Pop, rock & jazz
Fischer-Z - Fischer-Z Live 2024
Saturday, 04/05/2024 / 08:00 PM / Jazzhaus Freiburg
Passionate, political, determined. And above all: artist. John Watts is Fischer-Z.
A musical concept and creative vehicle that has seen many incarnations
. Both as a solo artist and in various band configurations and
collaborations, John Watts has over 25 original albums, over 3000
concerts worldwide and over 2 million albums sold over the years.
Fisher-Z are a legend in continental Europe, where knowledgeable audiences appreciate Watts'
trenchant political commentary and his energetic and rousing performances
to memorable melodies and decisive rhythms. John's acclaimed
skills have led to collaborations and performances with a variety of other musicians
including Peter Gabriel and Steve Cropper, and Fischer-Z has shared the stage with
The Police, Dire Straits, Bob Marley and James Brown.
Fischer-Z originally developed in punk clubs while Watts was still studying clinical
psychology and working in psychiatric hospitals - experiences that provided insight and material for his music over the
The first Fischer-Z album, ,,Word Salad," was released in 1979 by United Artist
and became something of a cult record, with the single "Remember Russia" providing a
taste of the politics to come. The second album, ,,Going Deaf For a
Living," underscored Watts' ability to convey world political issues in narrative songs against
a backdrop of quirky pop music. Several appearances on The
Old Grey Whistle Test followed, as well as an appearance on Top of the Pops with the single ,,The Worker," which was very
successful in Europe. The single ,,So Long" was one of the first to be aired on
the fledgling MTV.
Fischer-Z's European success was cemented by the million-selling album
,,Red Skies Over Paradise" which featured tracks that were a heady mix
of biting commentary (,,Battalions of Strangers", ,,Cruise Missiles") and poignant
love songs (,,Marliese"). Watts recently toured Europe, playing this
album to sold-out crowds in Germany and the Netherlands.
Watts then disbanded the original Fischer-Z lineup because he felt
the band had strayed too far from their original art-punk ideals. Watts
then produced several solo albums, all of which were heavily influenced by the political events
of the time. His song ,,Dark Crowds of Englishmen" is about
the miners strike and the disappearance of a way of life.
Watts reformed Fischer-Z with a new lineup and had great success with
,,The Perfect Day", which is about lonely hearts, and ,,Say No", a call to the
arms for the poor and powerless. The wonderful combination of tough
political commentary and warm, lyrical love songs based on Watts'
humorous observations and real-life experiences continued to resonate with audiences
He returned to his solo career with ,,Thirteen Stories High," a well-received indie guitar-style album
. During this time, Watts' career continued to evolve,
combining poetry, prose and song lyrics with a DJ and beats. Ether
Music and Film began an era of multimedia projects that he recorded internationally with musicians
on the road and in their own homes using only his laptop
. The project was filmed and released as an album and DVD.
Several powerful albums followed, including ,,It Has To Be," which consists of songs
from interactions with strangers sharing their life experiences and includes
poems and short stories in the package. The album ,,This is My
Universe" brings his music, poetry and life philosophy together to great
dynamic effect, taking a dark
and rueful look at love and marriage in the pop single ,,Just a Man" and creating a manifesto for
the proactive and true romantic in ,,Just Like Justice".
2017 was a milestone in Fischer-Z's journey - the 40th anniversary of the band's first
show and the release of the 20th studio album ,,Building Bridges," bringing
Fischer-Z together in a continuous timeline since 1977. This marked
something of a renaissance for the band, and Fischer-Z sold out large halls throughout
While the pandemic pretty much put everything on hold, Watts and the band created a
new album, ,,Til the Oceans Overflow." It was recorded by Watts in Berlin,
with the band contributing to the production via the Internet.
In 2022 Fischer-Z returned to the major European concert halls, both as
Fischer-Z solo and as a full band consisting of John Watts as lead singer
and guitarist, Sin Banovic on drums, Adrien Rodes on keyboards, Marian
Menge on guitar and Dave Purdye on bass.
Watts continues to evolve and tour as Fischer-Z in both forms
and also explore new and innovative collaborations.