I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.
He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.
With a wonderful portrait of the great man:
In an interview in the Sunday Times last week guitarist Wilko Johnson gave an insight into why the band eventually split up:
There was this... antagonism... and I tell you, I don’t know what it was about. I know that in our final year, we couldn’t stand one another. A real antipathy. Lemmy puts it down to me being a speed freak and them being boozers, and there's some truth in that, but with Lee, his dislike of me became intense. He never did me wrong. And I never did him any wrong, to my knowledge. It’s sad...
It hadn't occurred to me before, but...of course. Cherchez le drug. That astonishing manic chopped guitar style just had to be amphetamine-fuelled. And Lee Brilleaux was the archetypal pub rock boozer. That clash may have led to their break up, but it's what made them great. And, um, talking of clash:
Temple notes that both the Pistols and the Clash were MC5 fans; Johnson agrees, saying that he got on well with the original punk bands, feeling they were kindred spirits. “The Feelgoods distilled music and lyrics to the very basics,” Temple says, “stripped away everything until they were working from a classic R&B template. Joe Strummer saw them and went off and formed a band. They created the blueprint for what was about to explode out of the UK. Same in New York — they were all listening to Dr Feelgood albums.”
This is the clip I showed then, and it's still about the best glimpse of the man at his peak: TOTP 1975, manically pinging around the stage with that extraordinary guitar style of his, lead and rhythm at the same time (though now, post-Savile enquiry, that DJ at the start seems evem more nauseating):