JOHN OTWAY'S MISSION TO MONTSERRAT
Donaldson Romeo & John Otway
LONDON, October 2016: For the first time in over 25 years, the small Caribbean island of Montserrat has played host to a rock recording session, with UK artist John Otway being the first artist to record a new album there since the Rolling Stones recorded 'Steel Wheels' in 1989. Otway arrived there recently along with a party of 50, including his band, producer Chris Birkett, film-makers, PR and a bunch of fans, to lay down tracks for his new album, 'A Postcard From Montserrat' which was crowd-funded on Kickstarter.
Sound equipment was flown in from the UK, Canada and the States and installed in the basement of Olveston House, formerly home of the late Sir George Martin. Permission was given by the Martin family to construct a temporary studio as the original Air Studios was out of the question, being dilapidated and too dangerous after the volcano eruption. However Malcolm Atkin, who helped build the original Air Studios, came out to put the studio together and said it was just like the best of atmospheres from the old days. Recording consultant Peter Filleul was also there, while producer Chris Birkett flew in from Toronto.
New musical equipment was also flown in from Miami and was left behind when the group departed. "I wanted to give something back to the island" said Otway, best known for his 1977 hit 'Really Free' and 2002's 'Bunsen Burner'. "Hopefully this equipment will allow young Montserratians and any other stars who want to follow in our footsteps to carry on making music there long after we've gone. I'm also delighted that Premier Donaldson Romeo agreed to accept them from us on behalf of the people of Montserrat. Indeed, Premier Romeo did so much to ensure that this whole venture happened, and smoothly too, that it seemed the least we could do and a fitting way to show our gratitude."
Premier Romeo responded "It has been extremely exciting to welcome an international artist to the island again. On behalf of the people of Montserrat, I thank John for his very generous gift. I hope that it heralds a new era of music here and that some green musical shoots have truly been planted."
A film of the whole experience is also in the pipeline, a process that has already been going on for nine months. It is being directed by Steve Barker, the man behind the successful documentary 'Rock 'N' Roll's Greatest Failure: Otway The Movie'.
Photos by Judy Totton.
John Otway Homepage
John Otway Facebook