Greg Knight, Ian Cawsey, Pete Wishart and Kevin Brennan
|Origin||United Kingdom (Parliament of the United Kingdom)|
|Members||Greg Knight, Ian Cawsey, Pete Wishart and Kevin Brennan|
The band was founded as MP3 in 2004 by Pete Wishart (Scottish National Party, Perth and North Perthshire) on keyboards, Ian Cawsey (The former Labour MP, Brigg and Goole) on bass guitar and vocals, and Sir Greg Knight (Conservative, East Yorkshire) on drums. They were later joined by Kevin Brennan (Labour, Cardiff West) on guitar, and changed their name to reflect this. Wishart was previously keyboardist with Runrig and Big Country. Along with David Morris (Conservative, Morecambe and Lunedale) Wishart is one of only two current MPs to have appeared on Top of the Pops.
The band first came to media attention in 2003, when the project was described as being in its "early stages".
Three of the four members were re-elected at the 2010 General Election but bassist Ian Cawsey lost his seat. He remains a band member however, and the group has indicated they intend to continue with the same line-up.
At the 2017 General Election Brennan, Knight and Wishart were all re-elected to the House of Commons. Cawsey did not stand at the election.
In 2005, MP4 recorded an EP entitled House Music, which was initially released as a download by EMI, and later in CD format by Busy Bee Records. The EP features cover versions of the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love", Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" and Steve Earle's "My Old Friend the Blues", along with the Brennan-penned original "Foolish Game".
They recorded their first full album Cross Party produced by Robin Millar CBE, on Revolver Records. It was released in April 2010 and launched at the Speaker's House at Westminster. Eight tracks on the eleven-track album are band originals, with a bonus track remixed by Pete Waterman.
In November 2016 they recorded a single "You Can't Always Get What You Want" together with Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstall, David Gray, Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel and some members of the Parliamentary Choir under the name "Friends of Jo Cox" in tribute to the late MP who was murdered earlier in the year. A 6 minute full version of the track and a 4 minute edit, together with a video was released by Chrysalis Records on 16th December with all proceeds going to charity. In support of the initiative, the composers of the song, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, waived their royalties. The single peaked at number 2 on the Official Independent Singles Breakers Chart.
In 2017 they started work on a new, yet to be released, album with their producer Robin Millar CBE.
Appearances and achievements
In July 2007, the band backed Feargal Sharkey, formerly of the Undertones, in his first stage appearance in over 15 years, when he sang Teenage Kicks at the annual "Rock The Boat" party hosted by the British Phonographic Industry.
In 2008, MP4 were the subject of a special television short biography programme made by Sky and broadcast on the Sky Arts channel during the year.
In January 2009, MP4 made a guest appearance on BBC1's TV programme Your Country Needs You with the winning UK Eurovision hopeful Jade Ewen and the other two finalist acts – the Twins and Mark Evans. MP4 gave Jade some tips on 'how to win votes'.
In December 2009 they became the first rock group ever to play at the Palace of Westminster, when they performed a sell-out concert on the terrace of the House of Commons. For an encore they were joined once again on stage by Feargal Sharkey, who reprised his 'Undertones' hit "Teenage Kicks".
In September 2010 they performed at the Labour Party Conference in support of UK Music at a sell-out concert at Manchester's Night and Day Cafe.
On New Year's Eve 2010 they performed at a sell-out concert for MPs, peers and their guests, once again on the Terrace of the House of Commons. They were introduced to the celebrity audience (including amongst others government ministers, actor Ross Kemp and Welsh singer Duffy) by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow MP.
In December 2011 they were recognised as the ‘Alternative Parliamentary Entertainers' of the year at the fourth annual GovNet Awards held in the House of Lords.
In May 2012 MP4 became the first musicians to perform in the 900-year-old Westminster Hall. The oldest building on the UK Parliamentary estate, Westminster Hall has played a central role in British history, famously being the venue for the trial of King Charles I. On 24 May 2012, MP4 entertained an audience of approximately 1,000 people including MPs, Peers and Parliamentary staff.
In March 2013 they appeared at a sell-out concert in central London organised to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. During their set they were joined on stage by former Radio One DJ Mike Read, who performed the Cliff Richard hit "The Young Ones" with the group.
In March 2014 they performed a special 10th Anniversary concert at The Bedford music venue in London. They were joined on stage by Tony Moore of the Cutting Crew who performed his group's million-selling hit "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight" with MP4.
On 18 June 2014, at a band performance they were awarded a commemorative disc by the British music industry in recognition of their charitable fund raising, having raised over £1 million in the previous 10 years for numerous charitable causes including Macmillan Cancer Support. The award was presented to MP4 by Tony Wadsworth CBE and Geoff Taylor both of the British Phonographic Industry.
Commencing in September 2016, MP4 appeared as the regular House Band on the satirical television show Unspun broadcast by the Dave TV channel and starring comedian Matt Forde. It is believed[by whom?] that this is the first time ever that a band of politicians has performed regularly for a television show.
- House Music EP (2005) Busy Bee Records
- Cross Party (2010) Revolver Records
- You Can't Always Get What You Want (2016) Chrysalis Records (track released under the artist title 'The Friends of Jo Cox' and features MP4 with other artists)
- MP4 strike a chord with voters BBC Humber, 13 May 2005; Retrieved 2 September 2007
- Vote MP4! TheGuardian.com, 20 March 2005; Retrieved 1 March 2017
- House Music The Telegraph 11 December 2013; Retrieved 2 September 2007
- Rockin' MPs turn tables on Bono BBC News, 14 July 2005; Retrieved 2 September 2007
- Chart results from 23rd December 2016 Official Charts Company
- Isaby, Jonathan (9 July 2007). "MP4 and Feargal Sharkey Rock The Boat". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- 'Politicians are a good thing': can satire show Unspun humanise our MPs? TheGuardian.com, 12 September 2016