Andy Gill, Guitarist and Founding Member of Gang of Four, Dead at 64
Andy Gill, guitarist and founding member of the seminal post-punk band Gang of Four, has died. Surviving bandmates John Sterry, Thomas McNeice, and Tobias Humble took to social media to announce the news. “His uncompromising artistic vision and commitment to the cause meant that he was still listening to mixes for the upcoming record, whilst planning the next tour from his hospital bed,” the band shared. NME reports that Gill had contracted a “short respiratory illness” that left him hospitalized in the final moments of his life. He was 64 years old.
Andrew James Dalrymple Gill was born on January 1, 1956 in Manchester. Gill co-founded Gang of Four with longtime vocalist Jon King in 1976 while they were students at Leeds University, College Art and Polytechnic. The band rose to prominence with the release of their debut single “Damaged Goods,” which rose to No. 1 on the U.K. Indie Charts and No. 39 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. The song caught the ear of the BBC’s John Peel, who recorded two radio sessions with the band, and their fame continued with the release of their 1979 debut album Entertainment!, which peaked at No. 45 on the U.K. Albums Chart. The album has been considered one of the greatest punk records ever recorded and appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Known for his jagged, rhythmic guitar playing, Gill was also a committed audio engineer, co-producing all of Gang of Four’s discography. After a brief hiatus in the 1980s, the group returned with a new lineup, releasing their fifth studio album Mall in 1991. Gill continued to perform with a changing lineup in the 1990s, taking another brief hiatus before reuniting for a series of performances in 2004. Following Jon King’s departure from the group in 2011, Gill became the group’s longest-running member, enlisting a rotating cast of other musicians for albums including Content (2011), What Happens Next (2015), and Happy Now (2019).
“We’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of Darjeeling tea,” the band continued in their statement. “One of the best to ever do it, his influence on guitar music and the creative process was inspiring for us, as well as everyone who worked alongside him and listened to his music. And his albums and production work speak for themselves. Go give ‘em a spin for him…”
Read the band’s full statement below.