Wednesday, November 30

Wilko Johnson, Dr Feelgood guitarist and ‘Game of Thrones’ shooting star, dies

As announced by his relatives on his Twitter account, Wilko Johnson, guitarist and founding member of Dr Feelgood, as well as occasional actor, passed away on November 21.

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Born in Canvey Island (United Kingdom) the musician, real name John Peter Wilkinson, was 75 years old. At the end of 2012, he was diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer. Despite this fatal prediction, Wilko managed to recover thanks to surgery in 2013. “I’m supposed to be dead!” He said in an interview.

He founded, together with Lee Brilleaux, in 1973 one of the emblematic groups of the reviled pub rock, Dr Feelgood, after buying his first Telecaster guitar in a store in Southend (Essex) and learning to play it in a particular way, without a pick. He described it as “the stab”.

With Wilko, Dr Feelgood released four hit albums. He later joined the band Solid Senders —which would become the Wilko Johnson Band— and Ian Dury’s group, The Blockheads, in the early 1980s.

Wilko continued to play, with less success, and was rediscovered by the public thanks to Julien Temple’s documentary film Oil City Confidential (2009). And, shortly after, thanks to his new facet as an actor. In 2010 he played the role of the silent executioner Ilyn Payne in Game of Thrones, appearing in four episodes. Temple and Wilko collaborated again in 2015 for the documentary The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson in which they discussed their cancer diagnosis.

In 2014 the album appeared Going Back Home which Wilko recorded with Roger Daltrey, founder of The Who. And two years later his memoir was published Don’t you leave me here.

Before the pandemic, in 2018, Wilko performed in Spain as part of the BBK Music Legends line-up, in Bilbao.

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