RITUAL RIOTS, the third album from London four-piece JOHNNY PANIC, is released four years after The Good Fight in 2007. This is not because of a shortage of ideas or songs, rather a shortfall of cold hard cash. Through a variety of jobs – painting and decorating, school science assistant, hours compiling spreadsheets and watching television for glitches – JOHNNY PANIC pursued relentlessly their desire to showcase and record their songs. If ever there was a band who believed in their music, principles and each other it is JOHNNY PANIC. As a committed self-managed band they took to producing RITUAL RIOTS themselves, but when it came to the mix they entrusted their friend Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro) to put his sparkle on the production. This is punk rock; the DIY ethos that threw the band together in the first place.
RITUAL RIOTS has 13 killer pop-rock songs moulded from a love of bands and music. From the opening track, The New 45 (a song about the generational shift of the term ‘45’ by the UK’s youth) you can hear hints of Therapy? and The Clash. The third song on the album, It Ends Here, has a dark comic book feel and the first single, the anthemic THE WORLD AROUND YOU, embraces Green Day and Mew.
The video for THE WORLD AROUND YOU was shot in Berlin and contains a strong theme of communication reflective of the song. The video was shot on Jonny Shock’s birthday and, during a trip to the local Irish Bar for a game of darts and perhaps a few pints of Guinness, the snow began to fall outside.
By the time the bar had shut, the snow was three feet deep and the white-out left the boys wandering the streets of Berlin in jeans and T-shirts with no idea of the route home. With Jonny hardly able to take a step forward between the combination of ice and alcohol, and Sean lying on cars performing snow angels, it took a rather disgruntled car of Berlin’s finest police to get the boys back to base.
JOHNNY PANIC have always delivered social and political commentary through their songs and this theme continues to inspire the new album RITUAL RIOTS. However, this album includes a song called TOO FAR GONE which goes beyond these themes, bringing in reference to relationships and more. TOO FAR GONE hits yet another first: the debut of Matt James on lead vocals. His raucous South London drawl adds a real sparkle and dynamism to the album. In fact his backing vocals are, as ever, a feature of the record, creating a full-frontal attack of two committed singers. Matt’s guitar solos have also taken a step up with multi-tracked middle eights taking the songs to a whole new dimension, and making the instrumentation of the rest of the band reach new heights.
On the subject of commitment, Rob Solly still balances endeavours with JOHNNY PANIC with his daily training in MMA (mixed martial arts). An exceptional martial artist versed in Taekwondo, Boxing, Thai Boxing, Greco-Wrestling & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rob has been training for almost 20 years, broken only by touring schedules. Even then, the kettle bells and pads join the boys on the road.
JOHNNY PANIC truly are the real deal. They always have been. Even after a decade of great music their dedication means they’re here to stay. As Rob says, with absolute conviction, “We are a truly inspired and aspiring band, we write the best songs and are full confidence in the words and music in these songs. And the thing that excites us the most is that we are still growing and pushing ourselves towards the future”.
JOHNNY PANIC will be touring to support the release of RITUAL RIOTS, full dates will be announced soon.
// Johnny Panic are:
- Rob Solly – Vocals & Guitar
- Johnny Shock – drums
- Sean Mannion – Bass & Backing vocals
- Matt James – Guitar & Backing vocals.