John Rush and the Agony of "The Rose"
Here in the lofty heights of Glasgow Living towers, we like to think we’ve got our finger on the musical pulse.
We’re always looking for someone with the spark or talent that allows them to stand out from the crowd, and Paisley singer-songwriter John Rush certainly has that by the bucket-load.
Aged 31, John has been involved in bands for 12 years, whilst writing his own music for nearly 17. He explained, “yeah I consider myself a singer-songwriter, I always had the passion and knew I wanted to create music. Before turning 19, I took part in open mic nights and sort of played the Glasgow scene by myself.”
“After that I was in a band called Shine”, said John, thinking back. “Right up until I was about 23/24 and then “The Four Sons” before moving on to John Rush and the Lovehats, and now finally its just me.”
“The Lovehats were fictional though, I just thought it would be less intimidating to share the billing with a group, rather than have my name alone in solitude.” He said.
“It also helped when other people recorded with me, I wouldn’t have to keep changing the name.” He added smiling.
The ambitious musician has previously dipped his toes in the waters of reality television, appearing as a contestant on BBC’s The Voice, however John realised that giving up his independence for a stab at reality television, wasn’t what he wanted from the industry.
“I’ve been writing music for 17 years, a real volume of work, and each song I’ve written, I think tells a story, some are a bit less upbeat but each of them have a value to my music.”
What about singles?
“Aw yeah I released a single with Shine on Clydebuilt Records, although it was only a college based record label, it was excellent to get the music out. We had grand ambitions to unleash a concept EP on people.” He said laughing.
“We had an excellent sound, we focussed on my songs, which were in the Beatles-esque, pop, type genre, and Alan McKim, who at the time was creating strong waves on the Glasgow music scene, came from a more electronic background, it was sounding really good.” said John, thinking back.
But we then got offered a chance to release a single, (I Will Lay You Down) which was completely different, it had a real country vibe, strong band influence and sadly the concept EP was put on hiatus as the single became myself and Alan’s main priority.”
Upon listening to the single “I Will Lay You Down” its easy to understand why the single helped John taste success. The acoustic version on You Tube could give a snowman goosebumps. True music, one man sitting on a stool with his guitar. very harmonious, Ocean Colour Scene, Ed Sheeran or Masterplan era Oasis.
Following the single, John realised that the urge to create within a band was back and together along with old “Shine” members, Gavin Morris, Johnny McAuley and Ian Beattie they formed “The Four Sons”.
All was not perfect in their Garden of Eden however, although the passion was there, as well as the talent and dedication, performing nightly without a record deal, whilst trying to write new material became strenuous.
We were in the perfect situation musically, we all knew each other, had each others back and loved working together, the only thing that was missing was that record deal, and the longer it went on, the more outside responsibilities began to creep in.
John helped explain, “we were in the perfect situation musically, we all knew each other, had each others back and loved working together, the only thing that was missing was that record deal, and the longer it went on, the more outside responsibilities began to creep in.”
“No one wanted to say it, but trying to fit in playing, rehearsing, writing and responsibilities outside of music was becoming too much” he said.
“The Four Sons” moons appeared to be numbered and ultimately John felt that he was responsible for sharing the news of the bands demise with the fans.
“It began with missing rehearsals,” said John. “It just sort of spiralled from there, eventually we all sort of realised, shit this isn’t working, we just couldn’t contribute enough time to the band.”
“We couldn’t give 100% percent to the fans, and they deserve the 100% per cent” said John, “I bit the bullet and announced to the fans on Facebook that alas “The Four Sons” they were no more.”
John became disillusioned with the music industry for a few years following the dissolution of “The Four Sons” even admitting gigging became chore like, but he, similar to every disenchanted musician, found himself irrevocably drawn back, thanks to his passion and the industry’s hypnotic allure.
“My heart just wasn’t in it, but 17 years is a lot of music to discard” said the youthful 31-year-old, “and I still fully believe in the music, we had interviews with record companies like Sony, who loved our stuff, but it was always the same response, ‘lads we love the stuff, you just need that one break out hit, that one chart burner’, and I’m positive it’s in there,” said John.
John found his passion for music reinvigorated, during a trip to the Big Apple, thanks to his work with Citizen M. Whilst in N.Y John performed four gigs over the course of five nights.
It was unbelievable … one of the gigs in New York was actually in a Citizen M, in the top floor, Cloud Bar. I did a few covers on the night, chucked in a few of my own songs, was phenomenal man, a guy even proposed to his missus on the night.
“It was unbelievable” he said, “one of the gigs in New York was actually in a Citizen M, in the top floor, Cloud Bar. I did a few covers on the night, chucked in a few of my own songs, was phenomenal man, a guy even proposed to his missus on the night.”
“The gigs went so well that after I had returned to Glasgow, I received phone calls trying to book me for other gigs. I had to break the news I was back in Scotland, I’ve definitely got plans to go back though.”
With the release of the stripped back heart-wrenching ‘Maybe it’s True (Darlin’ it’s you) the song resembles, a young Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics or even shades of fellow Paisley alumni Paolo Nutini.
John says that this year is all about the music. “Yeah man it’s now or never, music is where I want to be and heading over to the US really gave me the inspiration to move forward and pursue it.”
Well there’s the EP and during 2015, I’m releasing ‘The Rose’. Without sounding cheesy, I would say it’s my most autobiographical song to date, it’s about the many uses a single rose can negate, how it suggests sorrow, happiness, pleasure, but yet can also suggest pain.
Next on the agenda? “Well there’s the EP and during 2015 I’m releasing ‘The Rose‘. Without sounding cheesy, I would say it’s my most autobiographical song to date, it’s about the many uses a single rose can negate, how it suggests sorrow, happiness, pleasure, but yet can also suggest pain.”
“I had this chorus playing over and over in my head for days and one morning I just got up and wrote it, and from there the song just poured onto the page.”
“I’d say the song is probably about the nature of the rose, equally beautiful and fragile but in the next moment the thorns cause such pain and agony.”
So spill the beans, is “The Rose” about a past relationship? “No way”, laughed John, “and you can quote me on this, I’m not Scouting for Girls.”