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Jon Courtney

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Title: Jon Courtney  
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Subject: Pure Reason Revolution, Tom Bellamy, Binson, John Courtney, Courtney, The Dark Third, Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2008, Amor Vincit Omnia (Pure Reason Revolution album)
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Jon Courtney

For other people of the same name, see John Courtney.
Jon Courtney
Background information
Birth name Jonathan Courtney
Also known as Cedo Simplex, KC Blitz
Born Sheffield, England
Origin Reading, Berkshire, England
Genres Progressive rock
Alternative rock
New prog
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboard
Years active 2000–present
Labels Superball Music
Associated acts All Bangers, No Mash
Pure Reason Revolution
The Sunset Sound

Jon Courtney is a British singer, guitarist, and keyboard player, formerly in the rock band Pure Reason Revolution. He was also the sole songwriter (except "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" credited to Courtney/Jong) on their first two albums. Outside of Pure Reason Revolution, Courtney is involved in the DJ set All Bangers No Mash under the pseudonym "Cedo Simplex",[1] and is one member of the duo KC Blitz.


Courtney and his brother and former bandmate Andrew Courtney grew up in Reading, Berkshire, as did fellow Pure Reason Revolution members Chloe Alper and Jamie Willcox. In an interview, Courtney points to the precise moment, at approximately age 11, when he decided he wanted to be a musician, when he saw the band Nirvana on the MTV Awards in about 1991.[2] Courtney said, "[F]rom that point on it was like "wow!" – I was transfixed by the TV – "this is what I've got to do, there's no question." The next day I was just hassling my mum for a guitar. I have to play guitar and then I started a huge obsession with Nirvana and the whole grunge scene. So that's definitely a strong turning point for me."[2] He credited the appeal of the moment to the "passion in the music and the passion of the audience's reaction to the music."[2]

Courtney began playing in bands at his secondary school Reading Blue Coat School.[3] He and his brother were involved in the punk band Gel, which was scouted and signed by Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records. Uncut magazine reviewed their first (and only) album Sparkly Things (produced by Julian Standen of The Lemonheads) describing it as "dulcet adolescent vocals, and a thorough grasp of commercial rock dynamics producing an appealing sound redolent of the early Undertones".[4] The band played Reading festival 1998.[5] Courtney enjoyed the experience of touring and recording, and teamed up with his brother, Alper and several others to form the indie pop band The Sunset Sound,[6] which received some airplay before the band members dissolved the band as not representing their style.[3][6][7] The band's music was also inspired by a university project in which Courtney was involved creating new original music for the 1960s television show The Prisoner.[3]

Along with his brother and Alper, Courtney came together with Greg Jong and Jim Dobson, whom Courtney met at the University of Westminster, to form Pure Reason Revolution.[3][8] The band's name was inspired by Courtney's thesis on the nature of genius and its application to Beach Boy Brian Wilson, for which he studied Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.[3][6]


According to Alper, the music of Pure Reason Revolution "grew organically from Jon's songs and influences".[9] The band's prevalent use of harmony, described by Disorder Magazine as a "trademark", is credited to Courtney.[9] Courtney's songwriting draws together the inspiration of such bands as Nirvana, which he describes as his "first obsession", the Beach Boys, the Chemical Brothers and Crosby Stills & Nash.[6] In 2005,, who termed Courtney the "creative force" behind the band, described the "amazingly intricate" songs as "one of the most enticing things" about Pure Reason Revolution.[10] Another reviewer both praised and criticised the song composition, noting that the band had grasped the attributes of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and "...rammed as much of them into their songs as is humanly possible. Besides that they add more by having around about 9 to 10 synthesisers on 1 rack (very stable), a violinist and a female singer. This is what really created the band in my opinion, but in places also let them down. Their songs were quite long-winded with very little vocals and to say they had 2 singers it led them into a bit of a slump."[11]

Lyrically, Courtney expresses an interest in writing about "the less obvious", stating that he writes "subconsciously about snapshots of life, observations, moments, my and other people’s experiences, dreams".[10] Dreams, and the time individuals spend asleep, are among what Alper describes as Courtney's obsessions, which, she notes, "kind of trickle down to us".[9] Courtney acknowledges that his lyrics are often directly inspired by his dreams, which he frequently writes down.[3]

Amor Vincit Omnia (PRR's second LP) was released March 2009 on Superball Music, displaying a considerably more developed electronic sound. Classic Rock Magazine gave the album 8/10 and commented, "once other-worldly, PRR now sound like some mutant offspring of The Chemical Brothers & NIN".[12] NME affirmed the progression with a review stating "they fuse electro with Smashing Pumpkins-style guitar-thrashing. In a world of musical conservatism, this lot walk unafraid".[13] Courtney described the reason for the change of style in an interview:

Chloe and I have been DJing a lot of the past 3 years, and...we have big record collections to take influence from, lots of different types of music, but we definitely wanted to push it more electronic, big influence from bands like Depeche Mode, 80s era Fleetwood Mac, a lot of the newer stuff coming out of Paris. The harmonies of Pure Reason Revolution are ever present but we always said from the beginning that anything goes really, if we want to use any kind of instrumentation, song length, basically use anything for instrumental textures, there are no boundaries or rules. It’s how we create music.[14]

Pure Reason Revolution's third album, Hammer and Anvil, continues some of these themes, though the thematic focus shifts from love to war. Courtney claims he was inspired by "researching my ancestry; specifically Great Granddad & his role in WW1… I’m staggered by the sheer enormity, the valour, the dead, the mass destruction."[15] According to Rock Sound, "the band have retained most of their heavy hooks to create a great crossover record. A track like 'Last Man Last Round' will fit into many Pendulum fans' heads, whereas their progressive elements are still prevalent in 'Open Insurrection'".[16]


  • Cedo Simplex: Courtney has made a name as a DJ independent of Pure Reason Revolution. He plays regular club nights as part of the DJ set All Bangers, No Mash, using the pseudonym Cedo Simplex which he also used to release a remix of the Pure Reason Revolution single Victorious Cupid.[17][18][19]
  • KC Blitz: Along with Jamie Kossoff (K), Courtney (C) has made remixes (as of July 2010) for five different bands under this moniker, including Asking Alexandria, The Word Alive, Boxer Rebellion, Norma Jean, and Bring Me The Horizon. The remixes were released on these bands' respective albums, including on Bring Me The Horizon's all-remix album Suicide Season: Cut Up! and Asking Alexandria's Stepped Up and Scratched.[20][21]


  • Ernie Ball Regular Slinky's (tuned to either Drop D or C)
  • Ernie Ball Skinny Top, Heavy Bottom for "Deus Ex Machina" and "In Aurelia" (tuned to Drop B)


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