Former Barking punk poet comes back from the brink with new releases

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 February 2016

Garry Johnson with the Stone Roses, who he used to manage

Garry Johnson with the Stone Roses, who he used to manage


A punk poet who managed The Stone Roses in the 1980s has bounced back from a near-death experience with a new book and album.

Garry Johnson, a year on from heart bypass surgeryGarry Johnson, a year on from heart bypass surgery

Socialist rebel Garry Johnson, 50, was in a coma for 29 days last year after a triple heart bypass went wrong. His life was saved by Dr Hasnat Khan, the ex-lover of Princess Diana.

Former Barking resident Gal, as he is known to friends, technically died twice while in Basildon Hospital, but while recovering he was contacted by Swedish singer Soren “Sulo” Karlsson about releasing a record of his work.

Armed with a new lease of life, Gal is now looking to the future with the release of his book and album double whammy, Punk Rock Stories and Tabloid Tales.

“When I came out of hospital I kept getting these emails from Soren “Sulo” Karlsson. He said when he was young he was a fan of all my old poems and wanted to make a record.

“Thankfully I’m not singing, but he’s singing my poems with a band backing him.

“It’s being produced by the man who did Paul Young’s Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home).”

Gal was among the crop of young rebellious poets to emerge in the 1980s.

He began writing for Sounds music magazine and stumbled upon a Mancunian band called The Stone Roses, travelling to Manchester to interview them. He struck up a relationship with the band and went on to manage them.

Singer Ian Brown even credited Gal with launching their career.

Despite having to learn how to speak again following his coma, Gal’s new album features some new material among his old work.

And having got his creative appetite back he’s now working on an “ironic God Save The Queen” for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday this year.

He’s not stopping there either. Gal has sent his book to Ray Winstone and his agent, who are apparently considering making a big screen adaption.

“He’s one of my favourite actors,” said Gal. “My dream is for him to play me in a film about my life.”

Punk Rock Stories and Tabloid Tales, published by New Haven, and Soren “Sulo” Karlsson’s album of the same name, on Cargo records, were both released at the start of the month.

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