In a somber announcement on the post-punk band’s official Instagram, it was revealed that Kevin “Geordie” Walker, the influential guitarist for Killing Joke, has tragically passed away at the age of 64. The musician succumbed to the effects of a stroke on Sunday morning (November 26) in Prague, where he was surrounded by his grieving family.
Walker, hailing from northeast England, joined forces with bassist Martin “Youth” Glover in 1979 after responding to a Melody Maker ad placed by vocalist Jaz Coleman and drummer Paul Ferguson. His remarkable tenure with Killing Joke marked him as the only consistent member beside Coleman, and he remained an integral part of the band until his untimely demise. Notably, Walker also co-founded Murder, Inc. and The Damage Manual during his illustrious career.
Early in his musical journey, Walker drew inspiration from Lee “Scratch” Perry and Public Image Ltd., crafting a dense, multilayered sound that would profoundly influence the shoegaze, goth, and industrial rock scenes. His distinct style became a wellspring of inspiration for iconic artists such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
Walker’s imprint on the music landscape extended beyond his innovative guitar work. Recognized for his use of controversial imagery and his penchant for unconventional live performances, Killing Joke achieved mainstream success with the release of “Night Time” in 1985, featuring hit songs like “Love Like Blood” and “Eighties.” The news of Walker’s passing has left his bandmates devastated, marking the end of an era for Killing Joke and the broader music community.