2017 is certainly a special year for Wilko Johnson: not only does it mark the 30th anniversary of the Wilko Johnson Band, but this year sees the guitarist celebrating his 70th birthday. Given the events of recent years, this celebration at the Royal Albert Hall is all the more meaningful: here is the death-defying Wilko Johnson leading his own party with partners in crime Norman Watt-Roy (bass), Dylan Howe (drums), family, friends and special guests.
‘I’m supposed to be dead!’ So said Wilko in a recent interview, having been diagnosed in late 2012 with terminal pancreatic cancer. But despite the doctors’ predictions he continued to perform and present himself with vigour and a new zest for life. In 2013, Wilko announced that, thanks to a second opinion and subsequent life-saving surgery, he was cancer-free.
The original Dr Feelgood guitarist, known for his distinctive chopping guitar style, recently found further fame on TV in Game Of Thrones, and also rose up the charts once more after teaming up with Who frontman Roger Daltrey on hit 2014 album Going Back Home, which features incendiary reworkings of songs from Wilko’s Feelgood days such as ‘All Through The City’ and ‘Going Back Home’.
The Wilko Johnson Band consists of Wilko himself plus Blockheads Norman Watt-Royand Dylan Howe; a rhythm ’n’ blues power trio widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting live acts in the world today. Keep It To Myself – The Best Of Wilko Johnson is released in February 2017 via Chess/Universal.
Today is #WorldCancerDay – as always, Wilko HQ sends huge appreciation, love and respect to all those who dedicate their lives to fighting cancer, and particularly acknowledge doctor Charlie Chan, surgeon Emmanuel Huguet and all at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for saving Wilko’s life with groundbreaking surgery in 2014. Thank you.
Continuing his association with the reactivated Chess imprint, the label that issued so many of the tunes that inspired him in his youth, I Keep It To Myself – The Best Of Wilko Johnson draws together 25 tracks recorded between 2008 and 2012 by the legendary guitarist and songwriter with backing largely provided by Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Dylan Howe (drums), the same rhythm section that performed on Wilko’s enormously successful ‘Going Back Home’ album with Roger Daltrey.
To be clear, those of you who already own the Best Ofs will see, from the track-list Chess have revealed, that these are the same tracks you will already have. However, if you do not already have the Best Ofs, and wish to purchase the compilation, it will now be available via Chess rather than Cadiz going forward.
Yes, Wilko will be joining his fellow Newcastle University alumni for Christmas University Challenge! Wilko’s alma mater will be thrashing it out against City University on December 21st, 7.30pm on BBC 2.
To see full details click here. Don’t miss it! It’s going to be FUN.