James Johnston (English musician)

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James Johnston
JamesJohnston August2009.jpg
James Johnston performing at the Avantgarde Festival in Schiphorst, Germany, in August 2009.
Background information
Born1966 (age 52–53)
Guildford, Surrey, England
GenresAlternative rock
InstrumentsGuitar, electronic organ, vocals, violin, harmonica, piano.
Years activeLate 1980s–present
Associated actsGallon Drunk
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Lydia Lunch
PJ Harvey

James Johnston (born 1966, in Guildford, Surrey, England) is an English alternative rock musician and painter .


Musician and artist James Johnston founded the London-based alternative rock band Gallon Drunk in 1990 as frontman and main songwriter.[1] The group have been active, both recording and touring, to the present, releasing eight studio albums, compilations, and one live album, most recent being 2014's acclaimed 'The Soul Of The Hour'.

Johnston was a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from 2003 to 2008, having originally toured as a guest guitarist with the band in 1994 on the Lollapalooza tour.[1] He has also recorded and toured with a wide variety of other musicians, including Lydia Lunch (both solo and as the band Big Sexy Noise), French alternative rock group Ulan Bator, Barry Adamson, and as a member of legendary Krautrock band Faust, and recording and performing with PJ Harvey. Johnston has contributed scores to numerous film and television projects, most recently on the play The Nest, working together with PJ Harvey. He has collaborated with Ken Russell and acted for Olivier Assayas in his award-winning film Clean. Johnston released a solo album, The Starless Room, in November 2016 which was produced by Johann Scheerer who before produced Pete Doherty's solo album Hamburg Demonstrations.

Johnston is also a painter, originally working in hotel rooms while on tour with PJ Harvey. He is now a prolific figurative painter in a uniquely distinctive neo-expressionist style, creating original works and extremely limited runs of giclee prints of his paintings. His first exhibition was 'Linear' at Gallery 64a in the UK, Jan 2018 - with further exhibitions following.


  1. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2002) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 755-6

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