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Wilko Johnson: ‘Game of Thrones actor, Dr. Feelgood rocker who defied cancer, dies at 75

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London — Wilko Johnson, guitarist for British blues-rock band Dr Feelgood, who had an unexpected career renaissance after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died. he was 75 years old.

A statement posted Wednesday on Johnson’s official social media accounts on behalf of Johnson’s family said the musician died Monday night at his home in the South East of England.

Born John Wilkinson in 1947, Johnson grew up on Canvey Island, a wetland industrial oil town at the mouth of the Thames in England. He studied Anglo-Saxon Literature at the University of Newcastle and worked as a schoolteacher before with his local friends he founded Dr. Feelgood.

In an era of glitzy glam and luscious prog rock, they played then-unfashionable brands of blues and R.&B wore cheap suits to make themselves look like “shoddy bank robbers,” Johnson later said.

Johnson, with his choppy, relentless guitar style and thousands of yards of glare, helped give Dr. Feelgood a dangerous edge. That look is terrifying enough to later give him a role as the Silent Executioner Sir Ilyn his Pain in “Game of Thrones.”

The anarchic outfit soon inspired the band to fuel an explosion of UK punk, teetering on the edge of global fame, earning a UK No. 1 album, touring the US and being signed to CBS Records. . Then, in 1977, Johnson left the company amid conflicts with the charismatic lead, his singer Lee Brilleaux, who died in 1994.

Johnson later said that if the band had been able to act according to their manager’s instructions, “we were sure we would be millionaires. We fell.”

Johnson has performed with Ian Dury’s band, The Blockheads, for many years, mainly in the UK and Japan to a devoted fan base.

In 2012, Johnson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told it was terminal. He declined chemotherapy and decided to go on his final tour, recording his “final” album Going Back Home with The Who’s Roger Daltrey.

In 2013, he told the Associated Press, “I suddenly found myself in a position that no longer meant anything. I’m usually a miserable person. I would,” he said. All we care about is getting in the way of what’s real. And suddenly it doesn’t matter. They don’t matter at all.

“You walk down the street and you feel intensely alive. Oh, look at those leaves! You look around and think I’m alive. Isn’t that great?” Is there?”

In another twist, Hwang, who is also a cancer expert, offered to help. After surgery to remove a 3-kilogram (6.6-pound) tumor, Johnson announced he was cancer-free in 2014. He released another album, Blow Your Mind, in 2018 and was gigging with the Wilko Johnson Band until last month.

Daltrey paid tribute to the “uncompromising Canvey bard”.

“More than anything, Wilco wanted to be a poet,” he said. “I was fortunate to know him and to have him as a friend. His music lives on, but we can’t escape the final act this time.”

Johnson is survived by sons Simon and Matthew and grandson Dylan.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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