Monday, November 15, 2004

Experimentalobit: John Balance

The death has been announced of John Balance of Coil. Balance - also known as Jhon and Jhonn, and, when he was a kid, as Geoff Rushton, was a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for the band, whose workload over the last twenty years was impressive in its own right - dozens and dozens of albums and singles - but also left him enough time to work with a number of other groups, including Nurse With Wound, Psychic TV (of whom Coil was originally an offshoot, before they eclipsed PTV in reputation and influence), Death in June, 23 Skidoo and Current 93.

Coil were a loose collective: Jhonn and co-founder Peter Christopherson - Sleazy - worked with an ever-changing array of talents to produce a sound which would have its fingerprints of inspiration left all over industrial and ambient music. Anything that you've ever danced to wearing pvc or netting, it'll either have been inspired by Balance's work, or probably was his work.
Balance was born in Mansfield in 1962, and attended Lord Williams School, Thame - the story that it was he who invited Throbbing Gristle to perform at Oundle being nothing more than a nice thought; however, it was a mutual love of Throbbing Gristle which cemented Jhonn and Sleazy's friendship as teenagers. Coil had been booked to share a stage with the Gristle at next month's Nightmare Before Christmas.

Jhonn died on Saturday at about half past five; he fell fifteen feet from a first floor landing reports thresholdhouse - alhtough Sleazy heard the impact and got medical help, Balance died shortly after being admitted to hospital. The whole thing seems to have been a terrible, drink-related accident.