Who is Johnny Organ
WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE JOHNNY ORGAN BOXSET THIS MONTH, COMPLETING MY ENTIRE MUSICAL WORKS BEING FREE TO DOWNLOAD FROM THIS SITE, I THOUGHT I’D POST THIS.
I’m going to explain this the best way I can- it’s a tricky subject, but here goes!
I’ve always considered myself a nice person. I speak my mind, yes. I give criticism when asked for it, yes. And I always was a creative person and with that comes some refusal to back down especially when it comes to people evaluating and changing my original ideas.
But nasty? No. Vindictive? Never. But after several years, thanks to lots of former band members and so called friends, a poor reputation was being spread about me. I was being credited for some things I had nothing to do with and not credited for things I had much to do with. In 2005, after almost ten years of this I was hyper tense. My hair began to fall out in huge clumps. Alopecia. But the word got round that I had cancer and that was the final nail…the last straw…the point I…transformed.
I had to hit back at this bullshit. I decided to react to certain criticisms and rumours tarnishing my name. I decided to embody the character that these people would have you believe I was. And display it for all to see.
Everything that was said about me, every rumour that was gossiped, every vile untruth, Johnny Organ became (I left out the cancer in precaution. I have a dark sense of humour and at this point nowhere near the frame of mind to be making fun of true tragedy). If he couldn’t portray a rumour or wildly inaccurate story then other characters were invented and invited to write on Johnny’s behalf. These included
*Jake Limpy – a homeless, drug aided thief and thug.
*Jesse Organ – Johnny’s dumb, illiterate and slutty sister
*Mike Onn – an obsessive type who didn’t really get irony or satire or the girls.
In 2005, the now very controversial and defunct Johnny Organ Myspace page and blog started. Titled Johnny Organ Grinds, I began by poking untruths back at certain types of people. After all I was a liar, right? I began taking credit for things I didn’t deserve that much credit for. Former friends were lambasted, former lovers were ridiculed, the lot. All the while releasing music I had knocked up on my Playstation 2 and proclaiming it to be the best music out there at the minute.
It was childish, it was fun and, trust me, GREAT therapy (Hey! My hair grew back! Howzabout that then?) but it caused a lot of suffering too.
After I had began to upset people I had no intention of upsetting, after a two year stint, three online albums, and a couple of really ropey videos, I publicly killed the character off. By now he had become a hate figure and had stirred up a lot of emotion. Johnny Organ was DEAD!
There was a minor problem though. Because of the work I was doing with the band, chatting to music folk and fans online, joining forums and blogs and social networks, people starting calling me Johnny. Even people I’d known for years. Even my girlfriend.
My intentions changed, I decided to bring him back a little later (after I’d finished my first album with SiNKiNG CiTiES) as a larger than life character. A comic book type creation with a huge storyline told in a completely new way – The Re:Phoenix project – a collection of music, videos and story telling via the blog. A way to fictionalise the character and separate it from me.
Now, there was always an underlying storyline to Johnny’s character. Johnny was a child prodigy who had lost his way when his fellow song writing partner, Sammy Johnston, had died at a very young age after creating a monster hit single in Europe – “The Sammy Dance”.*
Sammy’s death (he was found down a well with a huge amount of barbiturates in his system) was treated as suspicious at the time and Johnny vanished for years, only to return in his twenties with a new batch of music wanting to bury that past behind him. But was this man really who he claimed to be? There was little evidence to prove his case and after all, it was widely assumed that Johnny had died years previous. Was this a cheap publicity stunt? Another person taking credit for Johnny’s past successes and cashing in on the notoriety of his tale?
I invented this storyline for the first Johnny Organ album I had finished writing on 9/9/99. In the tape sleeve was an interview with Johnny explaining all this.
With Johnny now dead, the Myspace blog (now titled Organizized) had been taken over by a mysterious group of Johnny Organ fans, The Organizers, to promote his “undiscovered, unreleased works”(in truth some new collaboration tracks with Parallax Faction and Kenny Brown**) and to report on the findings of the police investigation into Johnny’s death.
With so many enemies, his death too had been treated as suspicious. It was reported in The Digger*** (a kind of underground, independent newspaper in Glasgow) that music producer Johnny Organ had been found dead in the bath having choked on a bar of soap.
The featured characters (such as Jake Limpy) also appeared to pay their “respects”.
After a three month period though, Organizized began getting even stranger. A man claiming to be Johnny hacks into the blog and claims he is not dead. That he discovered the body in his bath and fled. And he believes he is being followed by someone and can trust no one. He has no idea who The Organizers are…
Unravelling, the blog finally revealed that Johnny was a character in my head that was refusing to be killed off and The Organizers were a failsafe in my mind. With the help of The Organizers, I kill off Johnny. This all results in a bizarre side effect – Paul develops a weakness of numbers. Certain numbers in certain formations cause him to lose grip on reality and remind him of his frail mental state and split personality past.
For several months I blog as myself. Promoting my band and friends’ projects. But Johnny soon returns, appearing one night to Paul, promising that he has changed his ways and only wants to entertain. Paul agrees to co-exist.
The Re: Phoenix project kicks in. Comedy videos, music and new features. New guest writers and characters appear, each with their own writing style and colour of font. 10 weeks in, a character BOB LZ appears and the blog stops suddenly.
It returns ten weeks later and it is revealed that Johnny has been busy. He has been spreading his name and character across the internet like a virus, now more powerful than ever and ready to consume the character of Paul once and for all.
Johnny had indeed died but sold his soul to BOB LZ (B L Z BOB – get it?) to return and now BOB wants his prize. Johnny believed he had fooled BOB because the soul was not his to give, it was Paul’s. Before long, Johnny and Paul start fighting for Paul’s soul. The loser to die and despair in the pits of hell, thanks to BOB. BOB tests Johnny’s resolve by throwing a spanner in the works – 9999 – Not 1, 4.
As Johnny almost completely consumes Paul, The Organizers, Paul’s failsafe, kick in again. The blog goes crazy over a week. Characters merging, Paul’s sanity failing, trying desperately to make sense of the numbers…and all is revealed.
The whole Johnny, BOB, Paul, The Organizers, everything, EVERYTHING is the work of Paul’s mind. But the character of Paul fails and the other characters die as Johnny consumes them completely and all that is left is Johnny…on 9/9/09. 10 years to the day of his inception.
The story referenced almost every film I could think of that contained a split personality theme. From Fight Club to Number 23, Angel Heart to Twin Peaks. Even Me, Myself and Irene.
The Myspace gets deleted. http://organizized.co.uk is born. And Johnny’s next project is currently under construction.
It’s had a few false starts, truth be told.
Do I regret any of my earlier actions? Well, maybe a little. Purely because a lot of people didn’t get what I was trying to achieve. I was parodying myself more than anything. I was challenging preconceptions and untruths and giving some out in return. But people will always get offended and defensive when untruths are spread about them. That is something I, and Johnny, can truly testify to.
* The Sammy Dance was something that came about in my school years and involves the creators of TV’s Burnistoun. I remember old acquaintance Robert Florence doing the first “Sammy Dance” and a story involving a younger family member of his. Time makes these details very vague, but an image of Rab running lightly and quickly on the spot whilst wiggling his fingers around his penis area isn’t.
A little later, myself and fellow youth theatre members Iain Connell and Iain Boyce (under the name Thee Jafeeflums) wrote and produced, on 4 track tape, a comedy music album for a pantomime we were creating within Toonspeak Theatre Company. I wrote the lyrics to Sammy Dance in ten minutes. It tells the story of 14 year old boy Sammy Johnston tragically losing his parents and in his grief creating 2 global dance sensations before dying himself shortly after – The Sammy Dance and The Sammy Shuffle.
**Kenny and my collaboration track Wolfman can be found on DROWNandOUT: the SiNKiNG CiTiES online boxset. Free at http://organizized.co.uk/download
***Johnny Organ’s death was never reported in the press. It was part of the storyline.