Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mick Karn RIP

Mick Karn, ex-Japan multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, photographer and all-round good guy, died yesterday aged 52, after a battle with cancer. Very sad. He was a fantastic bass player, especially fretless. His languid lines on Japan's Quiet Life, Gentlemen Take Polaroids and especially Tin Drum were a revelation in pop terms, and when he took to the stage his bass became a real focus of attention, that and his glad-rags, shaved eyebrows and those funny movements he did. I saw Japan's last ever UK gig in late '82 and he was constantly doing these weird shuffles across stage, body erect, always facing forward, then settling into position with lower leg flicking out in time with the rhythm, before careering off again.

Of course, he was a lot more than Japan's bassist. He had a rich and varied solo career, co-fronted Dali's Car (with Pete Murphy), got into jazz, collaborated with David Torn and myriad others, co-ran a record label (Medium Productions) with Jansen & Barbieri and played on scores of other albums. He will be sadly missed.

PS. Gerry Rafferty also died yesterday. I just read that Baker Street was still netting him 80K a year.

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