John Waller's fourth CD, Memorial, was launched on 19th June 2015 at The Castle in Bradford. It contains several original songs developed over the previous few years, including "The Boar of Bradford"; based on the legend of the storyof a 14thC beast terrorising the locality, it is a popular piece of live performance. Also inlcuded are "Kerguelen", about the draw of the remote islands in the far Southern hemisphere; "Memorial", about urban decay; and "Parallel Lives", about the vast gulf separating people passing by one another in the streets; and "Routine", a lively song about the rat race. There's one more Al Stewart cover, "Shah of Shahs", about the deposing of a dictator.
John was born in York and has lived in Beirut, Bristol, Belgrade and now Bradford, where he has been based since 1971. He has played guitar, written songs and sung at folk clubs on and off since first visiting the Bristol Troubadour in the late 1960s.
He spent much of the 1970s to 1990s involved with The Bradford Playhouse and Film Theatre (now The Priestley) but since then he has been back in the folk world. He has regularly performed at the Topic in Bradford as well as MCing and booking acts for the club for several years. Musically, his long-standing influences are Al Stewart and The Incredible String Band, and more recently he has particularly liked Jez Lowe, Tom Bliss and Banoffi. In 2002 John underwent triple-bypass heart surgery, and in the recuperation period he both climbed Snowdon once more (first tackled at the age of 7) and started writing songs again after a gap of 30-plus years.
Using material from both his songwriting eras recorded on a laptop, in 2002 he produced his first CD, Liberator. The title track is based on a short story by John's brother Nick (see here) and reflects on how easy it is for 60 years of your life to be snuffed out.. "Palestine" was written in 1969 but is as relevant now. "Yer Bike" is a look at what Norman Tebbit's call might mean for some unfortunate Everyman.
Between 2003 and 2005 John wrote several more songs and produced his second CD, Molecules. It includes the title song, recorded live at a Bristol Troubadour reunion concert in 2004, a completed version of "Goldfish" from Liberator performed by Ryan McGovern, and John's first cover, a favourite of his: Al Stewart's "Samuel, Oh How You've Changed".
John Waller's third CD, Tapestry, was launched in 2009 at The Topic Folk Club in Bradford. It included"Grandad 2050" about global warming, "Xiao Shan", about those left behind in China's rush to development, and "Listopad in Mirogoj", about life and death in Yugoslavia. There are also several covers, including a Serbo-Croat adaptation of a well-known song, "Streets of Zagreb"; and a recording by Simon Alexander of John's "The Italian Chapel".
The lyrics to all his recorded songs are here.