Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker Dead, Killing Joke Guitarist Dies at 64 – Billboard
Written by GRB on 27/11/2023
Kevin “Geordie” Walker, founding guitarist for English industrial rockers Killing Joke died on Sunday (Nov. 26) at age 64. The band confirmed the news on their official Instagram page, writing, “It is with extreme sadness we confirm that at 6:30am on 26th November 2023 in Prague, Killing Joke’s legendary guitarist Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker passed away after suffering a stroke, he was surrounded by family. We are devastated. Rest In Peace brother.”
Born in County Durham, UK in 1958, Walker joined Killing Joke in 1979 after responding to an ad in Melody Maker placed by singer Jaz Coleman, with the two men serving as the band’s only consistent members over the next four decades. Known for a distinctive low-end guitar turning that gave the band’s songs a massive sound, Walker’s playing was key to the post-punk group’s success, which folded grinding industrial sounds, dub reggae, new wave melodies and a goth sensibility into a roiling mix.
The band’s self-titled, self-produced debut full-length album was released in October 1980 and featured the singles “Wardance” and “Requiem.” The prolific act released six more albums in the 1980s, followed by three more in the 1990s (Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions, Pandemonium, Democracy). The band briefly split in the early 1990s, then reunited and split again in 1996 before reuniting once more in 2002. A reformed version of the band released a self-titled album in 2003 featuring superfan Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl on drums; since their get-back, KJ have released five more albums, with the most recent, Pylon, dropping in 2015.
According to the Guardian, in 2013 Walker reflected on what made the band such a powerful, unique presence during their long run. “When we started making records, playing gigs wasn’t that much different. You’d rehearse, you wrote the songs, you mic’d it up and you played it! And now if you’re not careful, you might not even see the f–king drummer and the maker of the f–king record. It’s all bits of this, cut-and-paste. It can sound impressive on first listen but after subsequent listens, it’s lacking human imperfection. The imperfection is what makes it magical somehow.”
In addition to his decades of touring and recording with Killing Joke, Walker was also a member of the industrial music supergroups Murder, Inc. and The Damage Manual.
Check out the band’s tribute to Walker and some of Killing Joke’s best-known tracks below.