They need no introduction, having been one of the bands to dominate the eighties with massive hits like Shattered Dreams and Turn Back the Clock. Even now, with nearly 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and over 25 Million plays on the remastered version of Shattered Dreams alone, it’s clear that Johnny Hates Jazz fans aren’t going anywhere.
After 20 years without speaking to one and other, having gone their separate ways in the late 1980s, Clark Datchler and Mike Nocito reunited in 2009 to write and record new material. The result was come-back album Magnetized, released in 2013 to great acclaim.
During the promotion of the new album, Clark was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and all activities were put on hold. Following an operation and subsequent recovery, Datchler said coming “face to face with the door from life to death” had given him a renewed sense of purpose as a musician.
As Clark continued on the road to recovery, the band picked up where they had left off, and have spent the last few years touring extensively throughout the world. Clark also spent some time with Mike Rutherford, with whom he co-wrote the majority of the 2017 Mike & The Mechanics album Let Me Fly. The 30th Anniversary Edition of Turn Back The Clock (album) was released a year later and included newly recorded acoustic versions of each original song.
2018 also saw both Clark and Mike begin the process of writing and recording a new album. The pair, who have often been outspoken about the economic pressures on younger musicians to write music ‘for entertainment’s sake’ rather than value the songwriting and production process, spent two years on the record. “We always take a long time writing and recording, and when we started the new album... we tried to set the bar high for ourselves, as quality is everything.” The result is possibly their most poignant body of work to date. Uplifting, hopeful, and socially-conscious, the new album entitled Wide Awake is due for release on 14th August.
“When we were growing up, music was not regarded as simply another form of entertainment. It was its own biosphere. We didn’t consume it - we lived it, and these are not just semantics. Artists of that era spoke to us about our collective hopes and fears; of war and the search for peace; of injustice and the quest for equality; of environmental destruction and the defence of Nature. Whether it was Stevie Wonder or John Lennon, the Isley Brothers or Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye or The Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell or Genesis….I think it just became part of our DNA.”
Leading the charge is the first single Spirit Of Love. Though written before the global pandemic that we currently find ourselves living through, the lyrics couldn’t be more relevant. A deliberate move away from their recognisable brand of 80’s pop, the groove is utterly intrinsic to the song and harkens back to a classic 1970’s feel, which bridges R&B with rock.
“The idea behind Spirit Of Love was to create an all-encompassing, soul-inspired anthem that made you not only feel good but also want to change the World! The devastating Covid19 virus has awakened all of us to the fact that people of all nations are interdependent upon one and other. We all need to work together to recover not just from the pandemic but to overcome the ongoing challenges that face us as a global people. Togetherness, in the spirit of love, is the key.” - Clark Datchler
Spirit Of Love is out on the 29th May, along with a specially filmed music video that includes clips from the band’s time in Japan, and features fans from all over the world coming together with a message of unity. Uptempo, with driving guitars and Datchler’s unmistakable vocals, you can’t help but start to feel a sense of hope for the future. Facebook