Cast back to the Canned Static February 2017 review of Johnny Come Lately – Judas Factor EP or even further in time, to their October 2016 Messiah Complex release. Well Johnny come, he made noise (lots of it) and Johnny go… well, not quite. Distance from Zero is the rebadged, re-issued and refuelled Johnny Come Lately.
I really liked the old band and for ‘What’s it Worth’ I’m rekindled with the same feel for the re-brand and I much prefer the new name. The grit of Manchester life is still rushing through the veins. The core sound is big and the message is delivered with balls the size of halls, places where this band should be filling. I’m really glad the sound, style and direction has not deviated too far. It certainly sounds more polished without losing that edge. It’ll fill your head space with a wall of noise.
DFZ have put this out for free (or donate) over on Band Camp so don’t keep your distance, get in there and grab a copy.
Formed in Dublin as punk outfit DC Nien, they morphed into Tokyo Olympics along with the tide of music & fashion. Signed to Philips/Polydor in 1981 it was a short and briefly successful for a while yet ending as suddenly as it had all begun.
Vocals – Damien Gunn
Guitar – Paul McGuinness
Synths – John (Sarge) O’Hara
Sax – Joey Cashman
Bass – Brian Seales
Drum – Ken Mahon
Their early tracks have an air of New Wave but ultimately, by 83 they had evolved into that full on New Romantic sound. They toured the UK with a very young U2 in support but time was running out on the New Romantic scene & half way through the tour dates the headline was switched.
After the split in 83 some members lived in and around London for some time. Paul McGuinness fronted a band called ‘Once Upon A Time’ with Sarge O’Hara on keyboards. He later joind Shane McGowans new band ‘The Popes’ eventually taking over on lead vocals when Shane quit (pictured right). At one point Paul served time in prison.
Joey Cashman acted as stage manager for ‘The Pouges’ with occasional sax work. Ken Mahon played on with various bands including a stint with North London band Bary Bright and the Freque Electric. He later returned to Ireland perusing acting roles.
Ken Mahon (far right) with Bary Bright & the Freque Electric (1989/90)