John McGeoch, (May 28 1955-March 4 2004), was a Scottish guitarist who played with some of the largest bands of the post-punk era, including: Magazine, Public Image Ltd., and Siouxsie & the Banshees.
McGeoch was born in Greenock, Inverclyde, but moved to Manchester when he was a teenager. It was whilst living in Manchester that McGeoch became interested in the growing punk scene and learned how to play guitar.
In April 1977 McGeoch answered an advert placed by Howard Devoto, who had recently left the Buzzcocks, for a guitarist to form a band which would transcend the limitations of three-chord punk.
Devoto found what he was looking for in McGeoch and the pair formed Magazine, along with Barry Adamson, Bob Dickinson, and Martin Jackson.
Magazine released their debut single, Shot by Both Sides, in January 1978, it was a release that would usher in the post-punk era. The single reached number 41 on the UK singles chart.
McGeoch played on the band's first three albums, Real Life (1978), Secondhand Daylight (1979), and The Correct Use of Soap (1980), during which time he developed his unique guitar sound. He left the band in 1980 frustrated about their lack of commercial success despite being very popular with the music critics.
Whilst still a member of Magazine, McGeoch had played with other bands such as Generation X and The Skids. Upon leaving the band, McGeoch joined Steve Strange's electronic project Visage along with erstwhile Magazine bandmates Barry Adamson and Dave Formula.
Although he saw Visage as a joke McGeoch did have the success, however brieg, he craved. The band's single Fade to Grey went to number 1 in 21 different countries.
Siouxsie & the Banshees
After joining the Banshees McGeoch entered a period of both creative and commercial success. He played guitar on, what are widely considered, the Banshees best three albums: Kaleidoscope (1980), Juju (1981), and A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (1982). The Banshees' hit singles of this era featured some of McGeoch's greatest work, particularly 1980's Happy House and Israel. However, McGeoch suffered a nervous breakdown due to the stresses of touring and drinking and was asked to leave the band.
Following two unsuccessful years in The Armoury Show, along with The Skids' Richard Jobson, McGeoch joined Public Image Ltd. in 1986. McGeoch had been a great admirer of the band, mainly due to John Lydon's lyrics, and had reputedly turned down the band in 1984 due to other commitments. He remained with the band until they disolved in 1992, making him the longest serving member apart from Lydon.
Life after music
After the collapse of Public Image Ltd. McGeoch attempted to form projects with both Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 and John Keeble of Spandau Ballet, however, neither came to fruition.
McGeoch, who had been a great pioneer in the 70s and 80s, found himself stranded in a new era. He retrained as a nurse in 1995, although before his death he had been writing some music for television.
Despite his failure to find any success in the 90s McGeoch has been cited by many artists as a major influence. These include The Strokes, The Rapture, and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.