Keith Levene, co-founder of Clash and Public Image Ltd, dead at 65 – Rolling Stone
Keith Levene, a founding member of Clash and Public Image Ltd, died on Friday 11 November. He was 65 years old. His former bandmates Jah Wobble and Martin Atkins confirmed the news via social media. Levene, who had liver cancer, died at his home in Norfolk, England, by The Guardian.
“RIP Keith Levene – guitar sound like crushed diamonds shot at you through a high pressure hose”, Andy Bell of Ride tweeted.
While Levene’s influential vocalizing shaped the sound of punk and post-punk to come, one of his earliest gigs was working as a roadie for progressive rock artists Yes as a teenager. Shortly after, he joined forces with Mick Jones to form a group that would become The Clash. He left the band before their debut album, although he co-wrote the song “What’s My Name” from their 1977 debut album. He went on to play briefly in the Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious, before teaming up with John Lydon, drummer Jim Walker and bassist Jah Wobble to form Public Image Ltd after the Sex Pistols disbanded in 1978.
Levene and the band were integral to the fusion of reggae and dub in punk and post-punk music, particularly their work on their second album, 1979. metal box (released under the name Second edition in the USA). Levine worked on their debut, Public image: first issue and their third album, Flowers of the novel.
“What happened to me was that once I got good enough to know the rules, I didn’t want to be like any other guitar player,” Levene said in a 2001 interview. I didn’t do everything possible to be different. I just had an ear for what was wrong. So if I did something wrong, i.e. made a mistake or did something that wasn’t in the key, I was open-minded enough to listen again.
Levene left PiL in 1983. Although he contributed by co-writing, he did not officially play on their fourth album, It’s what you want, it’s what you get. Commercial zonewhich includes early recordings from the album, features some of his performances of songs from their fourth release.
After leaving, Levene moved to Los Angeles, where he shot the 1987 films violent opposition EP, which featured members of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone. In 2012, he teamed up with fellow PiL Wobble to release yin and yang.
According The Guardian, Levene had been working on a book on PiL with author Adam Hammond. Hammond took to social media to pay tribute to his friend, Levene.
“There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, daring and influential guitarists of all time”, Hammond wrote. “Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing so. , defined what alternative music should be.
“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the era, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and was a major influence on their early sounds,” Hammond continued. “Much of what we listen to today owes a lot to Keith’s work, some recognized, most not.”