Wilko Johnson will quit before he gets too sick

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 29 March 2014
Wilko Johnson

Wilko Johnson

Wilko Johnson - who is battling pancreatic cancer - doesn't want to die on stage and will quit performing if he gets too unwell

Wilko Johnson has no intention of dying on stage.

The Dr Feelgood guitarist has been gigging as much as he can since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2012.

Although he realises many people would consider it to be the ultimate rock 'n' roll death to pass away whilst performing, Wilko intends to hang up his guitar when he feels too unwell to play to the best of his ability.

When quizzed on whether he would like to go out on stage, Wiko told BANG Showbiz: "My dear friend (The Deviants singer) Mick Farren did that last year; no I don't think I would like to do that. I've decided I'm going to carry on playing while I'm still fit to do it. Once I start getting sick, I'm not going to do anymore. I don't want people to see me like that."

Instead of worrying about his disease, Wilko's diagnosis has given his career a new chapter and he was overjoyed to get the chance to work with his friend and idol Roger Daltrey on their album 'Going Back Home' - which features re-recorded versions of Wilko's songs with The Who singer on vocals.

However, one side-effect of his tumour is that it is hindering his guitar playing on stage.

Wilko - who performed at 'An Evening with Suggs' last week to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK - explained: "Since I got diagnosed, it's certainly raised my profile. It's been a bit baffling for me I was supposed to be dead in October, I'm not dead, I'm still going and so far I haven't suffered any ill-effects. I've got this big lump which sticks out. When I'm on stage my guitar kind of rocks on it, and I've spent years with it resting on my hips. I've just got back from a tour of Japan with Roger, it's all sold out. I love Japan and it's just great to be doing gigs, especially when I think I shouldn't even be here at all."

'Going Back Hom' is out now.

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.

The Assembly, Leamington Spa

Sat 25 Aug

£28.50 / 0845 888 7581

Cottingham Civic Hall

Fri 24 Aug

£40.50 / 01482 392706

The Leadmill, Sheffield

Thu 23 Aug

£27.50 / 0114 221 2828


1. Graeme Wilson30 Mar 2014, 4:01pm Report

He was diagnosed in January 2013 not 2012

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