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R.I.P. Andy Gill, Gang of Four co-founder and guitarist dies at 64

on February 01, 2020, 12:50pm

Gang of Four co-founder and guitarist Andy Gill has died at the age of 64.

Gill passed away Saturday, February 1st, in a central London hospital after a short respiratory illness, according to a press release.

In a statement attributed to Gang of Four members John Sterry, Thomas McNeice, and Tobias Humble, the band honored “our great friend and Supreme Leader.”

“Andy’s final tour in November was the only way he was ever really going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row.

His uncompromising artistic vision and commitment to the cause, meant that he was still listening to mixes for the upcoming record and planning the next tour from his hospital bed.

But to us, he was our friend – and we’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of Darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too.

One of the best to ever do it, his influence on guitar music and the creative process was inspiring for us all, as well as everyone who worked alongside him and listened to his music. And his albums and production work speak for themselves.
Go give ‘em a spin for him…”

Gill co-founded the post-punk band Gang of Four in 1974 and remained its only original member up until his death. Gill is specifically credited for pioneering the band’s sparse, jagged sound and looping feedback as heard on critically acclaimed albums such as 1979’s Entertainment! and 1981’s Solid Gold. He also produced or co-produced all of Gang of Four’s albums.

Bands like Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M. would later cite Gang of Four as among their biggest influences. Kurt Cobain described Nirvana as “a Gang of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff,” while Flea’s Red Hot Chili Peppers said Gang of Four was “the single most important influence on his band’s early music.” Appropriately, Gill went on to produce Red Hot Chili Peppers’ self-titled debut in 1984.

Gang of Four remained an active band at the time of Gill’s death. In 2018, they released an EP called Complicit, which they followed up last year with a full-length album titled, Happy Now.