Monday 14 October 2019

Spandau Ballet founder Gary Kemp leads tributes to Barrie Masters

The new wave rocker was joined by fellow musicians Sam Duckworth and Jesus Jones.

Barrie Masters performing at the Kentish Town Forum in London in March 2019 (Brian Thomas/PA)
Barrie Masters performing at the Kentish Town Forum in London in March 2019 (Brian Thomas/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Spandau Ballet star Gary Kemp has hailed the late Barrie Masters, of the band Eddie And The Hot Rods, for helping “usher in” punk music.

Masters died on Tuesday aged 63 but the cause of death remains unknown, according to his former tour manager Adam Smith.

Kemp recalled watching Masters play at the now-shuttered Marquee Club in London in the 70s.

He said on Twitter: “Sad news that Barrie Masters has died.

“My bro @realmartinkemp and I saw every sweaty show they did at the Marquee in Wardour Street Soho that hot summer of ‘76.

“Such a great front man and what a band, who helped usher in Punk. 96 tears, Barrie.”

Kemp, who founded new wave group Spandau Ballet in 1979, and played alongside his brother Martin Kemp, has cited so-called pub rock as one of the band’s major influences.

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Barrie Masters of Eddie and the Hot Rods dies at 63 (Kevin Nixon/Future/Shutterstock)

Masters, whose band came to define the pub rock genre, was the frontman of Eddie and the Hot Rods, who formed in Canvey Island, Essex in 1975. They scored a top 10 in 1977 with their memorable hit Do Anything You Wanna Do.

Indie singer-songwriter Sam Duckworth, who releases as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, was among those who paid tribute.

The musician said on Twitter: “Thank you Barrie Masters. Essex legend. Pioneer.

“Blasting the Hot Rods this am. Growing up hearing stories about how legendary this band were, how they set the tone for punk, how they and the Feelgoods (fellow pub rockers Dr Feelgood) put Essex on the map.

“Oh man. My Dads band opened for them at what is now Koko (amongst other places.)

“Pub rock is in my DNA.”

Alternative rock band Jesus Jones shared the band’s song Do Anything You Wanna Do from Life On The Line, writing: “Damn. RIP Barrie Masters, frontman for @EddieHotRods.

“This is one of the greatest records ever. Utterly perfect. Such a sad day.”

A post on the band’s Twitter page announced Masters’s death.

It said: “It is with extreme sadness we announce the passing of the legendary Barrie Masters.

“As you can expect, this sudden news is a huge shock to the band and family.

“We welcome tributes posted to our Facebook and Twitter sites which will be passed on to Barrie’s family.”

The band kicked off their career with residencies in London clubs alongside The 101ers before being signed to Island Records in the mid-1970s.

In 1976 they made headlines when they played at London’s Marquee Club while supported by The Sex Pistols, who went on to smash the Hot Rods’ gear following a chaotic set.

Over the years they became known for their punk style and were often considered as one of the founding groups of the genre with their loud, frenetic live sets.

They released eight studio albums and, aside from Do Anything You Wanna Do, were known for songs including Teenage Depression, Quit This Town and I Might Be Lying.

In February 1977, the NME music magazine named Eddie and the Hot Rods the most promising emergent act of the year, with the Sex Pistols charting a less impressive number six.

Masters was the only constant member of the band, which has split and reformed several times and has seen numerous line-up changes.

Earlier this year the band opened for punk rock band Stiff Little Fingers on their tour.

Simon Bowley, a former member and manager, and nephew of original drummer Steve Nicol, said Masters was considered by many people across the world as “the true godfather of punk rock”.

He said: “Barrie not only had a great voice, but was a fantastic frontman too. He would often be found cartwheeling across the stage or hanging upside down from the lighting rig.

“He has largely been overlooked as one of the greatest frontmen of the 1970s.”

Bowley said Masters “always considered everybody in the band as equal”, adding: “He was never the star of the show, he was a very humble man and never really knew how many people he influenced across the world.

“My biggest memory will be of a close family friend, a personal influence and a man who lived life his way

“For 26 years we toured the world together and shared so many great experiences. I will miss him forever.”

PA Media

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