Punk man bares soul

Singer’s new de­par­ture

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Me­lanie Bonn

A pop­u­lar Perthshire singer is cel­e­brat­ing over two decades in the mu­sic scene with a new al­bum.

Trag­i­cal His­tory Tour, aka Der­rick John­ston, has his al­bum Apho­risms com­ing out on Fri­day, April 20.

Much has changed in the 21 years since he started out. In fact, Der­rick, orig­i­nally from Alyth, did his first show in 1997 in a Girl Guides hut.

“We were a ter­ri­ble two­piece, we didn’t know much, we were 15 and 16,” he ex­plained.

“My un­cle and his coun­try friends took us under their wing and taught us a bit about PA sys­tems and how to be­have gen­er­ally.”

He’s fresh from play­ing from his soul-bar­ing new LP at Perth’s Twa Tams last Fri­day, he played Alyth Town Hall on Satur­day with Holy Snakes and Cal­lum Tosh, plus spe­cial guest Ni­cola Madill.

Der­rick told the PA this work is a mes­sage from him, a mu­si­cian now 35, who’s seen lots of things and learnt hard lessons.

“I lived in Perth dur­ing

Der­rick per­forms on new work Apho­risms. Pic Gor­don MacKen­zie

2007, I had no fixed abode for a while, I was out on tour three out of four weeks so it didn’t make sense to pay to have a fixed ad­dress. I stayed with bud­dies, crashed on so­fas,” said the singer, front­man and gui­tarist who now stays in Dundee.

His per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences have pro­voked him to of­fer his help in char­ity work with the Sa­mar­i­tans, Ad­dac­tion and LGBT Youth Scot­land amongst oth­ers.

“When the punk band I was in en­joyed some suc­cess, ev­ery­body lost their minds,” he said. “We were at it ham­mer and tongs. Jobs were lost, re­la­tion­ships hit the wall.”

In 2012 things hit a par­tic­u­larly rough patch when he had to go out on tour a day af­ter his fa­ther died. Der­rick said that marked a very bad time in his life.

He kicked some of the con­fu­sion of the past when he went sober in 2014, but it led to a dif­fer­ing out­look to the mu­si­cians he was work­ing with.

“I recog­nised I’d suf­fered since for­ever from de­pres­sion, and mu­sic was a way to stay well for me.

“When gui­tarist Jamie and I went our sep­a­rate ways I thought to my­self, ‘what do I do now?’ so I grabbed my acous­tic gui­tar and this al­bum is what has emerged some time later.”

Apho­risms is a step away from the punk he is known for, the mu­sic is just him and his acous­tic gui­tar, speak­ing of death, love, loss, re­demp­tion, grat­i­tude, tran­scen­dence, re­gen­er­a­tion and trans­for­ma­tion.

The LP’s art­work uses his long term friend Gor­don MacKen­zie from Coupar An­gus, a grad­u­ate of Dun­can of Jor­dan­stone Col­lege, who also took the brood­ing promo shots as MacKen­zie Foto.

The EP ‘Old Words’ came out last Septem­ber, and two tracks were re­leased ear­lier last year, ‘Field Record­ings’ and ‘Come on Home, Hero’.

See https:// trag­i­cal­his­to­ry­tour. band­camp.com


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