Innovative post-punk guitarist John McGeoch gets his propers

The Guardian has a piece celebrating John McGeoch, the often-overlooked 80s guitarist. McGeoch played with such bands as Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees, PiL, Visage, and was hugely influential with fellow guitarists like Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien (Radiohead), Steve Albini (Big Black), The Edge (U2), and countless others. But unlike those musicians, far fewer people know of John McGeoch.

McGeoch was a Scottish fine art student and when his flatmate Malcolm Garrett (who would design artwork for Buzzcocks, Duran Duran and Simple Minds) told Howard Devoto, who'd recently quit punk pioneers Buzzcocks, that McGeoch could play all the parts of Television's Marquee Moon, Devoto was impressed. "That made me think he would be somebody worth knowing," he recalls in The Light Pours Out of Me, a new biography on McGeoch by Rory Sullivan-Burke.

The pair connected and this materialised into Magazine and their revelatory debut single Shot By Both Sides. Despite the riff being a hand-me-down from Buzzcocks, McGeoch's playing on it – as urgent and taut as it was fluid and melodic – quickly grabbed people. Siouxsie Sioux recalled: "everyone was saying: 'who is playing guitar in Magazine?'"

It captivated a teenage Johnny Marr. "Shot By Both Sides was so arresting," he tells me. "The sound and attitude was very modern – it sounded like it had an agenda." The track was a line in the sand for Marr. "Punk wasn't the letter A in a new alphabet, it was Z in the old lexicon and then after was a clean slate."

Read the rest.

In June, Omnibus Press will be releasing a biography of McGeoch, The Light Pours Out of Me.

[H/t Chris Burke]

Image: Screengrab