Determined to deal with his recent diagnosis of terminal cancer on his own terms, Essex guitar hero Wilko Johnson has announced four farewell concerts to say thank you to his fans.
Wilko, who found fame with trailblazing Essex pub-rockers Dr Feelgood in the 1970s, is best known for his rapid-fire machine-gun style of playing and his wild eyed stage persona.
He discovered he had inoperable pancreatic cancer late last year. Told that he may enjoy several months of reasonable health, he rejected the offer of life-prolonging but possibly debilitating chemotherapy.
His manager Robert Hoy says that 65-year-old Wilko, who also played with Ian Dury and The Blockheads and had long led his own Wilko Johnson Band, will play concerts in London, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Glasgow in March.
Hoy said the dates offered Wilko “an opportunity to express his sincere thanks to fans for all the support he has had throught his career.”
In addition to his work as a musician Wilko has also recently appeared as the mute executioner Ilyn Payne, in the fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Tickets go on sale on Monday (January 21). Contact the Box Office: 0844 478 0898, www.thegigcartel.com.
I was sad to learn that the inimitable Wilko Johnson has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The former Dr Feelgood and Blockheads guitarist discovered he had inoperable cancer of the pancreas just before Christmas.
Having been told that even without treatment he may have several months of reasonable health, the 65-year-old musician has announced that he has chosen not to receive chemotherapy and says he will keep performing as long as he can.
Wilko is currently in Japan. A statement from his management says: “on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.
“Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.”
Known for his manic stage persona and machine-gun style of guitar playing, a curious combination of rhythm and lead, Wilko rose to fame in the mid 1970s with the legendary Southend-based R&B band Dr Feelgood. He left the Feelgoods in 1977 and later joined Ian Dury and The Blockheads. He has also enjoyed a successful ongoing solo career.
Many people will recognise Wilko more readily as the mute executioner Ilyn Payne in hit TV series Game Of Thrones. He landed the acting role after appearing in the award-winning Feelgoods documentary Oil City Confidential.