Jet Black, the original drummer for new wave rock band The Stranglers, has died aged 84 after “years of poor health,” his rep has confirmed.
The musician, whose real name is Brian John Duffy, was a founding member of the group formed in Guildford, Surrey.
In a statement, the band’s official Twitter account called him an “Elder Statesman” of British music.
He had been living close to friends and family at his country home in North Wales as his health problems became increasingly debilitating.
A statement from his representative confirmed that he passed away “peacefully” on Tuesday 6 December.
Black was a founding member of The Stranglers, who formed in Guildford in 1974, and his playing style helped them achieve their unique sound – they achieved 23 Top 40 singles and 19 Top 40 albums according to the official UK charts.
The Stranglers’ most popular tracks include Peaches, No More Heroes and Golden Brown – which earned the band an Ivor Novello Award – while their third album, 1978 Black And White, is still considered their first post-punk album.
The band’s bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel said: “The welcoming committee has doubled. After years of illness, Jet was finally released. He was a force of nature. An inspiration. Without him, the Stranglers would not have been. The most learned man. A rebel with many causes.”
Baz Warne, guitarist for The Strangers, said: “I loved Jet. He took me under his wing over two decades ago and I’ve never really come out of it. I’m so sad that he’s gone.
“He hasn’t been that good in a while but when I spoke to him three weeks ago he was laughing and wanting to hear all the news, still interested and involved. It was an honor to have known and worked with him and to have called him a friend and I will miss him to the end of my days. Rest in peace big one.”
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Sil Willcox, the band’s manager, said: “He was the Jet Force that started The Stranglers. He was the jet force that fueled the band’s determination to be heard and noticed. Jet Black was the real deal.
“Smart business, a talented drummer and an obsessive perfectionist. These are just some of the talents of the man I had as my mentor and dear friend.
“I will cherish the times we planned, played pranks, ate, drank and laughed together on so many great nights.”
Besides music, Black is remembered for a range of other talents including writing, business, furniture making and culinary skills.
Before joining the band, Black was a successful businessman, owning a fleet of ice cream vans which were later used to tour the UK, and he owned an off-license – the upstairs flat, whose flat in the early days of simultaneously referred to as ” Stranglers HQ” served the band.
During his varied career he wrote two books documenting the infamous 1980 arrest of the Stranglers in Nice, France after they allegedly incited a riot, and has also been recognized for his skills in crafting bespoke furniture and designing a patented bass drum pedal known.
Black retired from performing live with The Stranglers in 2015 after suffering from respiratory illnesses since childhood. Despite difficulties performing towards the end of his career, his charismatic charm resonated with fans, who endlessly chanted his name as he took his place on drums, a statement said.
His death comes two years after The Stranglers’ keyboardist Dave Greenfield died aged 71 after testing positive for coronavirus.
Greenfield, originally from Brighton, died on the evening of May 3, 2020, having contracted the virus after a prolonged hospitalization for heart problems.
A longtime member of the influential punk outfit, Greenfield was known for his distinctive sound and playing style, using instruments such as the harpsichord and electric Hammond organ.
Black is survived by his wife, Ava, and their two children, Charlotte and Anthony.
Additional reporting from PA
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/peaches-north-wales-ivor-novello-nice-france-b2241647.html Jet Black’s death: Stranglers drummer dies aged 84