John McGeoch – RIP
John McGeoch - RIP
John McGeoch – RIP

The news of John McGeoch’s untimely death at the tender age of 48 left all of us here @ tMx in mourning. Born in Greenock, Renfrewshire on 28th May 1955, McGeoch passed away peacefully in his sleep on 4 March 2004. A co-founder of Magazine, & later a member of Visage, The Banshees, The Armoury Show & PIL, McGeoch also worked alongside Generation X, Midge Ure, John Keeble & Glenn Gregory.

McGeoch’s guitar sound provided the post punk foundations on which many of the classic guitar sounds of the alternative sector have been laid over the ensuing 25 years. Informed as much by texture as virtuosity, McGeoch led a vanguard that replaced the plank spanking pyrotechnics of the muso-old-guard with something altogether more cerebral & artistic. Progression was no longer the enemy within – boundaries were there to be crossed. McGeoch taught a generation that power & beauty could be synonymous.

McGeoch formed Magazine with ex-Buzzcock, Howard Devoto, in 1977 (see Magazine feature – tMx 12). When the group dissolved at the turn of the 80s, McGeogh found success with Steve Strange’s Visage, who scored a massive UK hit single with ‘Fade To Grey’. The same year McGeoch was recruited by Siouxsie Sioux & Steve Severin following the mysterious disappearance of Kenny Morris & John McKay (& subsequent stand in, Robert Smith’s, refusal to terminate his own group, The Cure). McGeoch’s strident string-age shaped the sound of ‘Happy House’, ‘Christine’ & the hugely influential ‘Kaleidoscope’ LP, coinciding neatly with The Banshees most successful period. McGeoch left The Banshees under a cloud following a drunken performance in Madrid in 1982. Further problems with depression & alcohol led to his departure on the eve of a UK tour.

By 1986, McGeoch had joined John Lydon’s PIL, who he continued to serve until relocating to LA in the late 80s. After 10 years in the US, McGeoch returned to the UK in the mid 90s where he formed Pacific with John Keeble (Spandau Ballet), worked with Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 & retrained as a nurse.

At the time of his death, McGeoch’s only musical undertakings were projects for television soundtracks. He is survived by his wife & daughter, whom our thoughts go out to in sympathy.

God Bless you John McGeoch, sir. Wherever you may be now, our thoughts are with you always.

Jean Encoule – tMx 14 – 03/04
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