Saturday, November 06, 2004

PUNKGOTHOBIT: Sadly, the news that Rob Heaton of New Model Army has died has now been confirmed. Heaton was part of the original NMA line-up, alongside Slade the Leveller (nowadays tending to answer the more manageable Justin Sullivan) and Stuart Morrow. His drumbeat was a crucial part of the mix, adding the slight military drive to a band and making the "army" part more than a cutesy name. Although they and their dedicated army of fans spoke up for the underdogs of society, the band had quickly signed up a deal with a major label - although, fittingly for a band often lyrically at odds with American expansionism, they did at least choose to keep it at home by picking EMI. Unusually for such an aggressively lo-tech act, they managed to turn their taut fanbase into a solid, if indistiguished chart career - probably best known through the 1985 hit No Rest and 1993 Here Comes The War. Heaton co-wrote much of the Model Army catalogue prior to his departure in 1998, following a brain tumor.

Latterly working as live promoter and writing film music, the 43 year-old died on Thursday from pancreatic cancer. He's survived by his wife Robyn and son Marlon.