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Geordie Walker Of Killing Joke Has Died, Aged 64
John Doran , November 27th, 2023 10:39

The innovative and influential guitarist passed away this weekend in his home town of Prague after suffering a stroke

Kevin "Geordie" Walker, one of the most innovative and instantly recognisable guitarists of the post-punk generation and founding member of Killing Joke, has died at the age of 64.

Walker suffered a stroke in his home town of Prague on Friday and then died on Sunday. The news of his passing was confirmed by the members of his band in a statement on Instagram which read: "It is with extreme sadness we confirm that at 6:30am on 26th November, 2023, in Prague, Killing Joke's legendary guitarist Kevin 'Geordie' Walker passed away after suffering a stroke. He was surrounded by family. We are devastated. Rest in peace brother."

After answering an ad that singer/keyboard player Jaz Coleman and drummer Paul Ferguson placed in Melody Maker in 1979 promising "total publicity, total anonymity, total exploitation," Killing Joke became Walker's first band. The band initially took punk in a very heavy but groove-oriented direction, applying equal doses of extreme metal, disco and dub reggae, alienating most in the music press of the day but gaining an army of hardcore fans.

While Killing Joke have never really been accepted as canonical members of any musical movement, be that goth, post-punk, extreme metal or industrial, they minted an original sound which would go on to influence too many groups to list here, but the list would fit comfortably between the poles of Godflesh and LCD Soundsystem.

Walker's style – playing a down-tuned semi-acoustic Gibson ES-295 with delay and chorus – created, for some, the essential sound of alternative rock in the 1980s and his playing style was both lauded by Jimmy Page and Kevin Shields, and was an influence on Ministry, Rage Against The Machine, Metallica, Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

tQ would like to offer sincere condolences to Walker's band members, family and friends.