Saturday, October 31, 2020

Obituary - Pierre Kezdy

On Friday 9 October 2020, Pierre Kezdy - bassist with the bands NAKED RAYGUN, PEGBOY and STRIKE UNDER among others - passed away at a Hospice in Glenview, Illinois. He was aged 58. The cause of death was Cancer. 
Born on 4 January 1962 in Chicago, Illinois, he was the younger brother of then-future EFFIGIES frontman, John Kezdy. 
In 1979, he formed the band STRIKE UNDER which released the ‘Immediate Action’ 12” on Wax Trax! in 1981 before forming TRIAL BY FIRE in the same year following the departure of STRIKE UNDER’s vocalist. In 1982, that band split and Kezdy went on to join NAKED RAYGUN for the band’s second album, ‘All Rise’. It was a band he stayed loyal to for ten years - writing fan favourites ‘Vanilla Blue’ and ‘Home’ among others - before joining PEGBOY in 1994 (just in time for the ‘Earwig’ album). The band that was formed by former NAKED RAYGUN guitarist, John Haggerty.
Throughout this time, Kezdy kept his day job of plumbing. 
NAKED RAYGUN started playing again in 2007 and in 2011 Kezdy fell victim to a stroke. Being forced to leave, he recovered sufficiently to rejoin the band for some live shows in 2013. 
In 2007, Kezdy was also interviewed for the film You Weren’t There, a film that looked at the Chicago Punk scene. 
Besides the bands mentioned, he also played in RAINBOW GIRLS (with his brother, John), THE INTECEPTORS and ARSENAL, which also featured Santiago Durango of BIG BLACK and NAKED RAYGUN fame. 
In addition to his brother John (who fronted THE EFFIGIES), Kezdy is survived by his wife Heather, children Nicole, Mary, Peter and Delphine and his brother Andre.

I never got to see Kezdy live. Much as I love NAKED RAYGUN, it is PEGBOY that had the biggest impact. I interviewed the band’s guitarist John Haggerty in issue two of Scanner, back in 1998 just after the release of the band’s third album, ‘Cha Cha Damore’. Kezdy did come up in conversation when I asked about his joining the band. Haggerty replied that original bassist Steve Saylors wanted to leave the band and, having thought they had exhausted all possibilities that, “it dawned on me that Pierre wasn’t really all that busy with Naked Raygun anymore, so we called him and he said yeah!”.  

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Obituary - Walter Lure

On Saturday 22 August 2020, Walter Lure, best known as the rhythm guitarist and co-songwriter in JOHNNY THUNDERS AND THE HEARTBREAKERS, passed away. He was aged 71. The cause of death was due to complications arising from liver and lung cancer.  
Lure was born Walter Charles Lurh Jr on 22 April 1949 in Floral Park, in the Queens borough of New York City, the son of Eillien Luhr (ne: Kealy) and Walter Lurh, a retail banker. He grew up in Queens Village while his teens were spent in Floral Park, Nassau County. 
On graduating from Fordham University - where he majored in English and minored in Chemistry - he tested safety products for the Food And Drug Administration in Brooklyn. 
In 1975, after playing in a number of cover bands, he joined THE HEARTBREAKERS. In his autobiography published earlier this year, To Hell And Back: My Life In Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, he wrote of his meeting with the band at Richard Hell’s East Village apartment where his hair was cut off and Jerry Nolan cooked up a shot of Heroin: “Everything I would experience during that period, but especially throughout the life span of the Heartbreakers, would ultimately be refracted through the lens of my addiction.”
He had distinct opinions on how a Rock ‘n’ Roll band should sound, writing in the same autobiography: “It was as if everybody was so concerned about somehow sounding ‘unique’ that they forgot that, sometimes, the kids just wanna rock. That was the niche that the Heartbreakers slipped into, and that was why they’d excited me so.” That was directed to his NYC contemporaries TALKING HEADS and TELEVISION. 
Within THE HEARTBREAKERS, he performed on and wrote several songs on what became one of the late-70s most iconic, influential and down-right enjoyable albums, ‘L.A.M.F’ - this included taking over lead vocal duties on such classics as ‘One Track Mind’ and ‘All By Myself’. The band played all of the NYC hotspots of the era, plus the infamous ‘Anarchy’ UK tour of 1977 with SEX PISTOLS.  He left the band in 1978 but returned a number of times through to 1991.
Post-HEARTBREAKERS he scored a job as a stock broker on Wall Street running financial date for a computing company - a job he supposedly garnered via his father’s connections. This lead to a position at a brokerage firm overseeing a team of 125 and a long career in finance that lasted until he retired, in 2015.
In 1988, he managed to sober up and dry out after years of drug abuse. Throughout this time, he intermittently played several HEARTBREAKERS reunions, continued to work with JOHNNY THUNDERS on his solo work, augmented RAMONES on both ‘Subterranean Jungle’, ‘Too Tough To Die’, worked with the bands THE BLESSED, THE HURRICANES and THE HEROES  plus his own band, WALTER LURE AND THE WALDOS which released its debut album in 1994 with ‘Rent Party’ and a final album in 2018 entitled ‘Wacka Lacka Loom Bop A Loom Bam Boo’.
The last surviving member of the iconic HEARTBREAKERS line-up, Lure passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by family and friends. 
Lure is survived by his son, Damian Da Costa, a brother William Luhr, twin granddaughters and his partner, Mr Andy Le. 

I never got to see Walter Lure live. I am a massive Johnny Thunders fan and have watched a lot of videos, listened to a lot of records (official and bootlegged) and, without a doubt, Lure was the best accompaniment for the Thunders talent.  He seemed to provide a bit of grounding, with his centre stage position. It’s also clear that his tracks on ‘L.A.M.F’ gave it that extra dynamic that pushes it into a different league.  And let’s face it, if Johnny Ramone can allow him to cut guitar parts on three RAMONES albums, then the talent speaks for itself. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Obituary - Tim Smith

On Tuesday 21 July 2020, Tim Smith, best known as vocalist, front man and main writer of CARDIACS passed away. He was aged 59. The cause of death was a heart attack. 
Born Timothy Charles Smith on 3 July 1961 in Carshalton, Surrey, England, he had formed his first band by 1975 with some school friends while 1977 saw the formation of THE FILTH with his brother Jim. 
By 1979, he had formed CARDIAC ARREST releasing its first single, ‘A Bus For A Bus On A Bus’, before taking over vocals the following year for the ‘The Obvious Identity’ cassette album. In 1981, the band had morphed into CARDIACS for the release of the cassette album, ‘Toy World’.
In 1983, Smith married Sarah Cutts, who had joined the band three years prior. 
Smith created the Alphabet Business Concern in 1984, a carefully constructed myth of an exploitative organisation that dictated CARDIACS activities and held them to account. It debuted with ‘Archive Cardiacs’ that compiled the two previous cassette only releases. All future CARDIACS material, bar a rare exception or two, was released on Alphabet Business Concern. 
CARDIACS was a unique band and virtually unparalleled in a live setting. Fusing the abrasiveness of Punk and the musical exploration of Prog Rock, the band created a truly original sound be it on the minor hit single, ‘Is This The Life’ (minor as in reaching #80), through the majestic ‘Heaven Born And Ever Bright’ album (which opened with symphonic ‘The Alphabet Business Concern {Home Of Fadeless Splendour}’) through to the epic double album ‘Sing To God’.
Smith had a few side projects also, including the solo album ‘Tim Smith’s Extra Special OceanLandWorld’ which was recorded between 1989 and 1991 and saw release in 1995, while THE SEA NYMPHS was a side project that featured his ex-wife Sarah and William D. Drake (both of whom had been in CARDIACS), and played a gentler, lighter sound featuring greater emphasis on keyboards, vocal rhythms and brass. 
Two lesser known roles included performing with Jo Spratley in SPRATLEY’S JAPS in 1995, playing on and producing the band’s 1999 album ‘Pony’, and touring solo in support of GINGER AND THE SONIC CIRCUS in March 2006.
Outside performing, he also owned the recording studio, Apollo 8 in Wiltshire, producing several artists including LEVITATION, EAT, OCEANSIZE, SIDI BOU SAID and former WILDHEARTS frontman Ginger. 
He was also recognised as a video editor, working with bands as disparate as SEPULTURA and THE FRANK AND WALTERS, along with CARDIACS. 2008 saw the film, ‘The Wildhearts Live In The Studio: A Film By Tim Smith’ which featured THE WILDHEARTS performing their self-titled album along with some surreal intervals.   
A final CARDIACS album, ‘LSD’, remains unfinished. 
Tragedy struck on 25 June 2008 when Smith suffered a heart attack and stroke (after a MY BLOODY VALENTINE concert) and underwent a long period of rehabilitation, which included a second stroke in hospital. He experienced a lack of oxygen to the brain during cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with dystonia, which causes muscles to contract uncontrollably. To aid his on-going recovery, three events named The Alphabet Business Convention were staged in 2013, 2015 and 2017 while in 2016 a one-off gig in Preston named The Whole World Window was staged. 
A fundraiser set up for his care in 2018 read: “This condition has affected Tim’s movement, his dexterity, his ability to speak, and it has added painful muscle tone and spasms that are a permanent feature of his life these days.” Just the year before, Smith is quoted as saying of his condition, “Imagine if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit made of fishnet all around you, with electrical pulses going all the time. This is what my body feels like unless I fall asleep.”
On 25 October 2018, Smith received the degree Doctor Of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which brother Jim accepted on his behalf. 
Smith’s passing was announced by his brother Jim and bandmate Kavus Torabi stating Smith had “passed away peacefully at around 10.30pm”. 

My memories of CARDIACS go back to seeing them on Channel Four’s The Tube in 1987, when the programme aired the ‘Tarred And Feathered’ video. I didn’t have a clue what it was, whether I liked it or hated it. The Tube, from memory, played more CARDIACS stuff - and I got a taste for them. 
I finally got to see the band when they played Ipswich Caribbean Club in March 1992. The Caribbean had a reputation for bad sound but CARDIACS made the place sound awesome - the only band I ever saw that managed it.  I caught them again at Colchester Arts Centre around 1996 on the ‘Sing To God’ tour and a final time at the, I think Highbury Garage (although it might’ve been the Camden Falcon - I know it was cold though!) in early 1999.  
CARDIACS gigs were joyous, distinctly British (as in fusing hymns and music hall into their sound), chaotic, celebratory and frequently laden with make-believe cruelty (witness Tim’s goading and near bullying of his bassist brother, Jim). But never once was I not impressed, or even amazed that such complex songs could be played so efficiently and when the jarring, fractured sounds exploded into a joyous, heavenly symphony of sound, it was a truly beautiful thing.  
Where Smith’s muse came from, I cannot begin to imagine but I feel intensely fortunate that it touched me deeply and I got to experience The Leader Of The Starry Skies in all of his fadeless splendour.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Obituary - Ken Chinn

On Thursday 16 July 2020, Ken Chinn (also known as Mr Chi Pig), best known as the frontman of Canadian Punk band, SNFU passed away. He was aged 57. No official cause of death has been announced. 
Born Kendall Stephen Chinn in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on 19 October 1962, he was the son of a German mother and Chinese father and the second youngest of 12 children. His childhood was traumatic, much of it related to an unstable family life and which would later be diagnosed as schizophrenia. According to Chinn’s early-teen friend, Cameron Noyes, who lived with Chinn at the infamous down-town Edmonton house, Nosedive, they were also the last family in Edmonton to have no running water. 
In 1981, along with brothers Marc and Brent Belke, he formed a band called LIVE SEX SHOWS. This was a short-lived band, but the trio would soon form the band that has become synonymous with Chinn, SOCIETY’S NO FUCKING USE - better known as the acronym SNFU.
Chinn was renowned for high-octane, enigmatic, rather mischievous and frequently airborne performances which often included masks, puppets, outfits and other props and this helped lead the band to release its first records on YOUTH BRIGADE’s BYO label before a splitting in 1989 due to exhaustion and in-fighting. 
Chinn moved to Vancouver, Canada and fronted another short-lived band in THE WONGS which released a solitary EP in 1990 and then split the following year. An even more short-lived band in LITTLE JOE soon followed. Vancouver also provided Chinn’s gateway to a long battle with a number of hard drugs and his coming out as homosexual. 
Late 1991 saw SNFU reform and sign to Epitaph Records in 1993 - producing what was the band’s highest-profile period. However, the label didn’t renew the band’s contract in 1997 and by 2001, there was another hiatus. 
As before, Chinn formed another short-lived project in SLAVECO before SNFU returned to action in 2003 before another split in 2005. This time, Chinn had a down-turn with periods of depression, poverty, addiction and homelessness leading to a complete mental breakdown at the time his mum passed away. Somehow, he also managed to work on an as-yet unreleased solo album. 
2007 saw SNFU reform again and generally stay active from that point on. 
In March 2010, Chinn was the subject of a biographical film in Open Your Mouth And Say... Mr Chi Pig (review here).  The following year Chinn suffered extreme pneumonia along with bouts of cachexia, a wasting syndrome related to chronic alcoholism and malnutrition. The band also became the subject of a book - Chris Walter’s ...What No One Else Wanted To Say - which is pretty much the defining, in-depth analysis of the band and Chinn as a person. 
2013 saw Chinn perform some solo shows as DNFU (Distortion’s No Fucking Use). 
Most recently, Chinn inspired the Edmonton event, Mile Zero Dance Society’s Second-hand Dances for the Crude, Crude City in January - an exploration of what it means be to Punk or alternative in today’s world. In the work, choreographer/dancer Gerry Morita channelled the frustration, violence and catharsis of the early Punk scene.
Outside of the band, he often held court at Vancouver’s Pub 340 or perhaps The Cambie Pub, liked steak tartare, loved to travel, and had read chef Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential repeatedly.
It was reported in November 2019 that Chinn had been medically diagnosed as having only one month to live.  
In the wake of Chinn’s passing, childhood friend Noyes is part of a small Edmontonian group (which includes local venue the Starlite Room) that is working on a pitch to the city to have a mural painted and a statue erected in honour of Chinn, and also to organize an online memorial for him.

I got to see SNFU twice - both crackers - one with a younger Chi, the other with an older version of the same man.  First time was down in Brighton at, I think, the Richmond back around 93/94. It was December, cold and I missed the band’s gig at the George Robey (with SNUFF...). I’d long had at least the first two of those three classic debut albums - it was a time the band was already on Epitaph if I recall. Chi was stunning - energised is one word but not sufficient.
The second was way more memorable - in the band’s home town of Vancouver, Canada during a visit in 2016.  I saw a flyer in a local record shop, got directions (and it was a ten minute walk from where I was staying!) so off I went.  I recall it was an awesome venue with typical Canadian hospitality.  The band blazed, but Chi looked old, damaged but still enthralling.  On the merchandise stand was that biography mentioned above.  Given I was on holiday, I bought it and the seller suggested that, if I hang around after the gig, Chi might sign it - “no promises... Depends on his mood.”  I’m not really an autograph seeker but, SNFU in their hometown and only a ten minute walk home? OK... I waited.
Chi finally appeared and the seller on the merchandise stand (who had retained my book during the gig), pointed me out and gave Chi a pen.  A big signature was scrawled (and on the flipside of the page, so was Chris Walter’s). Chi suddenly grabbed my head, kissed (a bit too noisily) my ear, drawled “thanks man,” and off he went.  It was quite a moment (Good? Bad? You decide!) - both touching, engaging and surprising - just wish I had got a photo somehow!!
Mr Chi Pig - a legend in every circle of Punk Rock and one that set the bar high while succumbing to just about every low imaginable. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Obituary - Steve Hanford

On Thursday 21 May 2020, Steven Hanford (also known as Thee Slayer Hippy), best known as the drummer in Portland based band POISON IDEA, passed away.  He was aged 50. The cause of death was a heart attack.
Hanford was born in Walla Walla, Washington in 1969 before moving to Portland with his family at the age of two. He was playing drums by the age of eight - the same age he allegedly started smoking pot. After playing in a few bands (including Portland’s MAYHEM), he joined POISON IDEA at the tender age of 15, making his recording debut two years later with the album ‘War All The Time’ which not only featured Hanford’s drumming but was also produced by the then-teen.
Come 1990, ‘Feel The Darkness’ heralded what is arguably the greatest of all POISON IDEA albums featuring classics like ‘Taken By Surprise’ and the monumental ‘Just To Get Away’. Again, Hanford produced, this time with aid of the band. It was with this album that the band’s reputation for excess became legendary, with Hanford not being left behind!
Following another intense album in 1993’s ‘We Must Burn’, the band split.  Hanford soon formed a new band, GIFT, with POISON IDEA’s vocalist Jerry A, which released a single album in ‘Multum In Parva’.
He also lended his production skills to albums by Portland post-Hardcore band HEATMISER and indie two-piece CARDINAL.
His addiction, both to drugs and alcohol, lead to a failed suicide attempt and to him spending over seven years in jail (at Oregon State Penitentiary and then Pendleton Correctional Facility) following a succession of pharmacy robberies.  This was in October 2008 and followed an abortive attempt at rehab in which private information was made public by one of the staff.  It wasn’t exactly wasted time though as Hanford joined various inmates and apparently recorded 13 albums with various bands, including two on which he sang lead vocals. 
On release, he collaborated with fellow inmate Sam Redding who started a music programme at Pendleton, on a BLUE OYSTER CULT tribute record and in 2016 went on tour as a hired sticksman with Chicago doomsters, SKULL. More importantly, he stayed clean following his release.  
Coming right up to date, Hanford’s latest project, FETISH, released its debut album ‘World Eater’ in 2019 and included ex-POISON IDEA members, Eric Olsen and Brandon Bentley.
A mere month after that album’s release saw Hanford join THE ACCUSED AD as touring drummer and produce Nick Oliveri;s MONDO GENERATOR’s latest ‘Fuck It’.

It’s kind of a tragedy that I saw POISON IDEA just twice - once at the London Astoria in, I think, 1994. I’m pretty sure the ball of flying hair behind the drumkit was Hanford - surely sounded like it! The second time was several years later at the Highbury Garage - around five years later I guess.
A truly stunning drummer with a fine ear for sound quality, hence his production credits.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Joe Strummer Foundation

I’m sure everyone reading has heard of JOE STRUMMER, the legendary frontman of THE CLASH, solo artist, short-term POGUE, writer and actor. Many have had the tag ‘legendary’ attached to their name, but few deserve it more than Strummer.
What you might not have heard of is a charitable collective in East Sussex, England called JOE STRUMMER FOUNDATION. Its aim is to provide opportunities to musicians and support to projects around the world that create empowerment through music. 
This is achieved via various projects and fundraisers, the latest of which is a rather smart split digital single of CLASH tunes.
The Foundation has three main objectives, being:

  1. The prevention or relief of poverty, particularly of young people, anywhere in the world by providing: grants, items and services to individuals in need and/or charities, or other organisations working to prevent or relieve poverty.
  2. To promote, improve, develop and maintain the education of the public in the art, culture and science of music in all its aspects for the public benefit, in particular young musicians, including by the provision of funds for the purchase of musical instruments and studio rehearsal.
  3. To promote, improve and advance the arts, including music, for the public benefit including by the presentation of exhibitions, public events and concerts.
Their latest project in raising both funds and awareness is a split digital single featuring DIY stalwarts NOSEBLEED and THE ZIPHEADS, both of which cover a CLASH song. It was released on 8th May as a joint venture with Joe Strummer Foundation and Bomber Music, raising funds to support musicians in these incredibly difficult times.
You can get the digital single via Bomber’s bandcamp page with all proceeds going to the JSF, and find out more about the Foundation HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Obituary - Dave Greenfield

On Sunday 3 May 2020, Dave Greenfield, keyboardist with legendary British band, THE STRANGLERS, passed away. He was aged 71. The cause of death was COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Greenfield was born David Paul Greenfield on 29 March 1949 in Brighton, England.
On leaving school, he played with various bands on American airforce bases in Germany, and also played in UK bands while working for his father’s printing business, and as a piano tuner. 
In 1970, one of his early bands, THE BLUE MAXI released a single on Major Minor Records entitled ‘Here Comes Summer’. Other early bands included prog rockers RUSTY BUTLER and CREDO.
Things changed massively when he auditioned for THE STRANGLERS in 1975 and replaced Hans Warmling as the band’s keyboardist. He stayed with the band through to his passing playing on all 17 studio albums and a multitude of live albums, be they official or otherwise.
The story of THE STRANGLERS is well documented and, it is often said the band was influenced by THE DOORS. At the time of joining the band however, Greenfield had hardly heard Morrison and co, and was said to be more influenced by Rick Wakeman of YES and DEEP PURPLES’s Jon Lord.
His most notable contribution to the band was the baroque-influenced 1982 single ‘Golden Brown’ which started off as a piece of waltz-time harpsichord music during the recording of ‘The Gospel According To The Meninblack’ album. With added lyrics, the song became a number two hit single in the UK, also winning an Ivor Novello award.
He frequently sang backing vocals for the band, and in places used a vocoder. His lead vocals can also be heard on the tracks ‘Dead Ringer’, ‘Peasant In The Big Shitty’, ‘Do You Wanna?’ and ‘Four Horseman’.
Outside of the band, Greenfield had an interest in the occult, which was evident from his wearing a pentagram in many early photos of the band.
Besides THE STRANGLERS, Greenfield released an album with the band’s bassist, Jean-Jacques Burnel, in 1983 entitled ‘Fire And Water (Ecoutez Vos Murs)’ which was used for the soundtrack to the film Ecoutez Vos Murs, directed by Vincent Coudanne. He also tried his hand at production with the 1981 single ‘Back To France’ by Boys In Darkness.
On 26 April 2020, he was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus during a stay in hospital for heart-related issues before succumbing to complications related to it on 3 May 2020. 
He is survived by his wife, Pam.

My journey on the road to a life with the music of THE STRANGLERS started either late ‘79 or mid 1980 when I saw them play ‘Duchess’ on (I imagine) Top Of The Pops. I managed to score the 7”, even though it had been out a while by that stage.  Still got it too.
I saw the band live just four times, with the most memorable event being on the ‘Dreamtime’ tour in 1986. It was in my home town of Ipswich and someone had been spitting at the band. Vocalist/ guitarist Hugh Cornwall asked them to stop, which was immediately ignored as a great phelgm-ball headed his way. Cornwall stopped the band, dived into the crowd and pulled Mr. Gobber onto the stage. The band then removed his trousers, and undies and stuff a peeled banana on his wiener before throwing him to the roadies.
The last time I saw the band was 2018 at the Auckland Town Hall here in New Zealand. The abiding memory I have of that was during the keyboard solo in ‘Walk On By’, which Greenfield played one-handed while downing a pint. On completion, and still playing one handed, he scrunched the cup and headed it away!! Biggest cheer of the night? Possibly only ‘Get A Grip’ surpassed it.
It’s without a doubt that it was Greenfield’s keyboard skills that set THE STRANGLERS apart from the rest of the Punk throng. His swirling arpeggios and dramatic swell of sound gave their music not just a greater melodic structure and even accessibility, but they also added something much darker and muscular.
It’s tragic that the very disease that prevented THE STRANGLERS completing their farewell tour should be the virus that took the life of the band’s mercurial keyboardist and one of the two pivotal members remaining.
Greenfield maybe gone, but the sound and memories of those who saw and listened to THE STRANGLERS will live forever.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Obituary - Andy Gill

On Saturday 1 February 2020, Andy Gill - best known as guitarist and co-founder of GANG OF FOUR - passed away at a hospital in London, England. He was aged 64. The cause of death was pneumonia.
Gill was born Andrew James Dalrymple Gill on 1 January 1956 in Manchester, England.
It was while at school in Sevenoaks, Kent that Gill met the co-founder of the band he would become infamous with: future GANG OF FOUR vocalist Jon King. Finding a love of art, they both moved to Leeds to attend the progressive Fine Arts Department at the University. While there they both ran the student film society and adopted the guise of Situationists - a radical French group from the 60s which focused on the alienating effects of mass media and entertainment.
The seeds of an idea of forming a band were sown when the pair visited New York City and experienced the then fledgling Punk scene at CBGB’s (a trip actually funded by grants intended for their studies!). However, it was at the infamous Leeds pub, The Fenton, where the band took shape with the addition of bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. By 1977 the band had fully formed and were soon signed to Scottish independent Fast Product for the release of the ‘Damaged Goods’ single.
To get the band’s political message out there, they then signed to EMI for the single ‘At Home He’s A Tourist’ and the classic debut album, ‘Entertainment!’. Over the successive years, various members left, got replaced, and came back, while Gill remained the only constant on the following nine studio albums. He was reputedly working on mixes of a new album from his death bed, and planning another tour.
Throughout this period, Gill was also a record producer, and produced or co-produced all of the band's albums. He also produced albums for artists such as the THE STRANGLERS, KILLING JOKE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, JESUS LIZARD And THERAPY? among others.
Gill is survived by his wife, journalist Catherine Mayer who he married in 1999, his brother Martin and "many family and elective family members who will miss him terribly" said the band in a press statement.

In all honesty, GANG OF FOUR didn’t quite resonate with me in the same voracious way that many of their contemporaries did. I have the first three albums and can see their influence throughout a myriad of bands (notably two disparate bands in FUGAZI and FRANZ FERDINAND), can appreciate that welding of politics, Punk, Funk and Dub and find Gill’s guitar playing to be not just inventive but iconoclastic in style. All of that considered, I still didn’t go and see the band play in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2019. Now, there is one gig I regret not attending...

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Year-end Recommendations 2019

There were some truly stunning records released in 2019, especially when it came to albums.  GALILEO 7 was a band I had never been aware of before hearing 'There Is Only Now' and it would have walked away with the Best Album title had BOB MOULD not returned to stunning form to deliver the best work he's done since 'Copper Blue'. Sad to hear Portland's ABOLITIONIST has split up too, especially in the wake of the band's best two releases (and that's no disrespect to the older stuff - which is great).  The ever-reliable CHANNEL 3 easily got Best EP with 'The Bellwether' while Dirt Cult Records cranked out three stunning 7"s. Not really had a chance to listen to the three albums listed yet, so that Top 10 could change when I do. Add to that, I haven't heard either of THE MUFFS or THE FREEZE albums that were released in 2019... they'd be contenders for sure.
As for gigs, what a fail!!  2019 was the first year in decades where I never saw a live band at all.  I missed the New Zealand Punk It Up! festival as I left it too late to get tickets and FUCKED UP played Auckland when I was in the US! Oh well... might have been good to give the old ears a break!!
Anyway - hope you agree, and disagree, with my Top Tens of 2019. Have a peruse, take a chance on something you've not heard - and enjoy!!

1. BOB MOULD - Sunshine Rock {Merge}
2. GALILEO 7 - There Is Only Now {Damaged Goods}
3. PARANOID VISIONS - Adverse Reality {FOAD}
4. ABOLITIONIST - Ugly Feeling {1859}
5. GOOD RIDDANCE - Thoughts And Prayers {Fat Wreck}
6. SUBHUMANS - Crisis Point {Pirate's Press}
7. MEMBRANES - What Nature Gives... Nature Takes Away {Cherry Red}
8. SNUFF - There's A Lot Of It About {Fat Wreck}
9. SPERMBIRDS - Go To Hell... {Boss Tuneage}
10. SIGNAL CRIMES - Perfidious Albion {Network Of Friends}
Other Contenders: BRACKISH EDGE - The Cruel Dark Sea {DIY}; REDD KROSS - Beyond The Door {Merge}; STEVE IGNORANT'S SLICE OF LIFE - Don't Turn Away {Overground}; LONG RYDERS - Psychedelic Country Soul {Cherry Red}; DANGER!MAN - Weapons Of Mass Distraction, MOVING TARGETS - Wires, PANDEMIX - In Condemnation {Boss Tuneage}; WARP LINES - Human Fesh, MORE KICKS - S/t, BOTHERS - s/t {Dirt Cult}; PERSONALITY CULT - New Arrows, STEVE ADAMYK BAND - Paradise {Dirtnap}; LAGWAGON - Railer, CJ RAMONE - The Holy Spell {Fat Wreck}; CANDY SNATCHERS - Moronic Pleasures {Hound Gawd}; CASUAL NAUSEA - Demons {TNS}; HIP PRIESTS - Stand For Nothing {Digital Warfare}; JONNY MANAK AND THE DEPRESSIVES - Anybody Wanna Skate {God's Candy}; LENNY LASHLEY'S GANG OF ONE - All Are Welcome {Pirate's Press}; SWEET THINGS - In Borrowed Shoes, On Borrowed Time, JORDAN JONES - s/t {Spaghetty Town}; FONTAINES DC - Dogrel {Partisan}


1. CHANNEL 3 - The Bellwether {Hostage}
2. ABOLITIONIST - A New Militance {1859}
3. KIRA JARI - Spooky Freak {Dirt Cult}
4. SUSPECT PARTS - You Know I Can't Say No {Dirt Cult}
5. WEIRD NUMBERS - Minotaur Dreams {Dirt Cult}
6. MYSTERY GIRL - Heart Breaker {Brain Slash}
7. VULPYNES - Dye Me Red {FOAD}
8. CLEVELAND STEAMERS - Maga Maga Maga {Smog Veil}
9. FAST EDDY - Toofer One {Spaghetty Town}
Other Contenders: WET SPECIMENS - Haunted Flesh {Brain Slash}; CTMF - Marc Riley Session 2019, JOHNNY MOPED - Hey Belinda {Damaged Goods}; KONTACT - Life In A Cage {Militant Tendencies}; THE OUTCASTS - Stay Young {Violated}; GIGLINGER - Money Power And Corruption {DIY}

1. VARIOUS - 1977: The Year Punk Broke {Cherry Red}
2. THE REPLACEMENTS - Dead Man's Pop {Sire}
3. THE DAMNED - Black Is The Night {BMG}
4. JOHNNY THUNDERS - Madrid Memory {Cleopatra/ MVD}
5. D.O.A - 1978: Unreleased Tracks/ Singles {Sudden Death}
6. VARIOUS - Optimism/ Reject {Cherry Red}
7. ADRENALIN OD - The Wacky Hi-Jinx Of... {Beer City}
8. LEFTOVER CRACK - E-Sides And F-Sides {Fat Wreck}
9. EARTH MOTHER FUCKER - I Fuck Therefore I Am {Antigen}
10. REVILLOS - Compendium Of The Weird {Damaged Goods}
Other contenders: DINOSAUR JR - Where You Been {Cherry Red}; BILLY CHILDISH - Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot!, REVILLOS - From The Freezer {Damaged Goods}; RAMONES - It's Alive {Sire}