The Clash and Public Image Ltd co-founder, Keith Levene, dies aged 65

Guitarist Keith Levene, who was a founding member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd, has died aged 65.

Close friend, author Adam Hammond, confirmed Levene died of liver cancer in the early hours of Friday after receiving a terminal diagnosis in recent weeks.

He paid tribute in a social media statement at the request of the Levene family and described the late musician as “one of the most innovative, daring 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 so,” he said.

“His nine-minute guitar work on Theme, the first track on the first PiL album, defined what kind of alternative music should be.

“In addition to helping make PiL the most important band of their time, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and was a major influence on their original sound.

“Much of what we hear today is thanks to Keith, some admit it, most don’t.

“Our thoughts and love go out to his partner Kate, sister Jill and all of Keith’s family and friends. The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine would be darker without my mate.”

Levene also recently completed a book about his time in Public Image Ltd, co-written with Mr Hammond.

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Guitar player who formed Clash with guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon while still a teenager.

He played a central role in convincing frontman Joe Strummer to leave the then band The 101ers and join them.

However, he himself would leave the band before they achieved wider success, later forming Public Image Ltd with John Lydon, then known as Johnny Rotten, following the breakup of the Sex Pistols.

He was involved in the creation of the band’s early albums, including the influential 1979 Metal Box, and helped pioneer the angular post-punk sound that is still frequently cited.

In his later career, he worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and several hip hop repertoires.

The tributes come from Andy Bell of the band Ride, who tweeted: “RIP Keith Levene – a guitar tone like diamonds shot straight at you through a high-pressure hose.”

Mike Scott of The Waterboys says: “Traveling the Keith Levene Well.

“You innovate, you chime in, you Clashed, you sing the soundtrack of Johnny Rotten’s last great moments and you beat me at Space Invaders.” The Clash and Public Image Ltd co-founder, Keith Levene, dies aged 65

Fry Electronics Team

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