INTERVIEW: JOHNNY HATES JAZZ

We turn back the clock and speak to Clark Datchler at Rewind festival 2022




Johnny Hates Jazz had a series of hits in the late 80s before going on to write and produce for other artists. Next year JHJ celebrate 35 years since their #1 album, 'Turn Back The Clock' propelled them into international success.


We caught up with singer and songwriter Clark Datchler at Rewind south ahead of their set.



PHOTOGROUPIE:

How does it feel to be back at Rewind?


CLARK DATCHLER:

We did Rewind quite a few years ago. This is maybe our fourth time. They're really well run. They're lovely.


PHOTOGROUPIE:

How have you found getting back into the swing of things after lockdown? Was it difficult to get the momentum again?


CLARK DATCHLER:

You know what, in a way that's right in terms of the festivals. And the reason I say that is during lockdown I turned to live streaming. I did a live stream called Journey Songs once a week, which was about, a song that I'd written. I'm still doing it. It became very popular. I'm doing it every two weeks now on a Sunday at 5pm, UK time. But we toured with Level 42 at the end of last year; so we came out of lockdown, and went on tour. That kind of shook us into shape. So getting back into the festival scene where you're doing a much shorter set, that took a bit of getting used to but it's been very enjoyable and the crowds have been just fantastic because of course they are out of lockdown as well, they want to enjoy it.


PHOTOGROUPIE:

What can we expect from your set this afternoon?


CLARK DATCHLER:

Well we’re doing five songs from the original 'Turn Back The Clock' album, which was my fault really for insisting that we focus on that album this time. Usually, we put in one or two tracks from the later years of Johnny Hates Jazz. So people are gonna hear, 'I Don't Want To Be A Hero,' 'Turn Back The Clock', 'Shattered Dreams', 'Heart of Gold' and 'Don't Say It's Love', which were the 5 singles from the album.


PHOTOGROUPIE:

'Shattered Dreams' is one of my favourites from the 80s. Do you have any shattered dreams?


CLARK DATCHLER:

Oh, yeah. I would say that the ongoing state of British government is a bit of a shattered dream. To be honest, if I'm allowed to be political for a second. The fact that we don't get to vote for the next prime minister is quite shocking to me. So that is, that's a shattered dream, I think. I think the thing about shattered dreams as a subject is that it applies to so many different things. You can take it personally, and think of it as a breakup song, which of course, most people would. But interestingly, I've just done a solo recording of 'Shattered Dreams' as a charity record for Ukrainian refugees, who are being given shelter in Poland. So this is for a Polish charity called Poland Welcomes. And the idea of doing that came from a mutual friend. They've been out there helping out there and they said you know, these people, what they're going through is they've had their dreams shattered. I think you should consider doing this. So it wasn't my idea, but it's one of those examples when it becomes applicable.


PHOTOGROUPIE:

Do you guys actually hate jazz?


CLARK DATCHLER:

No! Mike should answer this really because it's Mike's name.


MIKE NOCITO:

We were in my brother-in-law Johnny's house, and somebody in the room, put a Dave Brubeck album on - 'Take Five.' And Johnny got out of his seat went over so took the vinyl off and smashed over his knee. And somebody in the room said, “oh, Johnny Hates Jazz.” I just remember thinking, Oh, that's fun. It didn't mean anything.


PHOTOGROUPIE:

So what have you guys got planned next after Rewind?


CLARK DATCHLER:

Well, we're doing we've got an 80s Classical Show. I don't know if you're familiar with those, but 80s Classical 80s artists performing with a 60 piece orchestra. We've done a couple of those before and we're doing one in Belfast in October with Kim Wilde and Howard Jones and Go West, Carol Decker and Denise Pearson from Five Star. We did one a short while ago in Leeds, they are wonderful events, and to perform with an orchestra is always a bit humbling, to be honest. I mean, they make your original songs and records sound astounding. But really beyond that we've got other things to work on and we're cooking something up actually for next year, which I'm not going to say too much about. But it's an important year next year for us - 35 years since turn back the clock. So we've got a few ideas up our sleeves.