About Wilko Johnson with Special Guest Glenn Tilbrook
Wilko Johnson is an English guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a member of the pub rock/rhythm and blues band Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s.
Johnson and Dr Feelgood were an influence on the English punk movement.Paul Weller has said of Johnson: "Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he's right up there. And there are a lot of people who'll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It's some legacy."
Born in Canvey Island, Essex, Johnson went to Westcliff High School for Boys and played in several local groups, before attending the University of Newcastle upon Tyne to study for a BA in English Language and Literature. His undergraduate course included Anglo-Saxon and ancient Icelandic sagas.
After graduating, he travelled overland to India, before returning to Essex to play with the Pigboy Charlie Band. The band evolved into Dr. Feelgood – a mainstay of the 1970s pub rock movement. After returning from Goa, Johnson worked in 1972, for less than a year, as an English teacher.
In 1965 Johnson bought his first Fender Telecaster from a shop in Southend, Essex for £90 . He still plays a vintage 1962 Fender Telecaster with rosewood fingerboard which he bought in 1974, shortly after Dr. Feelgood signed their first record deal. Originally of sunburst-coloured body with white pickguard, Johnson later refinished it in black and added a red pickguard.
Johnson developed his own image, coupling jerky movements on stage with a choppy guitar style, occasionally raising his guitar to his shoulder like a gun, and a novel dress sense . He achieved his playing style by not using a pick but instead relying on fingerstyle. This enabled him to play rhythm guitar and riffs or solos at the same time creating a highly percussive guitar sound. It evolved from a failed attempt to copy Mick Green of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, a guitarist whom Johnson greatly admired. His Bo Diddley-influenced style formed the essential driving force behind Dr. Feelgood during their initial years, including the band's first four albums, Down by the Jetty, Malpractice, Stupidity and Sneakin' Suspicion, all released between 1975 and 1977.
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