If any musician can rightfully claim to be a national treasure it’s Wilko Johnson who has never stopped performing or playing his socks off.
No matter what current music trends prevail, or even the desperate hurdles of his personal life, Wilko just keeps on keeping on, and now he is back in our area to play a gig in summer organised by DLWP with Bexhill Motofest.
“I’m supposed to be dead!” So said Wilko in a recent interview, having been diagnosed in late 2012 with terminal pancreatic cancer. But he has confounded the doctors’ worst predictions and continues to perform and present himself with vigour and a new zest for life, saying: “Man, there’s nothing like being told you’re dying to make you feel alive.”
The man from Canvey Island, who studied English at Newcastle University before doing a bit of travelling, could have been a retired teacher by now, but Wilko was lured into music by the dark magic spun by his first Telecaster, bought from a music store in Southend, Essex, soon after becoming the strutting, grimacing, six-string rhythmic powerhouse behind Lee Brilleaux in Dr Feelgood.
Feelgood had four successful albums in Wilko’s time, then followed a busy creative period playing in an early incarnation of the Wilko Johnson Band, the Solid Senders, before he joined Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads, in 1980. He continued to gig through the decades but when Julien Temple’s City Confidential came out in 2009, with Wilko emerging as the film’s star, the world sat up and made note. His career took another twist in 2010 with the role of executioner in Game of Thrones. Tickets £22.50 - book on 01424 229111 or go to www.dlwp.com