At just 12, his band the Heights have been smashing it, playing gigs all across the North of England and Manchester.
The Height are a three-piece alt indie rock band hailing from the musical mecca of Salford consisting of John Denton on Vocals/Lead Guitar, Brandon Greenalgh on Bass and Ted Ellis on Drums.
The band were formed in the late summer of 2022 and released their official debut single ‘Nowhere’ in December 2022 following it up with the single release of ‘Go’ in February 2023 and since then it’s fair to say that things have been an absolute whirlwind for the band, with not only both singles receiving much critical acclaim and praise from some pretty serious high end radio and press but the band also caught the ear and eye of legendary The Smiths guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr who awarded lead vocalist/guitarist John Denton the first ever ‘The Salford Foundation Trust Johnny Marr Award’.
It’s the sort of thing that many seasoned musicians can only dream of and it’s made all the more amazing when you factor in the band’s ages with Lead singer/Guitarist John being only 12 years old!
We caught up with John ahead of the release of the band’s latest EP, Nowhere to Go.
The EP is being produced on CD and is being printed and distributed by Vinyl Revival, the legendary record shop and Label in the Northern Quarter.
All proceeds from the sale of the EP are going to be donated to the hospital charity Christie Charity.
The EP is available to purchase HERE NOW
For the uninitiated, can you describe your sound?
Hi, my name is John, I’m 16 and I play guitar in a band the Heights.
We’ve played gigs in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and we’re playing in Yorkshire this weekend.
Right now, we’re trying to play as many gigs as possible.
ACDC is the band that made me pick up a guitar, and The Smiths are probably my biggest influence in music.
I really like ACDC’s rock sound. But my favourite album is “The Queen is Dead”.
It has amazing guitar lines and beautiful lyrics.
I also like “Strangeways, Here We Come” a lot.
I think The Libertines are up there too, kind of the chaos rock and roll energy. That’s a bit of us.
I’m from Salford, so it’s in my blood really.
I met Johnny Marr from The Smiths at an event last year where my mom and I lined up for three hours to meet him.
It was great to chat with him and I got a picture with him. He was really nice and asked if I was in a band.
I told him I was trying to start one, but we needed a bassist. He said I can have Andy Rourke’s number if I wanted it. What a legend.
You began your career busking, what was that like?
Yeah, I was just 11 when I started out busking on Market Street.
I was nervous, but people in Manchester just love music. It’s part of the culture in everyone.
I got a really good reception, so kept on doing it.
Kind words from everyone just inspired me to keep on going.
Can you tell us about your single Nowhere?
Yeah, so I wrote it in early 2021 and then we released it in December of 2022, when we’ve been together for about six months.
It was actually really good.
When it was released, I went to see a band called Lottery Winners with Tez, the drummer.
Maybe we were a bit inspired by them, they are an amazing band. Love them.
Are there any other Manchester Bands you like?
I love a band called the Dirty Laces. They are class. We’ve supported them a few times.
Obviously we’ve got an incredible music history, do you feel pressure to live up to expectations from bands from the city?
I think being from Manchester definitely carries a certain level of expectation and pride in the music scene.
Everything about it, the football, the history. There’s a lot to be proud of.
There’s a rich history of amazing bands and artists coming from Manchester, so I can understand feeling both pressure and inspiration to live up to that legacy.
But at the same time, I think every band or artist has their own unique voice and approach, and it’s important to stay true to that and not get too caught up in comparisons or expectations.
Ultimately, it’s about creating music that you love and that resonates with others.
If you want to catch the Height live – here’s a list of their upcoming gigs:
Coming up, the band already have many dates pencilled in the diary in Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Doncaster, Tyldesley, Geronimo Festival, Liverpool & Bury – see below for further details
25.03.23 – Birmingham
03.23 – 33 Oldham St, Manchester – (Supporting Small Talk)
02.04.23 – 33 Oldham St, Manchester – (Supporting Dirty Laces)
Loafers, Halifax – 22.04.23 (National Record Store Day)
29.04.23 – The Little Un, Pontefract
13.05.23 – Lounge Bar, Tyledesley – (All day music with Jace Campbell & Bez from the Happy Mondays on later)
13.05.23 – Salford Lads Club – (John alone supporting Vinny Perculiar)
17.06.23– Monton AFC, Manchester – (GFest)
30.06.23 – Poynton, Stockport – (Family Festival)
29.05.23 – Geronimo Festival
09.09.23– Sessions, Wax N Beans, Bury