The losses in the music world over the past year have been immeasurable, but the loss of Andy Gill from Gang Of Four remains one of the bitterest, and a number of projects he was working on at the time of his passing have since become posthumous tributes to one of the most influential musicians of the past 40 years.
There were the Anti-Hero and This Heaven Gives Me Migraine EPs completed by his bandmates last Summer, The 77-81 box set compiling their earliest and most influential records which finally came out this Spring along with the individual reissues of Entertainment! and Solid Gold, and today brings The Problem Of Leisure, a tribute album that Gill himself was curating and working on right up until his death.
For my part, I’m going to attempt to pay tribute to Gill’s beautifully abrasive guitar tone, and all its ’70s solid-state guitar amplification glory. On Entertainment! and Solid Gold, he used a Carlsbro Stingray Professional amp, pushing 150W of non-tube power through two 12″ speakers. Speaking to Vintage Guitar magazine in January 2017, he said:
And as for the why, he told EQ Magazine in 2011:
As for what he was running through these amps with the treble at max, Premier Guitar talked to Gill as part of a 2017 feature on post-punk guitar heroes:
And while the video they reference no longer works, I’m pretty sure it’s this one – complete with Strat copy missing a neck pickup (like he’d ever use the neck pickup):
While on tour in 2016 for What Happens Next, he acquiesced to doing a full rig rundown with Premier Guitar showing off his ’80s Lace Sensor-equipped Strat Ultra and revealing he’s actually gone tube, running through a couple of Peavey Classic 50 4x10s, and beyond that, he’s gone digital using laptops for his signal processing in lieu of pedals.
He affirmed his broader taste in guitars when talking to Guitar World in 2018 around the time of their Complicit EP:
The guitars that are used most are the semiacoustic Gibson 335, a Fender Thinline and a guitar I got from the wonderful Reverend Guitar workshop.Gang of Four’s Andy Gill Talks Gear, New EP, ‘Complicit,’ Songwriting @ Guitar World
Also a prolific producer, Gill talked to TapeOp in May 2009 about his new studio and producing the likes of The Futureheads and Red Hot Chilli Peppers:
On his passing, obituaries were many – Guitar World and Premier Guitar both ran features on the man and his musical impact:
And to leave things on a more “up” note, a lesson in Gill from anyonecanplayguitar.co.uk, who shows you to play “Ether”, “Not Great Men”, and “Damaged Goods”. Needless to say, play with single coils and treble turned all the way up.