For Twisted Wheel, redemption and revival is not a religious concept but a CV. Born in the backwaters of Saddleworth in 2007, the young band, fronted by the feral, precocious Jonny Brown, roared into the race of indie rock with such anthems as ‘You Stole The Sun’, ‘She’s a Weapon’ and ‘Lucy The Castle’. Their irrepressible energy and ability to deliver inspired rock’n’roll gained them the support slots with Oasis, Kasabian, Paul Weller, The Courteeners, The Happy Mondays and Ian Brown to name but a few, as well as sell-outs on their first UK and European tours.
Constant touring across the UK, Europe and Japan the UK (thanks to the Grass Route movement and the big festivals) led to a solid fanbase despite the dramatic trajectory of its frontman, Jonny Brown – or maybe because of it. Twisted Wheel has indeed rocked and rolled, been smashed up, fallen off the wagon, gone solo, kicked to the kerb, frozen itself off homeless and hypothermic crashing in bushes – before finding its groove and getting back on it, full speed ahead. Last year they rolled out a relentless 60-date Snakes and Ladders/Jonny Guitar tour and a number 1 debuting EP to announce their arrival. Crowds, starved of the rigour of real rock-n-roll meat ’n‘ bones, stormed last year’s shows, all but four selling out. With growing momentum without any radio play. In 2018 the band secured major support slots on the Liam Gallagher tour, as well as playing Kendal Calling, Leeds and Reading Festivals, Shiiine Weekender, Blackthorn, Mosfest, EH6 and many others.
In 2019 the band have already been added to lineups at Leed / Reading Festivals, Kendal Calling, Mosfest, YNot, The Highest Point with more to follow.
The unlikely combination of elegance and raw inspiration, the familiar coupled with the random, make Twisted Wheel an undeniably popular act that delivers the goods in a way few bands can. The band has grown up and Brown’s song structures and lyrics are on another level, beyond haggard experience now, worn in with wisdom and wit. While last year’s ‘Snakes and Ladders’ tour was frankly about the band blowing the ladders of opportunity they were given – and the snakes which led to them falling off the board, it was also about getting back in the game and resetting the standards. The EP ‘Jonny Guitar’ demonstrated TW’s uncanny talent to maximise the elusive eternity in the ordinary and Brown’s ability to create anthems and palaces from the trash of life with its delightful documentation of addiction, despair and a very unsafe reboot. What Bowie would sound like in a bin bag with a unicorn wearing a football shirt. No autotune in sight; these are songs you feel, see and live.
But 2019 finds Twisted Wheel back like a man from the dead with tunes to make up for time lost. The Saddleworth four spoker (Harry Lavin, Ben Robinson, Ben Warwick and Jonny Brown – probably the best line up to date) are currently recording a new album in Manchester – full of new material for a summer release date with a spring tour and autumn tour dates to be announced. 2019 is their decade year – it will also be the year they change the game they broke.
Twisted Wheel were one of the hardest working bands in 2009, gaining the PRS Award for playing the most gigs of any young band. They are grafters, rock n rollers but with the edge of genuine poetry; few can forget Jonny’s ‘Bouncing Bomb’ or ‘What’s Your Name?’ but audiences will be hungry for his more poignant blues numbers on this tour. ‘We’re not just in a rock ‘n’ roll, punk box. I write a range of songs. This time, more of my poetry will come out which focuses on things that matter, a commentary on what’s going on in the world. Bands play it safe because they don’t want to upset people. But your job as an artist is to say what others can’t, to speak the truth.’
And fans are desperate for the ragged rage and eloquent elegance Brown’s rock ‘n’roll: a brand in itself, structured like cathedrals. This is a band who, behind the froth and mayhem, are genuine craftsmen and grafters who build cities of sound out of grit, northern wit and poetry. At odds with a saccharine, insta-influenced industry, Twisted Wheel prove time and again why it will always be about the beat, the song and the people.
The recipe is rehearse, rehearse, relentlessly tour, record, rehearse, record, relentlessly tour…and so on. Twisted Wheel – it may have been bad, bent and broken but prove that growing up is not about credit cards and mortgages but bouncing back, a band with integrity, joy and experienced authority.
Twisted Wheel are back on the road from May 2019 with The Nomad Hat Tour