Wilko Johnson, British rocker who defied cancer, dies at 75


LONDON (AP) — Wilko Johnson, the guitarist for British blues-rock band Dr. Feelgood who enjoyed an unexpected career resurgence after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died. He was 75 years old.

A statement posted to Johnson’s official social media accounts on behalf of his family on Wednesday said the musician died Monday evening at his home in south-east England.

Born John Wilkinson in 1947, Johnson grew up on Canvey Island, a swampy industrial oil town in England’s Thames Estuary. He studied Anglo-Saxon literature at Newcastle University and worked as a schoolteacher before training Dr Feelgood with other local friends.

In an age of flamboyant glam and indulgent prog rock, they played a then-old-fashioned brand of blues and R&B, dressed in cheap suits that made them look, Johnson later said, like “shoddy bank robbers “.

Johnson helped give Dr. Feelgood a dangerous edge with his jerky, relentless guitar style and thousand-yard reflections — a look terrifying enough to earn him a role later in life as the silent executioner Ser Ilyn Payne in ” Game Of Thrones”.

The anarchic outfit inspired bands that would soon lead Britain’s punk explosion and rocked the brink of global fame, scoring a No. 1 album in the UK, tours of the US and a deal with CBS Records. Then, in 1977, Johnson walked out amid friction with charismatic singer Lee Brilleaux, who died in 1994.

Johnson later said that if the band had been able to follow their managers’ instructions to behave, “I’m…

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