Jo Whittaker
Jo Whittaker

Hi All!

Singing has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. My earliest recollection is of being two years old; my Dad had taught me to sing 'Daisy Daisy' and both he and my Mum would get me to sing it to people, saying things like "Ooh, she's really advanced for her age, you know!" - a bit like a lot of parents do, I suppose. I haven't really stopped singing since, getting most of my training from various choirs such as primary school, church, Oldham Girls' Choir etc. - every opportunity, really.

I moved on from choral singing and in the mid '80's began solo work, singing in venues up and down the country. This was valuable experience for me and was where I learned a lot of my craft. I realised I could use my singing and personality to perform to an audience.

My musical tastes changed direction quite abruptly one day when I heard Ann Wilson from Heart. What a voice, and what fantastic melodic music! Rock music! That was what I had been looking for. It made me realise that singing solo was becoming less appealing. I wanted to be a singer in a rock band and, after meeting like-minded musicians, that is exactly what I became. This is how I met Dave, who a few years later became my husband; and Carl, who has been a good friend ever since. Our band, Matrix, was born. We were a melodic rock band and, if I say so myself, we were pretty darn good! I'm very proud of what we achieved.

It was now the late 80's and my musical tastes widened. I discovered Styx, who to this day are one of my all-time favourite bands. I just love the theatricality of the music and the creative use of melody with both the voices and instruments.



After Matrix decided to call it a day, and Dave had joined Strangefish, I became one of their number one fans. The other "Fishwives" (as we had affectionately become known!) and I enjoyed offering our support and commitment to them not just because we were married to them, but because their unique blend of musicianship and close friendship helped them put on an amazing and thoroughly entertaining show. We believed in them. Being an audience member instead of being up onstage in the thick of it was new to me, but supporting Strangefish was how I got my fix and at the time, it was enough for me. Their last gig in 2008 was a very sad day.

A few years later, Paul asked if Steve, Bob, Dave and Carl would be willing to get together and play at a fundraising event for a local pressure group he'd become involved with and asked if I would like to sing, too. I jumped at the chance and after the gig, it was obvious to us that we didn't want it to stop there. Strangefish was reborn and this time, with me included!

To me, it's a dream come true. It's completely thrilling and exciting to be involved in writing new material. I count myself very lucky to be a part of something so special and I'm writing this with a great big smile on my face!