Wilko Johnson: 1970s Pub-rock Band Dr Feelgood Has Died, Aged 75


Wilko Johnson, whose machine-gun guitar model and manic stage presence was a significant affect on punk, has died.

The musician discovered fame with the Seventies pub-rock band Dr Feelgood, and later performed with Ian Dury earlier than embarking on a four-decade solo profession.

He additionally starred in two sequence of Game Of Thrones because the mute executioner Ser Ilyn Payne.

Ten years in the past he survived what was initially recognized as a terminal case of pancreatic most cancers.

The musician refused chemotherapy to embark on a farewell tour.

“The choice was fairly straightforward – chemotherapy might do not more than lengthen my life for a comparatively brief interval and I assumed I’d simply relatively benefit from the well being that was left to me,” he advised BBC Radio 5 Stay.

Nonetheless, later assessments found that the guitarist’s pancreatic most cancers was in reality a uncommon and fewer aggressive neuroendocrine tumour.

He underwent a radical, 11-hour operation that eliminated his pancreas, spleen and components of his abdomen and intestines, and was declared cancer-free in 2014.

“Now, I am spending my time progressively coming to phrases with the concept that my loss of life isn’t imminent, that I’m going to reside on,” he mentioned at that 12 months’s Q awards.
The musician continued to play reside till final month, internet hosting his closing gig at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 18 October.

Johnson’s loss of life was confirmed to the BBC by his representatives.

In a press release posted on social media, they added: “That is the announcement we by no means needed to make, and we accomplish that, on behalf of Wilko’s household and the band, with a really heavy coronary heart.

“Wilko Johnson has died. He handed away at residence on Monday night, 21 November 2022.

“Thanks for respecting Wilko’s household’s privateness at this very sad time, and thanks all for having been such an amazing assist all through Wilko’s unimaginable life.”

The Who’s Roger Daltrey, who recorded a high three album with Johnson in 2014, mentioned his good friend’s music would “reside on”.

“Greater than something Wilko needed to be a poet,” he mentioned in a press release. “I used to be fortunate to have identified him and have him as a good friend. His music lives on however there is no escaping the ultimate curtain this time.”

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Web page tweeted that he was “unhappy to listen to of the passing of Wilko Johnson”, recalling how the ambiance was “electrical” when he noticed the late guitarist carry out in Camden in 2013.

Guitar hero
Born in Canvey Island, Essex, Johnson developed a particular, finger-picked model that blended percussive stabs and fluid licks, permitting him to play lead and rhythm guitar on the similar time.

“It’s kind of like driving a motorcycle,” he advised Radio 4 in 2013. “It is easy to do however troublesome to explain”.
He perfected the model with Dr Feelgood, the place his intense and unhinged stage persona gave the band a menacing power.

Johnson recorded three studio albums with the band however, fittingly, it was the reside report Stupidity that turned their solely primary.

Steve Howley, of Basic Rock journal, as soon as mentioned Johnson’s confrontational model led on to punk, calling him “one of many quintessential English guitar heroes.”

“Wilko is probably not as well-known as another guitarists, however he is proper up there,” agreed Paul Weller in an interview with Uncut journal.

“There are lots of people who’ll say the identical. I can hear Wilko in a number of locations. It is some legacy.”

Area fanatic
Arguments with Dr Feelgood’s lead singer Lee Brilleaux led to Johnson’s departure in 1977. He fashioned a short-lived band known as Stable Senders, who launched on album on Virgin Information, earlier than Johnson joined Ian Dury’s backing group The Blockheads.

After Dury’s drug issues prompted the dissolution of that group, the guitarist set out on a solo profession, with albums together with Ice On The Motorway, Name It What You Need and Barbed Wire Blues – which launched his common backing group The Wilko Johnson Band.

They toured relentlessly, receiving a recent wave of curiosity within the twenty first Century due to Julien Temple’s Oil Metropolis Confidential, a Dr Feelgood documentary that introduced Johnson as a loveable, crazy, quintessentially British guitar god.

On the again of the movie’s success, two volumes of The Better of Wilko Johnson have been launched in 2010, and the musician began writing his autobiography, Trying Again on Me, the place he detailed his love of astronomy – going as far as to construct his personal observatory in Southend.

“I actually wish to go into the galaxies, to be within the intergalactic void,” he wrote.

After recovering from most cancers, he continued to play and report, supporting Standing Quo on their 2014 tour and releasing his final album, Blow Your Thoughts in 2018.

Information of his loss of life was greeted with unhappiness on Twitter, with musicians including Blur’s Graham Coxon, Blondie’s Clem Burke and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess paying tribute.

“Very unhappy to listen to Wilko Johnson has died,” wrote Alex Kapranos of the indie band Franz Ferdinand.

“His distinctive, wired taking part in and stage presence thrilled and impressed many guitarists, myself included. His presence can be felt for a lot of extra years.”


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