Colosseum's James Litherland with his New Band

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Last Show: Friday 18 th September 2020

PizzaExpress Live (Birmingham)

2020 couldn’t come quickly enough for former Colosseum front man James Litherland - he’s back on the road with his new band Swamp Ash, promoting a new single and album. ‘I just love gigging’, said James. ‘I have so much fun on stage and this year will see me performing live much more than I have in previous years’. James has worked with some of the most prestigious names in the music business including George Martin, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Alexis Korner and Steve Marriott. He is, of course, the father of James Blake whose song ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ was adapted from his father's song ‘Where To Turn’ which appears on Colosseum’s 4th Estate Album.


"It’s no surprise to learn that James Blake comes from a musical family. His father, James Litherland, is a part of music history founding Colosseum and working with such luminaries and George Martin, Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck. In fact Litherland’s song - ‘Where To Turn’ - served as the basis for Blake’s 2011 song ‘The Wilhelm Scream’. Now Litherland has announced a new solo album. It’s titled ‘Black ‘n Blue and is definitely one to look out for."

Noah Yoo, Pitchfork

James Litherland is probably best known as a founder member of Colosseum - one of the very first bands to fuse rock, jazz and blues.

'I gave my notice in at work, determined never to do a 'proper job' again. I went straight into the newsagents across the road, bought a Melody Maker music paper and looked in the ads at the back. I saw the ad for Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum featuring Dick Heckstall-Smith. I didn’t know of Jon but I’d seen Dick and thought it would be great to audition as, even if I didn’t get the job, I would have learned a lot and had the chance to play with some top musicians. With the only money I had I immediately phoned the number on the advert. One week later I was living in London and was a professional musician as a member of Colosseum. I’ve never done another ‘proper’ job!

I’m delighted to be back out gigging again. I’d never played a Pizza Express venue before this year - I’ve eaten a few pizzas there in my time and I’m well aware of the great support they give to live music. After performing at their flagship Holborn venue, with my new band, I’m really looking forward to playing at Pizza Express, Birmingham. I hope to see some Colosseum fans there too!’

Colosseum's Valentyne Suite is undoubtably Colosseum’s most well-known album and is widely considered the band’s magnum opus. Both ‘Elegy’ and ‘Butty’s Blues’ were written by James.

James went on to form Mogul Thrash with Michael Rosen (guitar/vocals); Bill Harrison (drums); Roger Ball & Malcolm Duncan (saxophones); and John Wetton (bass).

James has also played and worked with some of the most important figures in rock music history, including George Martin, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Pete Brown (Cream Lyricist), Alexis Korner, Steve Marriott, Finbar Furey, Mick Taylor, Cliff Williams (AC/DC), Graham Broad (Roger Waters/Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings), John Wetton (King Crimson/Roxy Music/Asia) and he is, of course, the father of James Blake whose song “The Wilhelm Scream” was adapted from his own song “Where To Turn” which appears on James's ‘4th Estate’ Album.

In February 2019 James appeared with other ex Colosseum members in a tribute concert to the late Jon Hiseman. James's latest album is 'Back 'N Blue’.

Band Lineup

James Litherland (guitar + vocals)

Cliff Brown (guitar)

Roger Inniss (bass)

Dom Metz (drums)

Sam Montero (keys)