Jon Fratelli performing with Codeine Velvet Club on 12 June 2010
|Birth name||John Paul Lawler|
|Also known as||Jon Fratelli, Jon Lawler|
|Born||4 March 1979|
|Genres||Alternative rock, garage rock, garage punk, post-punk revival|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals|
|Associated acts||The Fratellis, Codeine Velvet Club|
Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty
Jon Fratelli (born John Paul Lawler, 4 March 1979, Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish musician and songwriter best known for his work with the band The Fratellis. He has also played in a band called Codeine Velvet Club, and also performed as a solo artist.
Little is known about Lawler's life before he joined the Fratellis. He attended St. Maurice's High School and went to college before dropping out within three hours. Before joining the Fratellis, he played in an Oasis and Blur cover band.
The Fratellis (2005–2009;2012–present)
In 2005, Lawler responded to an advert placed in a music shop by drummer Gordon McRory, which stated "Opportunity of a lifetime ... seeks band to make our mark on the music industry". On this advert he put his name as "Graeme" to avoid detection of his then current band mates finding out he was seeking a new band. After calling the number, asking for "Graeme" he got told repeatedly that he had the wrong number, he nearly gave up but tried one more time and got a hold of McRory and the band started to form, with Barry Wallace joining the band on bass.
Lawler's role in the band is songwriter, lead vocalist and lead guitarist. He was initially accompanied on guitar by Mince Fratelli (Gordon McRory), but Mince switched to drums after the initial drummer did not work out. Writing credits for Costello Music are for The Fratellis, however, for Here We Stand and We Need Medicine, they are solely credited to him.
After playing the Coachella festival in California in 2007, during promotion of Fratellis' debut album Costello Music, Lawler decided to flee from the US tour and return to Glasgow, stating that he was too tired to continue the rest of the tour. He later saw this as a mistake, but it allowed him to be even more grateful for the success of the band. The band spent much of 2008 touring and after playing a few dates in 2009, the band parted ways for the foreseeable future. During this time, Jon started and finished Codeine Velvet Club and a stint as a solo artist.
On 4 June 2012, The Fratellis announced they had reformed to raise money for The Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund on 15 June 2012, marking nearly 3 years since they last shared a stage together. After a couple of initial gigs, to see how playing together again felt and to test audience interest, they recorded and released their third studio album before embarking on an extensive tour of the UK, the USA and Europe, with more dates coming in 2014.
News of a new The Fratellis album was announced on 1 June 2015, to be called Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied and released through Cooking Vinyl on 21 August 2015. The band gave away the first song from the album "Me and the Devil" through their website. The band also announced 3 small gigs in London, Birmingham and Glasgow for August 2015.
Codeine Velvet Club (2009–2010)
During promotion of Here We Stand, Lawler stated that he wished to create a solo album to keep himself busy once the band were done touring the album, with the band scheduled to take a break. It later emerged that he planned on teaming up with singer-songwriter Lou Hickey, whom he met due to her friendship with Lawler's wife, and creating an album. NME reported in an article that the band was set to be called Codeine Breakfast Club, however, on 23 August 2009, it was confirmed that the band had changed its name to Codeine Velvet Club.
While playing in this band Lawler reverted to using his proper surname. The band's debut album was to be released on 16 November 2009 (however, this was later pushed back to 28 December 2009). Lawler shares songwriting duties with Hickey for about half the tracks on the album, penning the other half by himself (one track, "Nevada" was co-written by Lawler and Will Foster). The duo took a live band (consisting of Ross MacFarlane on drums, Will Foster on keys and guitar, Lewis Gordon on bass and various horn players known as 'The Velvet Horns') for a tour of the UK in 2009 and the US in 2010, playing UK dates in 2010 also. However, Lawler decided that he could not commit to the band anymore and called an end to the band, finishing off what live dates they had and announcing his solo career, with Hickey returning to her solo career also.
Lawler started hinting towards a solo career when he set up a new MySpace page, with the track "Bonnie & Clyde" streaming on it, it was also noted that he began using the name Jon Fratelli again. While discussing the end of Codeine Velvet Club, Lawler confirmed his intentions of going solo, taking the backing musicians with him due to them playing well together. Since announcing he is going solo, Lawler has given away some tracks in demo form, including "Dead Street Affair", "She's My Shaker" and "Sometimes You Just Can't Win". For live shows in 2011, Lawler announced that Mince Fratelli would be joining him on the tour, sharing drumming duties with Ross McFarlane.
Psycho Jukebox (2010–2011)
Lawler played some solo shows before heading to Los Angeles in late 2010 to record his debut solo album, Psycho Jukebox with Tony Hoffer, who produced the first Fratellis' album. The title is a reference to the Fratellis' song "Nina", which is featured on the "Whistle for the Choir" single. During February 2011, Lawler released a free track via his website called "Rhythm Doesn't Make You a Dancer" which was to be on the album, and also gave away a free EP called The Magic Hour EP. Lawler stated that these songs couldn't fit on the album but he "still had a lot of time for them". The first single from the album was "Santo Domingo" which was released on 28 February 2011. The second single, "Baby We're Refugees!", was released on 12 June 2011.
- Lewis Gordon - Bass / backing vocals
- Will Foster - Keyboards / guitar
- Allan James - Drums
- Mince Fratelli - Drums / backing vocals / guitar
After embarking on a Scottish tour in March/April 2011, Lawler added two new tracks to Psycho Jukebox, which pushed its release date back to late July 2011. In a live podcast, Lawler stated that he is no longer able to add anymore tracks to the album due to the label's schedule, but states that they were worth adding to the album.
Bright Night Flowers (Cancelled)
Pictures were posted onto Lawler's Facebook page, showing him in the studio with his band. Lawler used his Twitter to inform people that he was in the studio, but didn't say what these sessions were for. It eventually emerged on 13 January 2012 that it was for a second solo album, as posted on Lawler's website. The post also gave a small 3 track peek at the album, the last song in the preview being "Dead Radio", a song that Lawler tried to add to Psycho Jukebox but the label had already locked down the release dates and track listing.
On 24 February 2012, Lawler announced on his website and Facebook that he has almost completed the album and that it is going to be titled Bright Night Flowers. He asked that his fans record sounds of their city during the morning and night so that they could be used on the album, and whoever helped would be mentioned on the album sleeve. The album was cancelled subsequently in favour of his career with the Fratellis.
In an interview with Wow 24/7, Jon had this to say about Bright Night Flowers:
"I actually made another record that will probably never see the light of day. I’m really happy with it, but as soon as I finished it I stuck it in a drawer and said: ‘Right, no one else is ever going to hear that’. It’s quite perverse to not release it, but I like that. I was only making it for me. It just needed to be done. I listen to it every so often and really enjoy it – I don’t want to spoil that."
For The Fratellis' debut album, Costello Music, Lawler mainly used a Fender Telecaster, with the exception of a few songs in which he used a Gibson Les Paul and a Gibson ES-335. With their second album Here We Stand, he used a Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Firebird, Rickenbacker 12 string, Gibson Les Paul, and an ES-335 for his electrics. For the acoustic performances, he used a Gibson SJ-200, a Gibson Hummingbird, and a Gibson J-45. During promotional performances of the album, Lawler was mainly using a Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty with Bareknuckle Mississippi Queen pickups (humbucker sized P-90's)
While playing in Codeine Velvet Club, live performances tended to use a red Fender Stratocaster and a rosewood Fender Telecaster. During his solo career and his third run with the Fratellis', preferred guitars are still Stratocasters' and Telecasters', with the Fratellis' tour exclusively using a red and white telecaster. His has been recapturing the early Fratellis' sound using this guitar again on tour.
Lawler likes to keep his personal life private and not many details of what he does outside of music is known. He resides in the town of Cumbernauld, north-east of Glasgow with his wife, Heather, whose burlesque name "Chelsea" he used for the Fratellis' hit single, Chelsea Dagger. Lawler has a son named Jamie, born 1999 to a girl Lawler was seeing when he was 18.
With The Fratellis
- Jon Fratelli: We hit the big time... and I ran away!
- Interview: Jon Fratelli, musician
- "The Fratellis announce new album 'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied' and new shows". Never Enough Notes (Never Enough Notes). 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- CVC Split - Post on Codeine Velvet Club forum
- Jon Fratelli - Twitter Post
- Jon Fratelli Forum Post
- Gear - Jon Fratelli