Killing Joke’s Geordie has died and I am absolutely gutted about it. He didn’t really sound like anything else on earth, and his playing style practically invented a genre. I first saw them in 1989, and they were never anything other than ear-bendingly brilliant. Jaz’s dramatic stage persona and conspiracy-theory hugging lyrics may have always been in the spotlight, but it was Geordie’s guitar that defined their sound more than anything.
I saw them this year at the Royal Albert Hall. At the time I wrote:
When I was playing my scratched up second-hand vinyl copies of the Killing Joke and What’s THIS For…! LPs in my teenage bedroom in the late eighties I can’t imagine it crossed my mind for a second that I would be seeing Killing Joke play them both live in full at the Royal Albert Hall nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century. Yet here we all were. I think there are plenty of guitarists who are more virtuoso, and plenty of guitarists who are more versatile, but Geordie from Killing Joke remains my favourite guitarist of all time. He just creates an absolutely unique wall of noise with such a minimal languid playing style. I could watch him play forever.
It turned out that I could not watch him play forever. Or, indeed, would ever get to watch him again.