Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

John Otway and theremin – picture courtesy of John Otway press

John Otway returns to Hastings for gig number 5,171

The legendary rock and roll genius John Otway chats to Jude Montague ahead of his gig at The Pig on Wednesday 21 February.

This gig at The Pig music venue will be gig number 5, 171 for Otway. He first played in the town on 13 November 2001 at the White Rock Theatre. Second gig was as part of the Word About Festival on 18 September 2004 and the third at the Black Horse Festival on 26 May 2008. The fourth was at the Brass Monkey on 16 April 2011 and the fifth and the sixth at The Fountain (NOT the Marina Fountain but The Fountain public house on Queen’s Road) on 9 March and 12 October 2017.

This will be Otway’s first gig here since the Covid and lockdown interruptions changed everything for touring musicians, at least temporarily.

The 2013 documentary Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure (Otway the Movie), which was made for his 60th birthday, is syndicated on Netflix, reaching new and younger audiences as well as those who were around to remember the punk 1970s Really Free with Wild Willy Barrett and John Otway. He became part of the Stiff Records stable in the very early 1980s, although he wasn’t on the famous tours, unlike Wreckless Eric (who also played at The Pig, on 25 October 2023).

John Otway – picture courtesy of John Otway press

Over the phone we discussed how he had come to make his most recent record at AIR studios on Montserrat, the studio of George Martin, the famous producer known for his work with the Beatles. Martin had died before the session but gave it his blessing. And Otway became the first to record at his studio after the terrible disaster of the terrifying eruption of 1995. Then the capital was destroyed; the south part of the island is still an exclusion zone today.

As an early visitor to return to work on Montserrat, Otway was granted the exciting opportunity to fly in a helicopter over the volcano with the monitoring teams. It was a fascinating privilege but most of his time was spent in the studio. Released in May 2017 his album was simply called Montserrat. It was backed by The Big Band and recommended tracks include There’s a War Going On and Dancing with Ghosts.


John Otway performs at the ‘Montague Armstrong Presents’ series at The Pig Backroom Sessions on Wednesday 21 February, 7.30pm. 

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Posted 18:52 Monday, Feb 12, 2024 In: Music & Sound

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