Gutter Brothers

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Gutter Brothers
Origin London, England
Genres Skiffle, Blues-rock
Years active 1985–1993 and 2003–present
Website Official website
Members Tony Green (Vocals, Washboard)
Chris Cawte (Guitar, vocals)
Steve Turner (Bass, vocals)
Jeff Walker (Drums, vocals)
Tom Cawte (Guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Past members Dennis Johnson (deceased)
John Woodall (aka Johnny Reptile)
Gary Reynolds (deceased)
Olivier Poisonnet
Jean-Luc Dollet
Anthony Aldridge
Cliff Stoddard
Dave Bounce

The Gutter Brothers are an English skiffle and rock band which was active from 1985 until 1993. Since 2003 they have reformed for increasingly frequent live performances and some recording.

They formed in early 1985 after singer and washboard player Tony Green arrived in London from his native New Orleans and met Tea Chest Bass player Dennis Johnson performing on the street in Covent Garden with skiffle duo Slap and Tickle. Over the course of the following eighteen months there were several personnel changes but towards the end of 1987 the line up had stabilised with the addition of guitarists Chris Cawte and Steve Turner and drummer Jeff Walker.

Up to this point their repertoire had largely consisted of skiffle versions of blues and R'n'B standards. During the preceding year Dennis Johnson had started producing lyrics which the rest of the band had begun putting to music and so in early 1988 they wrote and recorded a self-financed album entitled Isometric Boogie which they sold on the street and at an increasing number of self promoted gigs in and around London. The album was produced by old friend Jez Coad (who subsequently produced all the rest of the band’s released material) and went on to sell around 30,000 copies.

Whilst still in the process of recording the album they were spotted playing on the street and invited to play on the LWT series First Exposure alongside a then relatively unknown Steve Coogan. This led to them being asked to play live on MTV Europe, the first band to do so on the recently launched channel. Other TV appearances over the following year included ITV’s Night Network and Juke Box Jury hosted by Jools Holland.

Through 1989 and 1990 the band moved away from the skiffle style of Isometric Boogie towards a harder rock based sound. A second album was written and recorded with a London based production company but the major label release they sought did not materialise so the deal was scrapped and the album never released. Meanwhile the band was touring relentlessly through the UK and Europe, building up a large following in the process.

In the autumn of 1991 they were approached by Central TV to write the theme music for a comedy drama series starring Harry Enfield, Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent and Warren Clarke called Gone to the Dogs. The soundtrack was released on the Demon Records F-Beat label, and at the end of the year they provided the soundtrack music for the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Miami Twice", which included a cover version of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s "Summer in the City".

In mid-1992 Dennis Johnson announced he would leave the band as a performing member having grown tired of the constant touring but would continue in his role as lyricist. Steve Turner moved to electric bass, the band released the Failsafe EP to showcase the altered line up and embarked upon a national UK support tour with Dr. Feelgood. More material was written and a new album was mooted but in early 1993 the band decided to call it a day. A final concert at London’s Mean Fiddler was filmed and subsequently released through the band’s fan network as the live album and video Already Dead.

Following Dennis Johnson’s untimely death in 2002, the rest of the band reunited at his funeral and wake where they were persuaded to play a few songs. This led to plans for a memorial concert in London the following year, and the enthusiastic response convinced them to continue to perform live on an occasional basis. More appearances followed on a roughly annual basis until 2007 when they decided to write some new material around previously unused Dennis Johnson lyrics. The resulting album El Krusho (the title refers to an old nickname of Dennis) was released through the band website in August 2008.

In September 2014 the band recorded a studio album consisting of new versions of material originally intended for the unreleased second and fourth albums. This album, tentatively entitled Mother Primeval, should be released in the first half of 2015.

Since 2008 Chris Cawte's son Tom has usually joined the band for live performances on guitar and keyboards and he participated in the recording of Mother Primeval.

Discography[edit]

  • Isometric Boogie (1988)
  • Gone to the Dogs (1991)
  • The Failsafe EP (1992)
  • Already Dead (1993)
  • El Krusho (2008)

External links[edit]