John Robb Journalist Biography
John Robb is a Royal Television Society Award winning British music journalist, singer, and best-selling international author. John is noted on the world stage not only for his extremely creative, ground-breaking and intelligent public speaking & television appearances, but also as singer/songwriter of iconic British punk rock bands The Membranes and Goldblade – bands whose releases have drawn enormous critical acclaim.
The Membranes are a highly successful world-touring post-punk band formed in Blackpool by John, and have released numerous albums and singles over the course of their extensive career. They are available to be booked at Atrium Talent for all events including Festivals, Concerts, and large public events.
Since they released their first album for 26 years the Membranes have gone from strength to strength. Their highly critically acclaimed Dark Matter/Dark Energy album was inspired from a meeting between John and Joe Incandela (the head of the CERN project) at a Ted X talk. Incandela was chatting to John about the continuing mystery of the universe, which inspired John to compose an album based not only on this conversation, but also to entwine themes of sex, death and the beyond into the post punk psych narrative.
Recently, The Membranes have begun to incorporate choirs into their sound at the larger live gigs and festivals, and their new albums will feature this choral sound (example in video gallery below).
The Membranes also perform at special event concerts with their choir against a film of the Universe; this extremely popular show sold out the 1500 capacity Manchester Ritz, and they also performed a gig at the top of the Blackpool Tower, and in Estonia with an Estonian choir- this performance was the subject of a glowing two page review in Mojo Magazine, who describe their album Dark Matter/Dark Energy as a ‘career peak’, and by the NME as ‘an extraordinary comeback’.
The Membranes tour extensively including the Glastonbury, Green Man, Beautiful Days, Superuho, By The Sea, Blue Dot, Whitby Goth Weekend, Looe, and many others. The Membranes can be booked at Atrium Talent with or without their full choir, and can be booked as part of a public speaking/performance event.
John’s established career as a highly respected British music journalist began in the 1970’s with the editorship of influential fanzine, Rox. From this early success he went on to freelance at not only Zigzag magazine, but Sounds; one of the ‘Top 3’ music news publications in the UK at the time.
His flair for interviews quickly established his position as main features writer. By 1987 he was writing features on the burgeoning ‘Madchester’ British music scene, including the Stone Roses, and was also the first journalist ever to interview Nirvana.
During his productive time at Sounds, John was also responsible for coining one of the most-used terms in English music history- BRITPOP. In addition to writing for Sounds, he also freelanced for Melody Maker, another hugely influential UK music news publication.
Since 1996 John’s journalistic skills are in-demand as a full-time freelancer, writing features for the most prestigious publications in the UK including The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Guardian, NME, and The Face, in addition to numerous pop culture websites. This exponential growth in internet music publications led to John Robb establishing what is now one of the UK’s largest music and culture websites ‘Louder Than War’, which is not only a zeitgeist defining music news website, but is also a nationally distributed magazine.
Authorship and International Bestsellers
Since the mid-nineties John has enjoyed an extensive bestselling career as a published author, writing ground-breaking books about music and bands including genre defining bestsellers ‘The Stone Roses and The Resurrection of British Pop’ (Ebury) and ‘Punk Rock- An Oral History‘ (Ebury).
Other bestselling books John has written include ‘The Nineties- What the Fuck Was That All About’ (Ebury), ‘The Art of Darkness’, (a definitive story of the Goth music genre and scene) and ‘The North Will Rise Again- An Oral History Of Manchester Music’ (Aurum). John has also written about The Charlatans, and ‘Death To Trad Rock‘ (published by Cherry Red).
John Robb Television and Radio Appearances
John has made many appearances on television music shows and music documentaries speaking about pop culture since the early 90’s, and has become one of the leading television pop culture pundits. John has appeared on numerous shows including ‘I Love the 70’s/80’s/90’s’) (BBC), and many appearances on the ‘Top 10 list shows’ regularly shown on ITV, BBC and Channel 4.
John Robb has also guested on flagship news programmes discussing popular culture, including Channel 4 News (discussing The Stone Roses), BBC Breakfast (discussing the Sex Pistols), The BBC World Service, and BBC’s ‘Newsnight’. In addition to appearing on flagship BBC and Channel 4 programmes, John has also presented his own shows including Arts series ‘Zeitgeist’ on BBC North West (for which he won a coveted Royal Television Society Award), and co-producing the highly acclaimed ten part documentary ‘The Punk Years’ (which comprehensively covered the history of punk).
Guesting on primetime broad appeal shows brought John’s journalistic skills to an incredibly wide audience- from reviewing books such as ‘Richard and Judy’ (BBC Two), to discussing the papers on ‘Heaven and Earth’ (Channel 4). John is also an engaging interviewee, appearing in film documentary ‘Upside Down’ which detailed the history of Creation Records, and BAFTA winning director Shane Meadows’ documentary about The Stone Roses ‘Made of Stone’.
John’s acting experience also saw him appear in the award winning dark comedy drama ‘Ideal’– The Johnny Vegas fronted show (BBC Three).
Since 1995 he remains in high demand for radio appearances and has appeared on numerous shows including BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, and Radio 4, and is a regular commentator on popular culture on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 5 Live. John has also appeared on flagship radio shows including daytime shows with Victoria Derbyshire and evening shows with Tony Livesey.
John Robb | Goldblade
Goldblade are a punk rock band from the North of England, formed by John in 1995. Signing to Ultimate Records (amongst other labels the band have released on) the band have released over 12 albums, with singles including ‘Soul Power’ (Song of the Week in the NME) and ‘Strictly Hardcore’ (a UK chart hit).
Goldblade tour extensively on an international scale, appearing at the Glastonbury, Reading, and Wickerman Festivals in addition to the Rebellion Festival and Strummercamp. Goldblade have also performed for a 25,000 strong audience in St. Petersburg, and performed in Serbia, Beijing, and, in 2010, were the first western rock band to perform in Algeria in twenty years.
It was for his musical career and championing of other bands that John was also voted ‘Indie Champion’ at the prestigious Association of Independent Music Awards in 2011.