Took a big hit this morning when I heard on the radio that Wilko Johnson had pancreatic cancer. Wilco, the manic lead guitar and writer for Dr Feelgood has decided to go for a farewell tour rather than take Chemotherapy, and who of us is to say his choice is right or wrong.
The Feelgoods were a great live band, actually that doesn’t do them justice. If you watch the Julian Temple film; “Oil City Confidential”, you will get a bit of an idea of this band, which grew out of the backwater of the Thames Delta known as Canvey Island.
In it you will see Lee Brilleaux’s Mum talking about a gig at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1977, and she describes how it was so exciting that none of Lee’s family could sleep that night. I was there, it was so good that when the kids spilled out into the area of Hammersmith under the elevated section of the main road, there were running fights breaking out everywhere.
There was no reason for it, it was just the buzz of the night. Unforgettable. I would guess it was like that when Bill Hailey was playing at the birth of Rock ‘n Roll.
If there was problem with the Feelgood’s it was that they looked back at a time when punk was looking forward – they just got left behind.
In a time when bands were pretentious poseurs, they played in black and white under bright white lights. The first album came out in mono too.
But the effect of their music was to blast out all the crap of the 1970’s and open the door to something new that changed the world.
But they left behind such memories and music.
The Cancer Crew salutes you, Wilco.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)