John Payne (singer)

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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 founder member Geoff Downes, replacing vocalist/bassist John Wetton. During Payne's tenure, Asia released 8 studio albums, several live albums 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.

Asia Featuring John Payne[edit]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

TV, film and stage[edit]

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.[7]

In May 2010, Payne's likeness was used in an episode of Family Guy ("The Splendid Source").[8]



External links[edit]