Jet Black, The Stranglers’ Original Drummer, Dies At 84
Jet Black, The Stranglers’ original drummer and co-founder, has died after “years of ill health” at the age of 84, his representative confirmed.
The musician, whose real name was Brian John Duffy, had been living in his country home in north Wales close to his friends and family as his health issues became more debilitating.
A statement from his representative confirmed that he passed away “peacefully” on Tuesday 6 December.
Jet Black was a founding member of the Stranglers, who formed in Guildford in 1974, and his playing style helped them achieve their unique sound – achieving 23 top 40 singles and 19 top 40 albums, according to the official UK charts.
Their hits included Peaches, No More Heroes and Golden Brown, which won the band an Ivor Novello award, while their third album, Black and White, from 1978, is widely considered to be the first post-punk album.
The band’s bassist, Jean-Jacques Burnel, said “The welcoming committee has doubled. After years of ill health, Jet has finally been released. He was a force of nature. An inspiration. The Stranglers would not have been if it wasn’t for him. The most erudite of men. A rebel with many causes.”
Baz Warne, the Stranglers’ guitarist, said: “I loved Jet. He took me under his wing over two decades ago and I never really came out from under it. I’m so very sad he’s gone.”
Sil Willcox, the band’s manager, said: “He was the Jet force that launched the Stranglers. He was the Jet force that powered the band’s determination to get heard and get noticed.”
Before joining the band, Black was a successful businessman who owned a fleet of ice-cream vans, which were later used to tour the UK, and he owned an off-licence, the upstairs apartment of which doubled as Stranglers HQ in the early days of the band.
During his varied career, he wrote two books that documented the Stranglers’ infamous 1980 arrest in Nice, France after allegedly inciting a riot, and has also been remembered for his skill in crafting bespoke furniture, designing a patented bass drum pedal.
Black retired from performing live with the Stranglers in 2015, having suffered respiratory health issues since he was a child. His death comes two years after the Stranglers’ keyboardist, Dave Greenfield, died at the age of 71 after testing positive for coronavirus.