New feature: Podcasts!
Listen to John’s first podcast, a 1979 interview with Tommy Vance on his British Forces Broadcasting Services (BFBS) UK show. Tommy interviewed John as lead singer and song writer for The Stilettos with Tom Atkinson, lead guitarist, following their journey as an unsigned band at the time.
John talks about his move down to London from the North East of England and how he found a publishing deal. He then needed to create a 16-track demo to take round the record companies, so the rest of the band jacked in their jobs to join him in London!
Tommy Vance was a popular DJ in the 70’s and 80’s so his support of The Stilettos as an unsigned power pop band was unprecedented. Tommy contributed to the music industry in so many ways in his lifetime. He and BFBS UK literally “adopted” the band! John appreciated the opportunity to talk about the struggle of an unknown gigging band on his show. Tommy also played a couple of songs from the band’s slightly rough 8-track demo tape.
As Tommy says in the interview “we’re not going to cheat by taking on an established group with a recording contract signed sealed and delivered.”
The Stilettos were due to record new 16-track demos, so Tommy invited them back to BFBS UK to catch up and play some more songs. John was so pleased that Ariola BMG had signed The Stilettos within a few months of that first interview. The Stilettos’ second interview in November 1979, with John and Cliff the drummer covers the next stage in band’s music journey. The major record deal was music to Tommy’s ears!
Tommy Vance Interview Two: Now published! Find out how the lads went from sleeping rough on Wimbledon Common to getting parking tickets in London's posh hotspot in Mayfair!
With thanks to British Forces Broadcasting Services for giving permission to publish the two interviews.
Using music to unite and fight racism
This Land - Released to support Black History Month and #BlackLivesMatter
Singer songwriter John D Hastings living in Sutton, Surrey released this anti-racism anthem 29th to support Black History Month and Black Lives Matter movement.
His words of comfort to an Asian boy who was racially abused became the seeds for a new song This Land. Hearing someone, a child, being told to “F*** off back where you came from!” cut deep into John’s core values. Simply, that everyone belongs where they choose to live, to contribute their talents to their communities.
Performing this live recently, the audience sang along despite hearing This Land for the first time. Such is the song’s powerful story and strong anthemic melody. As a punter said to John, not many white men of John’s age and Northern background would write a song like this.
And that’s the wider sentiment: racism is not a “black” or “ethnic” issue, it’s a human issue. By spreading this message through the release of This Land, John hopes we can all unite and fight racism together.
This Land is about the cracks and flaws in Britain today. It’s about how we live in one nation, so let’s make it a united nation. The world’s population is more transient, let’s allow people to live their different cultures without fear or prejudice.
The most shocking thing about today’s society? John wrote the words to this song over 30 years ago. Newly recorded and mastered, This Land is a call to action for us all to unite, fight and stand up to racial and cultural prejudice. Once and for all.
For interviews and further info please contact me
Cleveland Archaeology Trust (CAT) is a Community Interest Company with a mission of “connecting People With Place by promoting well-being, belonging and cultural value through sustainable Heritage and Archaeology.” Our outside space, our place, is a canvas for everybody to enjoy, irrespective of ability, age or background.
Together, we can all make a difference to our environment and natural landscapes. This current world pandemic has helped us rediscover our open spaces, relearning the simple joy of sharing them with family and friends.
For more information,
download our press release about When It’s Gone here.
Please feel free to use the above song artwork and the photo below, with credit as follows:
Photograph © Paul Docherty
Photos below of John may be downloaded for press and media purposes only, with credit as follows:
Photograph © Mark Neal Photography/John D Hastings
What people say about “When It’s Gone”:
Truly a powerful and meaningful song. If you haven’t heard it I highly recommend you listen
A very moving song with a powerful message
What People Say about John D Hastings & The Stilettos
“….. the lyrics and music are lively …. the kind of original sound that makes you sit up and listen, like no new name has done since the Police”
Record of the Week review
“I watched this band in ‘78/’79 in Putney, The Star and Garter, they were the dogs bollox!”
Gary, music fan
“[The Stilettos’] music is fast and energetic and delivered tightly”
Robin Duke, West Lancashire Evening Gazette