Monday, May 09, 2011

Brotherobit: John Walker

John Walker, one of the singers who made up the Walker Brothers, has died.

In a move which The Ramones would clone a decade later, the band weren't brothers and just pretended they were all called Walker. John Maus came together with Scott Engel and Gary Leeds, picking the name Walker. He sort-of explained the reason to Saga Magazine:

Ah well, no, we weren't really all brothers. No, that was the big lie, for some reason. I think Gary propagated that lie but anyway, what happened was, we got the job in Gazzari's and I wasn't actually old enough to play there, but we weren't going to lose the job, so I got a phoney ID. Don't ask me why I chose the name Walker, but I did. And we didn't have a name for the group. I don't know where the ‘brothers’ things came in, but we were trying to be a cool trio, so it was originally called the Walker Brothers Trio. For some reason we thought that sounded cool, and then of course the record companies shortened it to the Walker Brothers period, and there you go.
He'd known Scott since they were 13 when the pair were child actors appearing in commercials; the band formed when Scott asked John if he'd like to form a group to get out of the "terrible" surf band he, Scott, was in at the time.

Although forming in the shadow of Hollywood, it was a move to London which really helped the band breakthrough. A string of hits would follow through the 60s.

By 1968, though, it was falling apart - Scott's depression led him to split the band and seek solace in a monastery.

There was a reunion - with some success - in the mid-1970s, but for a band whose music and first split was so dramatic, their second coming fizzled out with the members just drifting apart. There was no formal ending of activities.

John Walker continued to make music, and resumed touring in 2004. He died yesterday, at the age of 67. He had been ill with lung cancer for some time.