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Dick Witts

Dick Witts, 2006
Background information
Birth name Richard Witts
Origin Lincolnshire, England
Occupations Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author
Instruments Percussion
Years active 1978–present
Labels Virgin, Cherry Red, LTM
Associated acts The Passage
Hallé Orchestra
Dreamtiger Ensemble

Richard "Dick" Witts is a professional musicologist and ex leader of 1980s band The Passage. He was born in Cleethorpes on the coast of Lincolnshire, England.

He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and briefly at Manchester University. During this time he was a member of the Hallé Orchestra as a percussionist. During the mid-1970s he wrote for the contemporary classical music magazine Contact.

At that time, he was also involved in starting a Manchester Musicians Collective (on the model of the recently established London Musicians Collective). This led into contact with the growing punk scene and he formed The Passage, producing their recordings and singing on many of their releases.

He presented television programme Oxford Road Show in the early 1980s for the BBC from Oxford Road Studios, Manchester and was also a reporter for BBC Radio 3.

Thirty of his radio interviews and contributions are housed in the British Library Sound Archive. In 2003 he gave the Saul Seminar there on the history of music presentation in radio.

During the late 1980s he became involved in arts administration roles. He subsequently wrote a critical history of the Arts Council of Great Britain: Artist Unknown: An Alternative History Of The Arts Council.

His first book, Nico — the Lives and Lies of an Icon, was a biographical study of the German singer and songwriter (Virgin Books, 1993).

Dick now lives in Edinburgh and is a writer who lectures at Goldsmiths College, London, the University of Surrey in Guildford and the University of Sussex. He was appointed Fellow in Music at the University of Edinburgh for the academic year 2007-8.

His third book, a study of the music and history of The Velvet Underground, was published by Equinox (UK) and the Indiana University Press (USA) in September 2006.

Witts is mentioned in the book Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. He is credited with sending a package containing some of Aphex Twin's music to Karlheinz Stockhausen. He is currently researching a book on the history of British music from 1941–2000.

Witts is consultant to the ensemble Icebreaker.

External links

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