||Many bands claim to have a
manifesto, a glib collection of insincere declarations and half hearted
gestures professing that they want to change the world, without ever
actually doing anything. Johnny Panic are one band to break the mould
for they mean what they say, revelling in a challenge and refusing to go
down without a fight. The London based band return after a line-up
change, a label reshuffle, and censorship from the masses, but now
they're ready to take on the world with a new album and single. The
question is, are you ready?
Blending killer hooks and infectious melodies with a political and
social awareness, the band refuse to shy away from difficult subjects.
Frontman Rob Solly thinks the ethos of the band is vital, now more than
ever; "There's an ethic missing from a lot of bands" he explains. "We
live in a society that refuses to question. That's where rock 'n' roll
comes in. We're not here to shove them down people's throats, but every
single one of our songs is trying to get something across."
It's this desire for change that inspired the likes of 'Burn Your
Youth', focusing on mental health issues and suicidal tendencies in
young men, while 'Automatic Healer' tackles prostitution and the
marginalisation of the women and men involved. Elsewhere, 'Chemical
Girlfriend' confronts our attitude to drugs in today's society, and
Ghandi inspired 'Minority Of One' could be described as their calling
card, a statement of intent. It's this attention to detail that marks
Johnny Panic out from the crowd.
A whirlwind four years after the band formed (involving a fateful
meeting on a bus and car prang after an audition, no less) the
South-London lads have graced stages from Donington's Download to
Tokyo's Summersonic, and more recently Switzerland for Quiksilver's
Wheels & Waves festival. In between jet-setting across the world JP
found the time to release 2005's 'The Violent Dazzling' to critical
acclaim, and released several singles. Not ones to avoid controversy,
the video for last single 'Automatic Healer' was banned from most
channels, after the band decided to use a real-life 'working girl'
instead of an actress polished to within an inch of her life in the
video. It's this reaction that fires the band on, adding fuel to the
fire to strive to be heard.
A line-up change in 2006 saw original bassist Nash Francis step down to
continue with other projects, including still managing the bands
artwork. Say hello then, to Sean Mannion. "I was on my way to getting a
9-5 job when Johnny Panic came up. I went to the audition only to hold
up proceedings with a cigarette break before I'd even played a note! As
promised when we first spoke on the phone, Rob made me a cup of tea."
Several PG Tips later, Sean joined the band and the rest is history.
After a baptism of fire for the new boy with a well-received gig in
London, the band holed up in the studio for their as-yet-untitled follow
up album, and a single has been chalked in for August 28th, with 'Happy
Together' available for download and on limited addition 7" vinyl ahead
of the album release.