Born here, made name in Aussie
Te Awamutu’s most famous unknown musician, guitarist Spencer P. Jones, has died following a battle with liver cancer.
Born in Te Awamutu in 1956, Spencer moved to Australia in 1976, where he quickly joined a number of groups including Country Killed, Cuban Heels and Beats Working.
In a career spanning five decades, Spencer was part of a wide range of different bands and projects that helped define the sound of rock in the 80s and beyond. Collaborating with many of Australia’s most notable players throughout, Spencer was an icon of the Australian scene.
In the early 80s he joined The Johnnys and formed the Beasts of Bourbon, which remain his most well-known outfits.
Spencer was also known for playing in Paul Kelly’s band and alongside Chris Bailey of The Saints.
In addition to playing in bands and collaborating, Spencer released 10 solo albums, featuring contributions from members of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Dirty Three, The Triffids, and in later years, The Drones.
His most recent record was Runaways, written and recorded with ex-Beasts Of Bourbon bandmate Kim Salmon.
In 2012 Australian Guitar magazine ranked him in the top 40 Australian guitarists of all time.
Spencer P. Jones revealed his struggle with liver disease in 2016.
A number of benefit gigs and fundraisers followed throughout Australia.
His latest diagnosis was made public in June.
As the Violent Femmes’ Brian Ritchie described him, Spencer was like “the Keith Richards of Australia, but without the rock stardom.”
Spencer P. Jones in concert with The Beasts of Bourbon at Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2013.