Wednesday, March 10, 2004

PUNKOBIT: John McGeoch, of Magazine and the Banshees, has died in his sleep. Although less celebrated than some of his generation, his guitar work appears on an astonishing range of British punk, new wave and new romantic landmarks.

McGeoch met up with Howard Devoto shortly after Devoto had quit the Buzzcocks, with Magazine growing out of the pair's songwriting sessions. Offering a more considered nature of lyric than their new wave competition, the band were almost certain to be doomed with being more inspirational than successful. A noted debut, Shot By Both Sides was followed by two albums Real Life and Secondhand Daylight, but by this time McGeoch was also playing with Siouxse and the Banshees and Visage. Finding himself spread too thinly, he left Magazine before the band's third studio album, The Correct Use of Soap.

McGeoch played on many of Banshee's best tracks including Happy House and Christine. After what some accounts suggest was a nervous breakdown in 1982, he quit the Banshees and was involved in post-Skids Smash Hits object of ridicule band The Armoury Show for a while, prior to joining - and helping rescue - Public Image Limited in 1986. Even being hit in the face with two litres of wine didn't put him off working with Lydon, and he stayed in PIL until the band went on permanent holiday in 1992.

Since then, McGeoch had been involved in some dodgy-sounding projects - a "U2 dance style" affair with Glen Gregory (ex-Heaven 17) and Pacific, which featured Spandau Ballet's John Keeble, but nothing much came of them, which might be for the best. He qualified as a nurse in 1995, but abandoned the career change and had spent the time since making music. His most recent projects have been instrumental items for TV programmes.

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