Wilko Johnson, the guitarist with British blues-rock band Dr. Feelgood who had an sudden profession renaissance after being identified with terminal most cancers, has died. He was 75.
A press release posted Wednesday on Johnson’s official social media accounts on behalf of his household stated the musician died Monday night at his dwelling in southeast England.
Born John Wilkinson in 1947, Johnson was raised on Canvey Island, a marshy, industrial oil city in England’s River Thames estuary. He studied Anglo-Saxon literature at Newcastle University and labored as a schoolteacher earlier than forming Dr. Feelgood with different native mates.
At a time of flamboyant glam and indulgent prog rock, they performed a then-unfashionable model of blues and R&B, wearing low cost fits that made them look, Johnson stated later, like “shoddy bank robbers.”
Johnson helped give Dr. Feelgood a harmful edge together with his uneven, relentless guitar fashion and thousand-yard glare — a glance terrifying sufficient to earn him a job later in life as silent executioner Ser Ilyn Payne on Game of Thrones.
The anarchic outfit impressed bands who would quickly drive the U.Okay. punk explosion, and teetered on the sting of worldwide fame, scoring a U.Okay. No. 1 album, excursions of the U.S. and a take care of CBS information. Then in 1977 Johnson walked out amid friction with charismatic lead singer Lee Brilleaux, who died in 1994.
Johnson later stated that if the band had been in a position to comply with its managers’ directions to behave, “I’m pretty sure we’d be multimillionaires. But we didn’t. We were geezers from Canvey Island. We were great friends, and we fell out.”
Johnson went on to carry out with Ian Dury’s band, the Blockheads, and spent years taking part in to a faithful fanbase, largely within the U.Okay. and Japan.
In 2012, Johnson was identified with pancreatic most cancers and was informed it was terminal. The prospect of dying unexpectedly revived his artistic energies. He declined chemotherapy, determined to go on one final tour, and recorded a “final” album, Going Back Home, with Roger Daltrey of The Who.
“I suddenly found myself in a position where nothing matters anymore,” he informed the Associated Press in 2013. “I’m a depressing so-and-so usually. … I’d be worrying concerning the taxman or all of the issues that we fear about that get in the best way of the true issues. And all of the sudden it doesn’t matter. All of that doesn’t matter.
“You walk down the street and you feel intensely alive. You’re, ‘Oh, look at that leaf!’ You’re looking around and you think, ‘I’m alive. Ain’t it amazing?’”
In one other twist, a fan who was additionally a most cancers specialist supplied to assist. After surgical procedure to take away a 6.6 pound tumor, Johnson introduced in 2014 he was cancer-free. He launched one other album, “Blow Your Mind,” in 2018, and performed gigs together with his Wilko Johnson Band till final month.
Daltrey paid tribute to “the uncompromising Bard of Canvey.”
“More than anything Wilko wanted to be a poet,” he stated. “I was lucky to have known him and have him as a friend. His music lives on but there’s no escaping the final curtain this time.”
Johnson is survived by his sons Simon and Matthew and grandson Dylan.