these tracks at different times during a busy few months to complete the album in time for release in December 2011. 'It's a Mean Old Scene' is Verity's strongest so far, and new dates are in the diary - early 2012 and the band is on the road again... first major date being the GB Rock & Blues Festival, which video'd successfully to provide a lasting record of this excellent gig... featured musicians in the JV Band for this one were Steve Rodford on drums, and bassist Mark Griffiths. 2012 was to prove a landmark year for JV in a number of ways - first of all a chance meeting with guitar guru Trev Wilkinson during which John impressed Trev with his ideas on guitar design, led to the development and release of the JV Signature model guitar. To give the guitar its full title - the 'Fret King Black Label Corona JV Signature model'.
Whilst the guitar was in development, John was inspired to try to complete all the links in the audio chain, and together with amp specialists began work on an amplifier worthy of the JV stamp of approval. The finished amp was soon a fixture of John's live setup - an all valve (tube) design following traditional values but with just the ingredients needed to get the 'sound in my head' as JV is quoted saying, on trying the combination of his new signature guitar and amp. The final 'icing on the cake' in this search for the perfect tone is the specially voiced loudspeaker made to JV specification with the help of Paul Seago at Tayden Loudspeakers in the UK.
2014 finds the band on the road as usual, interspersed with JV appearances to promote the JV signature products at music trade shows/ events, and the new album Tone Hound looks set to follow the success of It's a mean old scene, which charted in late 2013.
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