Entertainers in Tenerife -John G. with his ‘Wet, Wet, Wet’ Tribute Act

IMG_1124Jon ‘G’ (the ‘G’ simply stands for ‘Gibson’) was born on 25th January 1963, in ‘Lennox Castle Hospital’ in Lennox town, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland -an establishment with a rather lurid past regarding its mentally disturbed inmates “Which kind of suits me to a tee”, Jon joked, as we began our interview at the Clear Blue Skies offices in Playa Fanabe. Jon, who has never been married, and has no children, spent the best part of his childhood moving around Scotland with his two sisters (one older and one younger) and his parents, until sadly their father passed-away aged only 49.

John has always had a love for music, playing the coronet and trumpet as a schoolboy, which unfortunately included being continually bullied by his peers, who took great pleasure in kicking him and spitting at him in-between lessons and after school. Having always been a motor-cycle fan, who loved dabbling with engines, Jon began working as a mechanical fitter in a local hire shop after leaving school -even-though his first love was always music and the arts -and so at the age of 17 he joined the BrassNeck Theatre Company. Over the next few years Jon enjoyed playing various parts in several productions, including a movie called ‘Arch Enemy’, which subsequently won the ‘Best Film’ award at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

However, Jon’s true passion was always music, and so after returning to Art College John set-up a ‘7-piece’ band called ‘Uncle Remus’, which Jon says he took from the film ‘Showboat’, starring Paul Robeson. The song ‘Uncle Remus’ was also included on the 1974 Frank Zappa album ‘Apostrophe’, which may well have influenced Jon to use the name, as he has always been -and always will be, a devoted disciple of Frank Zappa, having been to several of his concerts over the years. Jon has also attended dozens of other world-class concerts, including Queen, AC / DC and Michael Jackson (to name but a few), all of which he says were “Amazing”. As for Jon’s own success, well his Uncle Remus band soon earned critical acclaim on the nightclub circuit, culminating in an offer from EMI, who wanted to buy the rights to one of their singles, to a full recording contract from PolyGram Records.

However, all hopes of this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ were soon dashed when the lead guitarist of the band refused to sign the contract (as he was obviously hoping to move on to better things) and so by the time a suitable replacement guitarist had been found the offer was no-longer on the table, thus leaving Jon’s hopes of fame-and-fortune in tatters! Not wishing to give-up on the world of entertainment -in whatever form it may take, Jon began working as a driver-cum-tourist-guide, driving coach-loads of tourists (predominantly back-packers) around Scotland -a job which, incidentally, he thoroughly enjoyed doing for almost five years.

During this time Jon took an eight-week vacation to the merry-old-land-of-OZ, where by pure coincidence he happened to meet-up with an old friend, who was also a guitarist, and so the pair of them spent the rest of Jon’s holiday doing gigs around the pubs and clubs of Sydney, before Jon finally returned home to continue-on with his job in the UK. Jon’s seemingly endless list of musical attributes, stage performances and claims-to-fame, includes auditioning for a part in the remake of the movie, ‘Oliver’, appearing in the pantomime ‘The Ghost of Christmas Present’, an eleven-month contract playing ‘Elwood Blues’ in a remake of ‘The Blues Brothers’, being offered to go on a ‘buy-in tour’ with ‘Def Leppard’, ‘AC / DC’ and ‘Curiosity Killed The Cat’, playing with his band on the same bill as Lindisfarne and Carlos Santana -and doing an exhibition piece on the drums for Marillion.

“However, I think that my biggest claim-to-fame, which, incidentally, was purely by coincidence, was when I was sitting with an old theatre chum of mine outside the Carlton Highland Hotel in Edinburgh, when suddenly these two huge, well-dressed guys, who were obviously bodyguards, began heading in our general direction. Thankfully my friend knew them well, and so they chatted freely with him for several minutes, before asking him if he was going to ‘Bob’s place’ afterwards for the party, to whit my buddy turned to me and asked me if I fancied popping-in for an hour or so?

Being the veritable party-animal that I am, I simply gave a swift nod, before saying goodbye to the two gorillas and continuing-on with our conversation. However, it was only when we finally got to the party, that I found-out who ‘Bob’ was…it was ‘Bob Dylan’ -who simply shook me by the hand and gave me a kind of ‘grunt’ as a welcome gesture -but as I was already on ‘cloud-9’ it was more-than-enough to blow me away! With such an illustrious career behind him I asked Jon what it was that brought him to the island of Tenerife? “The usual stuff Shaun; I was fed-up of living in the UK, scratching-around for gigs here and there, and in many cases getting paid a pittance to perform -and so a friend of mine suggested that we take a month’s working-holiday in Tenerife, working for one of the Holiday Ownership companies, as they were offering free accommodation, along with £100 per week salary for the first 4 weeks.

At first I was reluctant to go, but then I took the bull by the horns, and before I knew it I was signing-up my very first timeshare deal. Like all of the reps we partied until the early hours of the morning, getting seriously smashed in most of the bars in Las Americas and Los Cristianos, but then out-of-the-blue one night I was called up on stage in one of the karaoke bars -my friend having secretly put my name forward -and before I knew it I was being offered a full-time job as the resident compere-cum-singer…and that was it!” Over the next decade or so Jon continued playing the part of local compere, along with doing numerous rock gigs, but it was during this time that a friend suggested he concentrate his efforts on doing a complete Wet, Wet, Wet show, having heard on numerous occasions how well Jon had sung their smash hit ‘Love is all around’.

“And so that is when I began learning all of their songs from start to finish. A few people have also commented on how much I look like Marti Pellow -and so I gathered that this would also assist me with my stage presence,” Jon added. As an avid Wet, Wet, Wet fan I have to say that I enjoy Jon’s shows immensely, and I would certainly recommend his portrayal of Marti Pellow to any fellow fans out there. Before wrapping-up our little chat I asked Jon about the happiest time(s) in his life, to whit he answered “Touring -both with  the band and with the theatre -and also my time spent here in Tenerife. As for Jon’s saddest time, well there were two answers; the first being when his beloved father died -and the second was when the woman of his dreams -his long-term girlfriend, left him for someone else -which, he says, simply devastated him for many years afterwards. As for his biggest disaster on stage -well this was actually ‘falling-off a stage’ at the one and only gig that he got seriously inebriated before going on to perform, only to walk straight off the platform and fall two metres onto his face!

“I never got drunk before a gig again after that Shaun”, Jon said with a smile. Jon’s proudest time in his life was the opening night of the film ‘Arch Enemy’, the movie Jon had played in, which had won the award for ‘Best Film’. On that same night a play which Jon had also acted in, was awarded the accolade of ‘Play For Today’, which made it a double-whammy for Jon -especially as all of his family were there to see him take the awards. Summing-up his twelve years as an entertainer in Tenerife Jon says that what he likes most is the wonderful camaraderie between his fellow entertainers, who are always willing to arrange and set-up gigs for anyone who might be struggling with regular venues to perform in. “The dry weather is also a bonus, of course” Jon added, his current form of transport being a motor-cycle to whisk him to his numerous shows, which are as follows:

Mondays:   Compere at Frankie’s Bar, Las Americas, starting at 9pm.

Tuesday’s:  Wet, Wet, Wet Show -also at Frankie’s Bar, only at 11 pm.

Thursday’s: Jon’s ‘Rock Show’ at the Vulcan Bar in Costa del Silencio.

Fridays:      Compere at Frankie’s Bar, Las Americas, starting at 9pm.

Sundays:      Wet, Wet, Wet Show at The Palms Bar Golf Del Sur at 10.30pm