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John Richard Keith Townshend
31 July 1964
|Occupation||Presenter, journalist, mechanic, musician|
National Geographic Channel
|Known for||Drummer in various bands, solo musician, editorials in Practical Classics magazine and TV presenter on Car SOS|
John Richard Keith "Fuzz" Townshend (born 31 July 1964) is a British drummer, TV presenter of National Geographic Channel's Car SOS (also shown on Channel 4/More4), motoring journalist for Classic Car Weekly, former technical editor of Practical Classics, and mechanic. He is also Honorary President of the Triumph Sports Six Club.
The early years
Townshend's Afro hair was unique in his junior school and so, at seven years of age, his school chums renamed him Fuzz.
His mother won a Vauxhall Chevette in a national newspaper competition when he was ten; having never learned to drive, she instead opted to take the prize in cash instead and spent it buying her son a drum kit. After taking lessons from local jazz musician Al Reed, Townshend's stage debut was made in March 1977, aged just 12. By the end of the 1970s, Townshend had graduated to playing in clubs with college bands.
Townshend started an apprenticeship with the local bus company, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, working on buses at the PTE's Dudley garage. During his time at Dudley, he recorded his first two John Peel Sessions for BBC Radio 1 and released his first single which made its way into the NME indie charts.
Townshend joined former Beat singer Ranking Roger and his band General Public, which later toured the USA under the guise of 'Ranking Roger'. Local indie band Pop Will Eat Itself noticed him drumming with local acts and asked him to join. Townshend spent the next four and a half years drumming for the band, during which time they had successes in both the UK single and album charts and toured North America with Nine Inch Nails. Townshend started playing drums for the dance music outfit, Bentley Rhythm Ace.
His first solo release, "Hello Darlin", was released in 1996, and he eventually signed to Echo Records, in July 1997. The record charted at number 51 in the UK. However, he was now able to make his first solo album, Far In, which was eventually released in the UK in 1999 and the USA in 2001, the latter being on Stinky Records headed by chief MTV/VH1 lawyer Sabrina Silverberg. His second, self-titled album followed in 2002.
Townshend became a part-time college lecturer in 2004, lecturing in music practice and music technology and during this time, his old band PWEI decided to reform.
Townshend recently also drummed for The Wonder Stuff, and currently plays drums for The Beat (known in the U.S. as The English Beat).
Writing career and garage
Townshend's first job in journalism was for Practical Classics, going on to become Technical Editor until March 2011, when he decided to go freelance, as well as starting a new classic car restoration business, Westgate Classics.
In 2014, Townshend founded Classic Friendly Ltd, a network of classic car-friendly garages, offering comprehensive safety inspections for MoT test-exempt classic cars as well as standardised servicing regimes. He is also about to launch an inspection scheme for auction and online auction cars under the same CFL umbrella. In April 2019, a message posted on the Facebook page Classic Friendly Ltd confirmed that Townshend had resigned from the business around one year earlier, and that he had "no further dealings or influence with its direction or trading."
A TV production company invited Townshend to do a screen test audition for a new show, Car SOS, held at his garage. He was given the position and his businesses would feature as the show's location.
Townshend is also a passionate supporter of 'Classic Aware', a new campaign promoting the importance of having one's classic vehicle properly checked: in the light of new legislation scrapping MoT requirements for classic vehicles made before 1960.
- Far In (1999), Fruition
- Fuzz Townshend (2002), Stinky
- "Hello Darlin'" (1998), Fidelity Lo - UK no. 51
- "Get Yerself" (1998), Echo
- Tasty Big Ed (1998), Echo
- "Smash It" (1998), Echo
- "Dollar 97" (1999), Fidelity Lo - featuring Murphy
- "Bus" (1999), Fruition - featuring Noel
- "Y2K the Bug Is Coming" (1999), MBug - Ian Dury, Jim's Super Stereoworld & Fuzz Townshend
With Pop Will Eat Itself
- The Looks or the Lifestyle? (1992)
- Dos Dedos Mis Amigos (1994)
- A Lick of the Old Cassette Box - unreleased album (1996/2013)
- Young, Graham (2013) "Rockin' robbin'... Wonderstuff star steals cars - then does them up and returns them", Birmingham Mail, 3 February 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2014
- "Honorary President for the Triumph Sports Six Club". The Triumph Sports Six Club. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Rockin' robbin'... Wonderstuff star steals cars - then does them up and returns them". Birmingham Mail. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Fuzz Townshend", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 December 2014
- Woodside, Martin "Fuzz Townshend Review", Allmusic. Retrieved 9 December 2014
- Morgan, David (23 June 2015). "Iinterview: Fuzz Townshend on Car SOS, Lymm Transport Day and angry fans at Parr Hall". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "'Car SOS's Fuzz Townshend launches Classic Friendly garage scheme | | Honest John". classics.honestjohn.co.uk. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "Car SOS at New Base". London and Cambridge Properties. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- "S.O.S Workshop Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- National Geographic Channel series. "Fuzz's Car SOS on international channels". National Geographic Channel - Car SOS series.
- Angie, Voluti (15 April 2015). "Fuzz Townshend's Car S.O.S. first episode smashes records". AV-PR.
- Voluti, Angie (24 March 2015). "Classic Aware: you know your car? Prove it". AV-PR.
- "www.gov.uk - Getting an MOT".
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