Wilko Johnson feels alive

Wilko Johnson

Wilko Johnson

Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Wilko Johnson says he has never felt "more alive".

Wilko Johnson has never felt "more alive" since being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The 66-year-old guitarist - a founding member of Dr. Feelgood and former member of The Blockheads - says being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer last year has given him a better appreciation of life and he no longer worries about trivial matters.

He said: "I've never felt more alive. It's one of the most intense years I've had. The things that used to matter - bills, worrying about the future, thinking I could change the past - don't matter to me any more. They're nothing to me now. I'm embracing the present.

"I mean, look at that tree out there. I can sit here looking at it all day. It's a beautiful thing that makes me tingle. I can feel everything bursting through me. You know... life, the real stuff.

"It must have something to do with that fantasy everybody has: what would I do if the doctor said to me I've only got a few months to live? So when that did happen to me, my reaction was not what I would have thought. I just got on this fantastic high, and I feel intensely alive. What you have to do is you just have to live for the minute you're in."

Wilco left Dr. Feelgood in 1977 amid tensions with singer Lee Brilleaux and he regrets never admitting to the frontman how much he admired and respected his work.

He recalled to the Independent on Sunday newspaper: "Lee crackled with electricity and I fed from him. Lee was the wellspring and I just went with it, experiencing every minute. I always knew it would end, too. Everything went right, until everything went wrong.

pushed. "I think it was Lee and me, we just didn't get on in the end. I mean, if we walked into the same room, one of us would walk out - it got that bad. The animosity we felt for each other was something else. For the life of me I don't know why. I mean, we were always different. But we always admired each other. I regret we never expressed that to each other - our admiration of each other."

Wilko embarked on a final tour to say goodbye to his fans earlier this year, which concluded in London on March 10.

Wilko Johnson

The redoubtable Dr Feelgood guitarist and band rock it up Canvey Island-style; after undergoing radical surgery to treat his hitherto-believed-to-be terminal cancer, the indomitable Johnson is back, minus one pancreas but with added vim and vigour.


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