Friday, January 30, 2009
Already 50 million blog posts will have eulogised and set in ones and noughts the way a whole generation (probably two, more accurately) felt about the passing of John Martyn at the age of 60 yesterday.
I saw him four or five times and was lucky enough to have only witnessed one drunken travesty (he was actually canned offstage by an angry polythechnic crowd) - otherwise all my memories are of a man who, when on form could capture your heart and make you wonder why everyone wasn't so beguiling - he made it look so easy. And who else combined folk, jazz and dub in such a way?
Only a couple of other things to say really. Solid Air changed my life. Who knew that an Echoplex could make a guitar sound like that? Along with Steve Hillage he probably influenced the direction of my own playing (in terms of what I wanted to sound like) more than anyone else.
And i still have a memory of him at the Hammersmith Odeon around 1980 - as soon as he stepped onstage a great cloud of smoke arose above the crowd. That won't ever happen again.
He was Johnny Too Bad - a man who spread chaos and love with equal abandon. Someone asked me yesterday, 'Why am I so upset? I didn't know him'
The only answer I can give is that for people of a certain age, he was ONE OF US.