Siouxsie and the Banshees toured Japan playing three gigs in Tokyo late-March, early-April 1982. The band had recently released their fourth album Juju (1981) and were working on their fifth A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (1982). While other punk bands had imploded, Siouxsie and the Banshees were crafting some of the most important and seminal music of the post-punk era. This was due in part to the arrival of ex-Magazine guitarist John McGeoch in 1980, whose talent complimented the key creative triumvirate of Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin and Budgie. As Siouxsie Sioux later said:
John McGeoch was my favourite guitarist of all time. He was into sound in an almost abstract way. I loved the fact that I could say, “I want this to sound like a horse falling off a cliff”, and he would know exactly what I meant. He was easily, without a shadow of a doubt, the most creative guitarist the Banshees ever had.
Unfortunately, McGeoch was self-medicating with drink and drugs to cope with depression which was exacerbated by the band’s constant touring and recording schedule. Things came to a head at a concert in Madrid where McGeoch was unable to play. McGeoch checked into the Priory. He was replaced in the Banshees by The Cure’s Robert Smith.
McGeoch moved onto Richard Jobson’s Armoury and then John Lydon‘s Public Image Ltd. During a concert with PiL, McGeoch was hit in the face with a beer bottle thrown by someone in the audience. It led to facial injury and epilepsy. It also ended McGeoch’s career. He quit music and trained as a nurse. McGeoch died in 2004.
The following photographs come from McGeoch’s personal collection. The photographs came to light when filmmaker Nicola Black, who is making a documentary on McGeoch The Light Pours Out of Me, was researching for the film. McGeoch’s daughter Emily gave Black access to the family archive of photographs, films and personal memorabilia. As Black told Flashbak:
“There’s an absolute treasure trove of previously unseen family photographs and home movie footage – a director’s dream in fact. I was particularly struck by a series of photographs of John and the Banshees touring Japan in 1982. They all look so happy to be there and I just wanted to share these images with the fans.”
The film is an intimate portrait of McGeoch as told through the experiences of his daughter Emily, who was only fifteen when her father tragically died. A Kickstarter is currently running to support this documentary with a selection of McGeoch’s personal memorabilia up for grabs, details here.
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