Roger Wootton

Roger Wootton: Guitar and vocals

Roger Wootton Comus

I attended Ravensbourne College of Art in 1966, where I met Glenn, who, like me, was a keen guitar player. We started jamming and were influenced at the time by John Renbourn and Burt Jansch. We began playing local folk clubs and gradually began adding additional members.

Both Glenn and I were studying graphic design, which, for both of us was not artistically stimulating enough. We met Colin, who was studying in the film and television school. A group of us rented a three story house in Beckenham, which included our soon to become manager, Chris Youle who was living with Jess,one of our art student group and Andy was a friend of a friend and brought in to make up the numbers to pay the rent. Bobbie, also turned up in a similar way and very soon we had a band with four of us living in the same house. I don’t know, these days, what the chances are of five such suitably creative people coming together are, but it does look like an uncanny set of coincidences.

It was at this time that I began writing songs and,through a drug induced haze,and from a rural background, began on the distinctive series of songs which were to become First Utterance. It was at this time that we met up with David Bowie, who was organizing a local weekly gig at a pub in Beckenham. This club was known as the Beckenham Arts Lab; so now we had a weekly residency – a great place to get a band up and running.

Whilst at the house in Beckenham, we auditioned a flute/ bongo player. Among those who applied was Michael Bammi Rose who captivated us and he joined but was replaced a year later by Rob Young, a friend of Colin’s. Chris eventually got us signed to PYE’s new Dawn label and we recorded First Utterance and began touring. After early indications that we were going to be successful, we were eclipsed by the changes in the early 1970s and the work dropped off as all acoustic bands fell out of favour with the emergence of glam rock.

In 1974 the newly formed Virgin Records asked us if we would reform to make another album. Most had gone their separate ways and my new material was much more commercial. You must  be aware of how it was in the 70s. The classification and genres of  the music scene contracted and the industry were totally singles orientated. Anyway only three original members ended up on ‘ To keep from Crying’ and, from our point of view the album was something of a disaster.

During our short history we had written two film scores for director, Lyndsay Shonteff – Permissive and Big Zapper. Afer the complete folding of Comus in 1974 members of the band, including myself collaborated on more film scores. I also designed album sleeves until the 1980s.

For some years I lived with the artist, Sheila Maclurkin. She designed the sleeve for the second Comus album, ‘To keep from Crying’. She had a series of exhibitions of her surreallist mythological fantasy art in Sweden for which I helped her prepare and assisted her with her etchings and screen prints. On the subject of the second album, none of the songs are in our current set, but I performed “Down Like A Movie Star” with the Swedish band Piu in Stockholm early in December 2008.

In 2000 I began classical training as a baritone and began scoring out classical songs. I am still working on this project, although, because of Comus reforming and the need for new material, the classical songs are on the back burner.

I look forward to seeing how far Comus can go this time round. We have the original line-up bar one and there is more interest in us now than when we were originally together.

19 thoughts on “Roger Wootton


    020 8698 9561


    1. Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your message. Wilf did come with us to the first reunion gig on the Melloboat. Since then we’ve had to find our own way to gigs! Wilf is pretty much retired now, and lives down on the south coast.


  2. Dear Mr Wootton, Dear Roger, i only just discovered some music of yours through the compilation ‘Dust on the Nettles’. I’ll feature some songs of that triple album in my show My Generation on Radio 68. at any rate, “Winter is Colourful BIrd’ is a great song! Hoping to find you on facebook, kind regards, Eddy


  3. I love the second album. Sure, it’s not as groundbreaking as the first and it is a great departure from the first…but it is a great album on it’s own merits and it saddens me a bit when I read people being down on it. If I saw comus live….I’d love to hear a couple songs off of to keep from crying.


    1. Thanks, Devin – I’ll pass your comments on to the rest of the band. Comus is having a bit of a sabbatical at the moment, but there have been discussions about re-introducing a couple of TTFC songs into the set.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, I’m putting a book together about Bowie 1971. I’m trying to establish if Roger Wooton was Roger ‘the lodger’. I suppose only Roger would know. It’s a bit of a weird one but thought I’d ask. Regards.


  5. Hello Jon and Roger
    I found Comus and First Utterance thanks to a boyfriend I had in 1977 when I was 16-17..
    Wow! wot an impact! I have carried it, shared it, danced with it, returned to it, all through my life.
    It’s the album I would run into the sea to rescue!
    I have experimented, performed and toured in dance and theatre for the last 20 years and I am just now starting to consider a new project. I want to work with remarkable and completely unique artists and that’s you! Would you be happy to have a loose considering conversation about this?
    It would be good to kick some ideas around, have a bit of a play.. Wot do you reckon?


  6. Just to say with regard to the second album, I think Figure in Your Dreams is the best vocal performance from anyone I’ve ever heard. And it’s a lovely song too.


  7. Off of To Keep From Crying, Children of the Universe + TKFC itself have just as much magic as First Utterance for me 🙂 I can’t believe I never thought to just google Comus before, didn’t realise half the members remained active making music in various other projects on and off for the past 45 years!


  8. Hello, I consider First Utterance an absolute masterpiece not just of folk but of music entirely and I would like to keep up with the band. I’d love to follow Roger Wootton, Glen, Jon, Bobbie, anybody really on Twitter/Facebook just to know they’re even still alive and active. You guys are seriously influential in my art and music and would love to hear from you


    1. Hello Joseph. Thank you for your very kind words, which will be passed on to the rest of the band.
      I’m happy to report that we’re all still above ground (for the time being at least)! Glen has a website (, as does Bobbie ( – currently under re-build), and mine is Bobbie is active on Facebook and Instagram (either as Bobbie Watson or Bobbie Seagroatt), and I’m an infrequent, somewhat reluctant contributor the Mark Zuckerberg’s largest ad agency in the world too.
      You might be interested to know that Bobbie and I are video-link performing ‘re-imaginings’ (radical re-arrangements!) of two Comus songs (Herald & In The Lost Queen’s Eyes) as part of an online festival being run by Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio ( on Sunday 5th July.
      Best wishes, and thanks again for your kind comments. Jon


  9. Hi Roger, I was a huge fan of First Utterance first time around and it helped shape my future as a record producer. I am now revisiting it and amazing how I remember every part. My kind of music …. Steve Lillywhite


    1. Hi Steve, thank you for your very kind words. I’ve forwarded your comment on to Rog. I’m sure he’ll be both surprised and flattered to hear that he was an early inspiration for you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s