John Payne (singer)

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For other people with the same name, see John Payne.
John Payne
John Payne with his bass guitar.jpg
John Payne, 2011
Background information
Born (1958-09-29) 29 September 1958 (age 58)
Genres Hard rock, progressive rock, pop rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1980–present
Labels Devgel, InsideOut Music, Sony Music
Associated acts Asia Featuring John Payne, Asia, GPS

John Payne (born 29 September 1958) is a British musician, best known as the lead singer and bassist of Asia from 1992 to 2006 and, from June 2007, with Asia Featuring John Payne.

John Payne became the frontman of Asia in 1992 at the invitation of founding member Geoff Downes, replacing vocalist/bassist John Wetton. During Payne's tenure, ASIA released 8 studio albums, several live album and toured internationally. He is a founding and current member of modern progressive rock band GPS. He is also a guitarist, composer, recording engineer and record producer. He until recently was part of the Las Vegas production "Raiding the Rock Vault" at the Las Vegas Hotel.[1]


His first band were called Moonstone.[2] They toured the UK in the late seventies, opening for well-known groups such as Argent.

In 1986, he recorded a silver selling record with the band CCCP in Scandinavia. CCCP was a group that featured John on lead vocals with Johnny Cash's stepdaughter Carlene Carter sharing vocal duties.

He provided backing vocals on several solo albums by Roger Daltrey, including Under a Raging Moon (1985) and Can't Wait to See the Movie (1987).

Back in England, he and keyboardist Andy Nye (from the Michael Schenker Group) formed The Passion, enlisting the services of drummer Clive Burr (Iron Maiden), bassist Mel Gabbitas and the ex-Mike Oldfield guitarist Ant Glynne.

Payne was considered for a position in ELO Part II on guitar and vocals. For a year prior to joining Asia in 1991, he was chosen to replace Jeff Lynne as the lead vocalist in ELO, later to be named ELO Part II, but left because of protracted negotiations over the name.[3]


After the departure of John Wetton, Geoff Downes invited Payne to join the band as lead singer,[2] bassist, co-writer and co-producer. Payne and Geoff Downes continued together as Asia for 15 years, with several line-ups around them, until they stuck with Guthrie Govan (guitar) and Chris Slade (drums) in 1999. This line-up persisted through 2005, when Slade departed to be replaced by Jay Schellen.


In February 2006, Downes and Payne separated when Downes joined a reunion of the original Asia line-up. Payne, Govan and Schellen formed a new band, GPS, recruiting Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard on keys. An album "Window to the Soul" was released in 2006 and the band did a small scale tour with dates in the UK, US (Rosfest) and Japan. A new album, tentatively entitled "Dreamscape" was due in late 2010 or early 2011 but as of February 2014 has not been released.

Asia Featuring John Payne[edit]

When Downes split in 2006, Payne owned a significant portion of the rights to the band name "Asia". On 9 May 2006, John Payne, Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe contractually agreed that John Payne could continue his 14-year legacy with Asia as "Asia Featuring John Payne".[citation needed] Asia Featuring John Payne debuted in 2007 with Payne on vocals/bass, Guthrie Govan on guitar, Erik Norlander on keyboards and Jay Schellen on drums. This line-up toured the US through 2008.

In 2009, Govan was replaced by Mitch Perry and North American touring has continued through 2010. A studio album, originally called "Architect of Time" is underway and expected for release in 2010. A live album Extended Versions by Asia Featuring John Payne, was released in fall 2007, drawn from a December 2005 live show in Sweden with Downes, Schellen, Payne and Govan.

In 2009, an EP entitled "Military Man" was released with re-recordings of Payne-era Asia tracks "Military Man" and "Long Way from Home" and an Erik Norlander solo composition "Neurosaur", performed by Govan, Payne, Norlander and Schellen.

In 2014, a CD entitled "Recollections" was released, a cover album of UK Progressive Rock songs. As well as Producer, Vocalist and Bassist, Payne played most of the keyboards and some guitars. He was joined by Moni Scaria, Jeff Kollman and Jay Schellen. Also the video for the first single "Eye in The Sky" was shot in Vegas and includes an appearance from Alan Parsons.

In January of 2015 their long time manager Barry Solomon died unexpectedly from a heart attack at only 51.

2015. Work restarted on the long-awaited "Americana" CD and tour dates were booked from July.

Work outside Asia[edit]

In 2007, John formed Devgel Records and issued several albums of past solo work, including "C.C.C.P.", "The Passion" and Different Worlds which features essential recordings from Payne's history including his work with Asia, GPS, and his solo work including "Ride The Storm", "Song For You", and a cover of the Eagles hit "One of These Nights". In 2009, Payne released an EP entitled "Architects of Time".

In May 2010, Payne sang "Heaven and Hell" as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio at Dio's memorial service, at the request of Dio's family.

Guest vocal credits include "Song for You" by the Swiss rock band Lunatica, three albums by keyboardist Lisa LaRue and "Galactic Collective" by Erik Norlander.

On his own and as part of ASIA, Payne has engineered or produced many acts and albums including The Boys, The Passion and Colin Blunstone. Payne has toured with Kansas, Peter Frampton, Styx, Paul Rodgers, Dio, Uriah Heep, Night Ranger, The Fixx, Berlin, The Outfield, Ted Nugent and David Lee Roth. In the recording studio, Payne has also worked with Mike Oldfield, Simon Phillips and Steve Howe.

TV, film and stage[edit]

Payne sang for the Michelob USA "Nightmoves" TV campaign in 1987.[citation needed] Payne has scored music for the film The Darkness and, with Downes, the salmon documentary for the BBC Prince of Tides.

As a solo artist, Payne sang the title track to the film The American Way.[citation needed] Within Asia, he also sang the lead track "Lay Down Your Arms" on Freddie as F.R.O.7, an 1991 animated UK film.

In 2007, Payne played the part of Parson Nathaniel in the touring production of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.[4]

In May 2010, Payne's likeness was used in an episode of Family Guy ("The Splendid Source").[5]

In 2012 Payne Co-Created the Vegas Musical "Raiding The Rock Vault" after his ex manager Simon Napier-Bell came up with the idea of a touring troop of famous musicians playing the best classic rock covers.[citation needed] Co-Written with his friend, producer and industry pioneer, David Kershenbaum, their initial show was at "The Mayan Theater" in Los Angeles in November 2012. The cast featured ex members of Heart, Asia, Guns N' Roses, Quiet Riot, MSG and Badfinger. In January of 2013 they secured a full-time show at the LVH Hotel and Casino (formerly The Hilton) in Las Vegas. Payne also recruited Jon Anderson, Lou Gramm, Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Kimball and Mickey Thomas to guest in the show. The show garnered much acclaim becoming #1 Performance in Vegas on Trip-Advisor and in April 2014 #1 Vegas Musical (Best of Vegas).[citation needed] In September 2014, Payne sued the Producers after being suspended in May 2014 and an undisclosed settlement was made out of court.[citation needed] The show has since been re-written and has moved to The Tropicana. Payne currently is writing and casting his new musical.


He has been managed by Don Arden, Simon Napier-Bell, the late Barry Solomon and Bill Curbishley.



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • Live at the Town & Country
  • Live Acoustic
  • Live in Philadelphia
  • Live in Osaka
  • Live in Köln
  • America: Live in the USA

Live DVD[edit]

  • "America: Live in the USA" (2003)

Asia featuring John Payne[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Military Man [EP] (2009)
  • Recollections: A Tribute to British Prog (2014)

Roger Daltrey[edit]


  • Window to The Soul (2006)

John Payne[edit]

  • "Fly Away" b/w "Coming Home" 45 RPM single, Arrival Records (1984)
  • "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" (1984)
  • "Ride the Storm" (American Way film soundtrack, film also titled Riders of the Storm in some countries), released as a single b/w "Take the Money" (1987)
  • Different Worlds cd compilation of solo work and work with ASIA and GPS, Voiceprint (2007)
  • "Decoding the Lost Symbol" part of the Architects of Time project, CD EP (2009)

The Passion (with Andy Nye)[edit]

  • The Passion Voiceprint (2007)

Geoff Downes NDO[edit]

  • Vox Humana (1993)
  • World Service (1999)


  • Let's spend the Night Together (1986, reissued on cd 2007)


  • Edge of Infinity (2006)
  • Farewell My Love (2009)

Lisa LaRue[edit]

  • Transformation 2012 (2009)
  • World Class (2009)
  • Fast and Blue (2011)

Other Collaborations[edit]

  • "That's When The Crying Starts" with the band Stringer, Arrival records (1982)
  • "The Secret Affair" with the band Jupiter Red (1983)
  • "Baby Won't Phone" with the band Quadrascope (1983)
  • Bite The Bullet with the band Bite the Bullet (1989)
  • "Dark Horse" with the band That'll Be The Day (2002)
  • "Killer on the Loose" with Billy Sherwood, part of the A Tribute to Thin Lizzy project (2008)
  • "Firewolfe" – Debut album (2011). Mixing and mastering.
  • "The Mystic Technocracy" and "Loving the Alien" (a David Bowie cover), part of the The Mystic Technocracy – Season 1: The Age of Ignorance album by Docker's Guild (2012)


  1. ^ "Raiding The Rock Vault". Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hill, Gary. "Biography: John Payne". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved 11 June 2011. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved 11 June 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 15 July 2014. 

External links[edit]