A feeling of emptiness followed
I was devastated to hear the tragic news about Wilko Johnson, my first musical hero. Lost count of how many times I’ve seen the great man live, with the Feelgoods, with the Solid Senders, and latterly with his own band. Every single time he left the audience mesmerised. I saw him just after he was diagnosed with cancer, on what was billed as his “farewell tour”.
I think at the end, Wilko was the only person there not in floods of tears.
Back in 1979 at the Sheffield Leadmill, the Feelgoods, by this time minus Wilko, had just finished another blistering set, and me and my best mate Steve got backstage. This being long before mobile phones and selfies, Steve asked the band for their autographs. Lee Brilleaux had a pen, but no paper, so they signed Steve’s pound note. This was Steve’s pride and joy and he kept it in a photo frame.
Many years later, Wilko returned to the Leadmill. At this point, Steve was far too ill with cancer to go, so I went with his signed £1 note. My plan was to ask Wilko if he would sign it for me. After the gig, we hung around inside until the staff asked us politely if we had no home to go to. We sat in the car and waited a bit longer, circled around the Leadmill a couple of times, but eventually left without seeing Wilko. No problem, I thought, I’ll take it next time I see him when I go to a gig. Shortly afterwards my pal lost his fight with the big C, and now the news that Wilko has also left us. I feel like I’ve lost a member of the family.
David Tags Taylor, via e-mail