Wilko at the Citadel

A few days I ago I heard on the radio that Wilko Johnson had died at home on 21 November. He was diagnosed was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in 2013 and was told he had nine to 10 months left to live but it turned out not to be as serious as originally thought and he was able to undergo surgery to remove the tumour.
Wilko was the original guitarist in Dr. Feelgood, the raw R&B band from Canvey Island who were very popular in the 70’s. I was a big fan at the time. I saw them live twice – once at the Reading Festival and also at Liverpool Stadium. I also Wilko’s band in St Helens back in 2010.
Wilko will be sadly missed. His distinctive guitar style, manic stage presence and eccentric character.

Down by the Dougie

While browsing on the web yesterday I found out that Wilko Johnson’s band were playing at the Citadel in St Helens that evening. Wilko is one of my all time “guitar herose”. He used to be the lead guitarist in Dr Feelgood, who tasted success for a short while in the 1970’s  with their raw version of R & B. He has a very distinctive style, managing to combine lead and rhythmn guitar.

I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see his band and after several attempts I managed to get through to the box office on the phone and, luckily, was able to sort out one of the last tickets. Wilko does have a loyal following but I guess his current tour has had more interest due to the release of Julien Temple’s film about Dr Feelgood, “Oil City Confidential” that I saw at the cinema in February…

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11 thoughts on “Wilko at the Citadel

  1. Very sad to hear Wilko had died. One of my guitar heroes too. Years ago, I attended a guitar workshop which he hosted at Salisbury Arts Centre, so I can genuinely claim that Wilko personally taught me to play, She Does It Right.

    He was just as I had imagined. Warm, funny, humble, passionate. He said he based his rhythm/lead technique on Mick Green from Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. He had always assumed they bucked the trend of having a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist because Mick had developed this hybrid style. When he finally got to meet Mick, he discovered Mick had developed his style because Johnny Kidd wanted to stand centre stage, flanked by a bass player and a guitarist, and didn’t want a second guitarist mucking up the symmetry.

    • Wow – lucky you George.
      He certainly comes across as a real character on stage and in the interviews I’ve seen – particularly in Julian Temple’s film (I saw that on the special showing at Manchester on the night it was premiered with special showings across the country on a cold winter’s night!)
      Interesting insight on Johnny Kidd – “Shakin’ all over” was a favourite when I was quite young – because of Mick Green’s guitar riff!

  2. I don’t knowanything like as much about him as either of you – I never was into R&B and I can’t evem play drums – but you don’t need to know that much to know that Wilko was exceptional. One of a kind.

  3. We also saw Wilko a couple of times, at the late, lamented O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street (a casualty of the second Art School fire). Both great concerts, at which I was one of the few women. Full of men with bald heads and thick necks! On the second occasion we had dinner beforehand at the table next to Norman Watt-Roy. I enjoyed Oil City Confidential too, great guy.

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