Alexei Berrow of Johnny Foreigner live at Reading 08
|Genres||Indie rock, punk rock, noise pop|
|Years active||2006 – present|
Swerp Records, Best Before Records, Nettwerk
Junior Elvis Washington Laidley
Johnny Foreigner are an indie rock four-piece from Birmingham, England, consisting of guitarist/lead vocalist Alexei Berrow, drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley, guitarist and visual artist Lewes Herriot, and bassist Kelly Southern. They are currently signed to Alcopop! Records for the UK and worldwide, and Swerp Records for the USA; their previous label was Best Before Records, which is part of the artist management and nightclub concern Mama Group/ChannelFly Group.
Johnny Foreigner play at venues across the UK, and made their live US debut on 30 November 2007, supporting Delaware's Spinto Band and Cardiff-based indie pop band Los Campesinos! at the Bowery Ballroom.
The “prototype” Johnny Foreigner formed as “a country band with pretensions” (according to Alexei) with Kelly’s predecessor Daniel Boyle on bass in December 2005. Boyle left Johnny Foreigner and now plays in London band Gentle Friendly. Prior to his leaving the original Johnny Foreigner line-up released We Left You Sleeping and Gone Now, a self-produced album recorded in 2005 in a hand-made edition of 40 copies. Liz [possibly Hamblin], Rob [surname unknown] and Seb [Lenton] (of Distophia) are also credited on the album.
The band's first single, "Sometimes In The Bullring/Camp Kelly Calm", was recorded on Laundrette Recording Company and issued in October 2006; 300 copies were made and sold. The second single, released 21 May 2007, was a split with fellow Birmingham act Sunset Cinema Club and featured the track "Yes! You Talk Too Fast", as well as a cover of Sunset Cinema Club's "Ninki. vs Dingle", whilst SCC covered Johnny Foreigner's "Candles".
After signing to Best Before Records in 2007, the band issued the EP Arcs Across The City in November of that year. The EP was rated 10/10 by popular online music magazine Drowned In Sound. They released their third single, "Our Bipolar Friends/The Houseparty Scene Is Killing You" on 10 March 2008, which nearly sold out its initial issue of 1,000 copies before it was even released.
The band's fourth single "Eyes Wide Terrified" was released on 18 May 2008, in the run-up to the album. Their next single "Lea Room/DJ's Get Doubts", was released in the UK on 12 January 2009.
On 2 June 2008, Johnny Foreigner released their debut album, Waited Up 'til It Was Light.
In addition to the commercially available releases, Johnny Foreigner packaged 15 demos in July 2007 and made them available for free download under the title I Like You Mostly Late at Never.
On 30 March 2009, while on tour supporting Hundred Reasons, Alexei announced that the band had finished recording their second album and it would be coming out later that year. Their second album Grace and the Bigger Picture was released on 26 October.
On 10 September 2010, the band announced their departure from Best Before and arrival to Alcopop! Records. Their first release with them was the EP You thought you saw a shooting star but yr eyes were blurred with tears and that lighthouse can be pretty deceiving with the sky so clear and sea so calm, which at one point was titled There When You Need It.
The band undertook their first North American tour in October 2010, supporting Los Campesinos! mostly along the eastern seaboard. To fund the tour, the band re-issued We Left You Sleeping and Gone Now (with ...also added to the title) and Everyday Is a Constant Battle with bonus tracks. They also released a bootleg of them supporting Los Campesinos! at the London Garage on 15 July 2010 filmed by Dan Gardner.
The EP Certain Songs Are Cursed was released on Alcopop! in April 2011 as a limited-edition CD attached to the underside of a frisbee. In September 2011, the single (Don't) Show Us Your Fangs / The Hand That Slaps You Back was released digitally with the option of stickers promoting the upcoming album.
Their 17-track third LP Johnny Foreigner vs Everything was released on CD/MP3 through Alcopop! on 7 November 2011. A double vinyl release -- the band's first full-length in this format -- will be out on 16 July 2012 through Alcopop!. The fourth side features three songs from the Certain Songs are Cursed EP and two B-sides.
In late April 2012 as a prelude to the festival season, the band announced the addition of their longtime cover/merch artist Lewes Herriot as second guitarist. In July 2012 the band announced that they would be splitting up following completion of their Summer tour dates. Several minutes later they announced they were reforming for a 'Reunion Tour'.
On 1 October 2012, the band announced the late October release of a new EP, Names, on Alcopop! in the UK and Chicago-based Swerp Records in the U.S. The EP will be released as a digital download, with the Alcopop! version coming with a set of badges, and the Swerp version a T-shirt. An accompanying tour of the eastern and midwestern United States was also announced with Canadian dates to follow.
- WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow - Self-Released (2005)
- Waited Up 'til It Was Light - Best Before Records/Nettwerk (North America) (2008)
- Grace and the Bigger Picture - Best Before Records (2009)
- Johnny Foreigner vs Everything - Alcopop! Records (2011)
- Arcs Across the City - Best Before Records (2007)
- Feels Like Summer - Best Before Records (2009)
- Every Cloakroom Ever - Self Released (2010)
- Johnnyforeignerisaces (Hearts Edition) - Self Released (2010)
- You Thought You Saw a Shooting Star but Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears and That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving With the Sky So Clear and Sea So Calm - Alcopop! Records (2010)
- There When You Need It (2010 non-album tracks) - Self Released (2011)
- Certain Songs are Cursed - Alcopop! Records (2011)
- You vs Everything - Alcopop! Records (2011)
- Names - Alcopop! Records/Swerp Records (2012)
- Sometimes In The Bullring/Camp Kelly Calm - Laundrette Recording Company (2007)
- Yes! You Talk Too Fast/Ninki vs. Dingle (split 7" w/Sunset Cinema Club) - Laundrette Recording Company (2007)
- Our Bipolar Friends/The Houseparty Scene Is Killing You - Best Before Records (2008)
- Eyes Wide Terrified - Best Before Records (2008)
- Salt, Peppa and Spinderella - Best Before Records (2008)
- Cranes and Cranes and Cranes and Cranes - New Slang Records (2008)
- DJ's Get Doubts/Lea Room - Best Before Records (2009)
- Feels Like Summer - Best Before Records (2009)
- Criminals - Best Before Records (2009)
- The Big Love In (Split single with Stagecoach) - Alcopop! Records (2010)
- (Don't) Show Us Your Fangs / The Hand That Slaps You Back - Alcopop! Records (2011)
- Everyday is a Constant Battle - Self Released (2006)
- I Like You Mostly Late At Never - Self Released (2007)
- Live at Wichiten - Self Released (2010)
- See http://www.drownedinsound.com/bands/9408; see also http://www.drownedinsound.com/articles/3030376
- Best Before Records http://www.bestbeforerecords.com/
- See http://jbreitling.blogspot.com/2007/12/that-was-show-that-was-johnny-foreigner.html
- See http://deathtomusicblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/interview-johnny-foreigner.html
- http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=737848; see also http://www.drownedinsound.com/bands/9408
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