Remembering Geordie Walker
Published on 27 November 2023
Today at guitarguitar, we collectively hang our heads and sigh at the news of Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker’s passing.
For many of us, Killing Joke are a touchstone for aggressively life-affirming post-punk music with not only an attitude but a conscience. This band of four radically different human beings created some of the most urgent, energised and long-lasting guitar-based music in the last 40+ years.
Walker was one of those players who seemed to have it all down from the start - the sound, the swagger, the focus and the execution - matched with a brilliantly sneering vibe. Eschewing solos, entirely committed to the groove, Walker’s playing is a masterclass in delivering a message effectively.
And that sound! How could one man armed with a 1952 Gibson ES295 hollow body sound so much like armageddon? It’s a sound that will be debated and picked over in forums years from now, and rightly so.
Killing Joke exploded out of the London squat/punk scene with a sound that blended indigenous tribal rhythms, esoteric occult-referencing lyrics and a frontman with intelligence and fire to match his confrontational demeanour. Who could resist that?
From the first record, Killing Joke offered something different for the dispossessed, and through every record in their career (including 2003’s self-titled record featuring Dave Grohl on the drums), they only got bolder, bigger, better and nastier, in complete reverse to how most bands’ careers move.
If you love Killing Joke, then Geordie’s passing will be a sore one to take. We feel it too! If you haven’t discovered the band yet, then what better mark of respect is there for a master musician than to spin some of his best work? May I recommend Eighties (yes, Nirvana ripped them off quite plainly), Pandemonium (vocals recorded literally inside the Great Pyramid at Giza), Total Invasion (best.guitar.sound.EVER) and lastly, perhaps try The Wait, from their first record and covered often by Metallica.
This is one of those days where we’re sad to have lost Geordie, but immediately happy to remember how much of him is still around.
Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker 1958 - 2023