At the height of the punk era, a time wherein musical skill and instrumental prowess were frowned upon, therein emerged England’s most cherished cadre of musical misfits who played their respective arses off: Ian Dury and the Blockheads – anchored by Norman Watt-Roy – who steered the ensemble as they seamlessly fusing jazz, music hall, funk, and traditional rock ‘n’ roll.
Profoundly inspired by Jaco (note Watt-Roy’s use of a signature Pastorius motif in “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” https://youtu.be/0WGVgfjnLqc Norman Watt-Roy’s bass-lines danced amid Mr. Dury’s wicked cockney word-play, hysterical character sketches, and farcical sexual humor which were rooted in Lord Upminster’s astute observations of everyday British life.
Producers often called upon Norman to contribute his multi-genre expertise – Clash fans note that it was Norman who rendered the fantastic dub reggae bass parts on Sandinista (1980).
Norman has been recording and touring for thirty years and counting with guitar icon Wilko Johnson, and continues to work with the surviving Blockheads in the UK pubs, keeping the waggish flame of the dearly departed Ian Dury burning into the 21st Century. Norman’s bass artistry can also be heard with Frankie Goes to Hollywood (“Relax”), Wreckless Eric, Nick Cave, and Roger Daltrey, among others, including Wilko and Roger’s collaborative Going Back Home (2014).
Bringing his contemporary jazz yearnings to the forefront, Mr. Watt-Roy waxed his first solo album in 2013 entitled Faith & Grace (Ian’s nickname for Norman).
Faith & Grace: “He’s the man with the face, from outer space, on his faith and grace” bellowed the late, truly great Ian Dury of his virtuoso bassist Norman Watt-Roy. Behold this fascinating glimpse into the madcap musical mind of Mr. Watt-Roy – the anchor of the aforementioned cockney bard’s iconic Blockheads, UK studio ace, and Wilko Johnson’s go-to player for the past few decades and counting.
On his lone solo slab, revel as Norman references his signature passages among the ten tracks, including a swingin’ rendition of his celebrated “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” which provides the foundation for “Save It” featuring Sara Gillespie, along with new twists on the magnificent motifs to “Magnificent 7” and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” as found on “Norman! Norman!” http://bit.ly/2DV6vxp
Flexing his jazz funk punk soul pedigree – and wicked sense of humor as evidenced in various vocal vignettes by his fallen bandleader – the incomparable Norman Watt-Roy tributes his idol Jaco on “John and Mary” and “Papa Chu Pap,” and waxes autobiographical in “Me, My Bass and I.”
The Bass Centre has honored Norman with a signature “Blockhead Bass” which is among its most popular models!
Norman Watt- Roy Sound & Vision
With Ian Dury:
Live 1977 https://youtu.be/yVYkR4SB2R8
Live 1999 Ronnie Scott’s https://youtu.be/_sNykJnVqcA
Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: https://youtu.be/BCaPTNhwK-4
With The Clash:
“Magnificent Seven” https://youtu.be/dj1Nf850Lys