Uncle John & Whitelock

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Uncle John & Whitelock
Uncle John & Whitelock.jpg
Uncle John and Whitelock performing live 3 August 2005
Photo: Stephen Robinson
Background information
Origin Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Horror punk, Blues, Rockabilly, Surf, Psychobilly, Garage rock
Years active 2001–2006
Labels God Forgot Man
Associated acts Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers, Tut Vu Vu, Adopted as Holograph
Website Uncle John and Whitelock
Past members Jacob Lovatt - Guitar, vocals
Raydale Dower - Bass
Andrew Hobson - Drums (2001–02),
Guitar (2002–05)

Matthew Black - Drums (2002–06)
Nic Denholm - Keyboards (2002–05)
David Philp - Guitar (2004–06)
Jamie Bolland - Keyboards (2005–06)

Uncle John & Whitelock were a Horror punk band from Glasgow. They were active from 2001 to 2006 and were noted for their live shows which incorporated elements of performance art.


Lovatt and Dower with Uncle John & Whitelock, 2006

Uncle John & Whitelock was formed in 2001 by singer and guitarist, Jacob Lovatt, and bass player, Raydale Dower.[1][2] The three-piece line-up was completed with the addition of Andrew Hobson on drums.

The band was expanded to a five-piece line-up in 2002 with the addition of drummer Matthew Black and keyboard player Nic Denholm, Hobson moving to guitar. Denholm and Hobson left in early 2005, Denholm later moving to London to form psychedelic/powerpop four-piece The Snap Elect.[3] They were replaced by Jamie Bolland on keyboards and David Philp, formerly of Cannon, on guitar.

The band were supporters of the charity the Scottish Association for Mental Health, appearing on their One in Four CD. In October 2005, they appeared at an awareness-raising music festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia for World Mental Health Day.[4]

The band maintained a heavy gigging and touring schedule from 2004 to 2006, playing with bands as diverse as Franz Ferdinand,[5] Babyshambles[6] and The Fall.[7] Their final show was played on 23 December 2006 at King Tut's in Glasgow.[2][8]

Lovatt now fronts Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers;[9] Dower, Black and Bolland play in Musique concrète ensemble Tut Vu Vu;[10] and Philp in Gypsy folk combo Adopted as Holograph.[11]

Music and critical reception[edit]

Jamie Bolland
"THERE'S a storm gathering, an apocalyptic thing raging on the horizon. Black clouds, wind that will be rattling your bones, rain that will sting your eyes, a storm that will engulf you. That's what Uncle John And Whitelock are like: the sound of the end times, the last howls of those who refuse to succumb."
– Review of There is Nothing Else, Sunday Herald.[12]

The band quickly built a reputation for the originality of their live performances which incorporated elements of theatricality and performance art.[13] These performances might see the band playing on stage inside a specially constructed wooden shack, unseen by the audience, or with scratchy black-and-white, 16 mm film projected over the band as they played, giving the impression of an old silent movie.[14]

Live reviews often focused on Lovatt's stage presence, describing him for example as a 'demented frontman',[7] or a 'crazed urban preacher',[15] while the band as a whole were described as 'the best live band in Glasgow'[16] and 'perhaps the best undiscovered band in Scotland'.[17]

The music was described as 'steel-toed subterranean rock'[17] and 'frighteningly visceral blues',[18] and this blues sensibility, coupled with Lovatt's distinctive vocals, led to the band being compared with Dr John, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits and Nick Cave,[14][19] while their songs were noted for their disturbing and anarchistic content.[20]

Their recorded output was well received by critics, with their album, There Is Nothing Else given a five star review by The Sunday Herald[12] and placed at number 18 in The Skinny's Scottish Albums of the Decade, described as a 'strange and singular work in the canon of Scottish rock'.[21] The band were championed by DJ Vic Galloway and their records were played regularly on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 1.[22]


Studio albums[edit]

EPs and singles[edit]

  • Of dis dem a know nuttin – 10" vinyl (2003) screen-printed, stitched sleeve
  • The Train – 7" vinyl (2004)
  • 2 Fiddy – 7" vinyl (2005)
  • Riverside/1879 (2006) 7" clear yellow vinyl


  • One in Four – Uncle John & Whitelock contributed the song The Train for charity release in aid of the Scottish Association of Mental Health.


  • The Absurd Uncle John & Whitelock in Black and White (2006) Filmed at Embassy gallery, Edinburgh, August 2005


  1. ^ "Raydale Dower", Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, retrieved 17 June 2010 
  2. ^ a b Shukla, M (25 November 2009), "Uncle John and Whitelock – a post-mortem by Jacob Yates", The Skinny, retrieved 8 January 2010 
  3. ^ "The Snap Elect", Myspace, retrieved 9 October 2010 
  4. ^ "One in four goes to Solvenia" (PDF), Mental Health Solutions, Scottish Association for Mental Health Annual Report and accounts 2004/2005, p. 35, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  5. ^ Harvey, H (2005), Franz Ferdinand: And the pop renaissance, Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn 
  6. ^ "Uncle John & Whitelock at the Barrowlands!", Submit Response, 15 December 2004, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  7. ^ a b "Triptych: The Fall/Uncle John & Whitelock, Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow (live review)", The Herald, 2 May 2005, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  8. ^ "The impossibility of death in the ears of the living", Uncle John and Whitelock, Myspace Blog, 17 November 2006, retrieved 8 January 2010 
  9. ^ "Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers", Myspace, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  10. ^ "Tut Vu Vu: Stardust From Tomorrow", The Skinny, 12 October 2010, retrieved 26 April 2012 
  11. ^ "Adopted as Holograph", Myspace, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  12. ^ a b "Uncle John and Whitelock, There is Nothing Else (GFM) 5/5", Sunday Herald, 4 December 2005, retrieved 14 January 2010 
  13. ^ "True originals jump aboard the Subway", The Scotsman, 19 January 2004, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  14. ^ a b "The fake concept that accidentally spawned a real band", The Scotsman, 12 March 2010, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  15. ^ "Uncle John and Whitelock @ The Bongo Club", The Skinny, 16 April 2006, retrieved 17 January 2010 
  16. ^ "Seven reasons to go see...", The Herald, 1 January 2006, retrieved 14 January 2010 
  17. ^ a b "Hey You Get Off of My Pavement! Festival", Pitchfork, 22 August 2006, retrieved 14 January 2010 
  18. ^ Paphides, Pete (24 December 2005), "Top five gigs nationwide", The Times, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  19. ^ "Uncle John and Whitelock: Rock and pop review", The Scotsman, 9 January 2006, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  20. ^ "Uncle John and Whitelock, There is Nothing Else", Boomkat, June 2006, retrieved 12 January 2010 
  21. ^ "Scottish Albums of the Decade No. 18: Uncle John and Whitelock – There Is Nothing Else...", The Skinny, 25 November 2009, retrieved 18 January 2010 
  22. ^ "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: The Train", BBC Radio 1, 17 June 2004, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: Black Hat", BBC Radio 1, 5 June 2005, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Radio 1's Leftfield Show: Uncle John and Whitelock, 2 Fiddy 7", BBC Radio 1, 18 August 2005, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: Baghdadi", BBC Radio 1, 10 November 2005, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: Hard Rain", BBC Radio 1, 15 December 2005, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: Maryhill Vibe", BBC Radio 1, 5 January 2006, retrieved 14 January 2010 
    "Introducing with Vic Galloway in Scotland: Riverside", BBC Radio 1, 14 September 2006, retrieved 14 January 2010 

External links[edit]