The Mighty John Payne

How did I manage to get the mighty John Payne of Asia fame to play (and sing) on my album?

Well, it's another long story, but I will shorten it.  Some time in 1991, Asia's former manager asked if I would be interested in doing artwork for the current album. "You bet", I replied and set about some pencil sketches for the Aqua release.  During the selection process John and Geoff Downes visited my studio to peruse some ideas I had drawn out.  To my horror they chose the design that I least liked - he who pays the piper calls the tune - the space whale machine with dolphins was used:

Aqua, Asia Album Cover by Rodney Matthews

Anyway, back to the story.  I got one well with John and Geoff, but it was John who was in touch more frequently and we became good friends.

John Payne of Asia and fantasy artist Rodney Matthews

Some time around 2007, I plucked up the courage to ask John if he would play some bass guitar for me and, to my surprise, he said yes!  Not long after, things took a less than agreeable turn in my life and the album was shelved and forgotten, until a couple of years ago, when I decided to revisit my idea of a "proggy" album of music, inspired by my images and written jointly with my friend Jeff Scheetz, a great guitarist from Kansas City.

John is a talented and experienced musician - I'm very fortunate to have him on board.  Here we see him in his menagerie, doubling as a recording studio, laying down the bass for The Granite Curtain:



  • I feel very blessed to of been a very good friend of John’s when he was still living here in South Wales UK during his time with Geoffrey at Loco Studios. We all had wonderful times during his time there recording albums Aura and Silent Nation. He then left to go to the other side of the pond…He is very much missed and has left a hudge void

    Tracy-ann Carver
  • Lovely stuff. Met Rodney in Radstock in the 70s when he came to listen to my band practise one evening. He might remember the surname. Saw Kansas in Kansas in 2004, centre of the US prog rock world maybe?
    All the best

    Adrian Withers

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