C86 Band A Witness Reform For 25th Anniversary Gigs

A WITNESS are to reform to play a series of gigs in 2014 marking the 25th anniversary of the death of guitarist Rick Aitken.

The new line-up will feature on guitar Alan Brown of Big Flame, The Great Leap Forward, Sarandon and one-time A Witness drummer, while Sarandon front man Crayola will replace original singer Keith Curtis. Goldblade’s Rob Haynes will feature on drums while founder member and songwriter Vince Hunt remains on bass.

The first date to be announced is Saturday April 12th at The Buffalo Bar in Upper Street, Islington, London N1. Shows are also being finalised in Glasgow and Birmingham in early 2014 with further dates later in the year to be announced.

Guitarist Rick Aitken was just 33 when he died in October 1989 in a climbing accident near Glen Coe, Scotland. The band has not performed since.

In a six-year career between 1983 and Aitken’s death in 1989, A Witness released a critically acclaimed album ‘I Am John’s Pancreas’ and a series of 12” singles which made the NME charts as well as recording four sessions for John Peel. Their track ‘Sharpened Sticks’ was included on the original NME release C86 and Aitken’s death came just two weeks before the release of what would be their final single ‘I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors’. The band’s third and fourth Peel sessions were released as a double CD shortly afterwards.

“Rick was a very original and accomplished guitarist and sadly most people only saw a glimpse of what he could do,” said Hunt, who formed A Witness with Aitken in Stockport in 1982. “It’s time we dusted off some of the great songs we wrote together as a way of celebrating his talent. There’s still a lot of support and good feeling for the band, which is wonderful.”

A Witness played at Alan McGee’s Living Room Club, The Bradford 1 in 12, Hull’s Unity Club and Thames Poly and across Europe before going on to appear with Swans, Sonic Youth, The Fall, The Three Johns, The Membranes, Nightingales, Bogshed and Ron Johnson labelmates Big Flame, Stump, The McKenzies and Twang.

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