Artist News

Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill dies

By | Published on Monday 3 February 2020

Gang Of Four

Gang Of Four guitarist Andy Gill has died, aged 64, having fallen ill after the band completed a tour of Australia, New Zealand and China in November.

“Andy’s final tour … 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”, said the band’s current line-up in a statement. “His uncompromising artistic vision and commitment to the cause meant that he was still listening to mixes for the upcoming record, whilst planning the next tour from his hospital bed”.

Formed in the late 70s, Gang Of Four became highly influential in the post-punk scene – particularly due to Gill’s distinctive guitar playing style – and well beyond too, although they never reached the levels of commercial success of some of their contemporaries.

Following the successful independent release of their debut single ‘Damaged Goods’ in 1978, the band signed to EMI. Their first single for the label, ‘At Home He’s A Tourist’, scored them an invitation to perform on ‘Top Of The Pops’. However, they walked out when asked to censor the word ‘rubbers’, a reference to condoms. The song was then banned across the BBC, due to the word being considered too risqué.

Dropped by EMI after one album, they then signed to Warner Bros, where they put out three more album releases. The band split in 1984, but reformed a number of times, most recently with Gill as the only original member.

As well as many of Gang Of Four’s own albums, Gill also produced records for a number of other artists during his career. That included, in 1984, the debut Red Hot Chili Peppers album. That famously became an antagonistic collaboration, as the band fell out with Gill over the sound of the record – relations not helped by them noticing in his notes about their songs that he’d just written “shit” next to one of them.

Nevertheless, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers was among the artists paying tribute to Gill this weekend. Revealing that “after not being in touch for many years, Andy and I had spoken recently, and communicated a lot of over the last several months”, Flea wrote on Instagram that Gill “was one of my heroes” who “inspired the shit out of [his band]”. He added: “May his beautiful soul be in bliss with the divine, I love you Andy.”

Other acts Gill produced over his career included The Jesus Lizard, The Stranglers, Killing Joke, Bis, The Young Knives and The Futureheads.