Keith Levene, the guitarist famous for being the founding member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd., has passed away at the age of 65. The musician died at his home in Norfolk, U.K., following a battle with liver cancer.
Levene’s wife has confirmed his death, saying, “He’s gone and I can’t stop crying. Now I’m a widow.” The guitarist was known for his influence on the post-punk music scene. Read on to know more about his life and career.
Keith Levene Passes Away at 65
The news of Keith’s passing was first shared by author and writer Adam Hammond. He posted on social media, “author and writer Adam Hammond. There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time.”
“Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that. His guitar work over the nine minutes of ‘Theme’, the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be.”
“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound. So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith’s work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not. The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine will be darker without my mate,” he added.
Levene’s Bandmates Mourn his Death
The guitarist’s former bandmates from Public Image Ltd. have expressed their grief on his death. Drummer Martin Atkins tweeted, “A sad time to learn of the passing of guitar giant Keith Levene. We had our ups and downs that had mellowed over time. My respect for his unique talent never will.”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe wrote, “just found out Keith Levene passed away. i owe him much of my guitar style, in some ways. he made it possible to be me. @realjahwobble @marteeeen very sad, but a big thank you.”
“We’re sad to hear of the death of Keith Levene. We were fortunate enough to work with Keith on an album he recorded with Jah Wobble. A post-punk legend who changed the sound of guitar music,” tweeted Cherry Red Records.
Keith Levene Founded The Clash in 1976
Born in London in 1957, Levene was a fan of progressive rock bands in his teenage. In 1976, he met Mick Jones and formed The Clash. They then convinced singer Joe Strummer to join the group. Levene was, however, disappointed with the band’s music skills and left the group after their debut album released in 1977.
The musician then co-founded Public Image Ltd (PiL) with singer John Lydon. In 1983, he left the band over creative differences concerning the band’s fourth album, This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get. Since then, Levene started releasing tracks under his own label. The musician also toured extensively around the world.
In 2015, he released an autobiography titled I Was a Teen Guitarist for the Clash that was also turned into a documentary. He spent his later years investing in bitcoin and trading in cryptocurrency.
Our heartfelt condolences to Keith Levene’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!