The Stranglers Drummer Passes Away After 'Years Of Ill Health'

9 December 2022 | 9:23 am | Mary Varvaris

The musician founded the influential band, one of the longest-surviving groups, which originated in the UK punk scene.

(Source: Supplied)

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Brian John Duffy, who performed under the name Jet Black, has passed away aged 84 after "years of ill health".

As a founding member and drummer of the influential new-wave/post-punk group The Stranglers, Black helped his bandmates achieve a prolific 23 Top 40 singles and 19 Top 40 albums in the official UK charts. They are one of the longest-surviving bands to come out of the '70s UK punk scene. The band's statement revealed that Black died peacefully at his country home in north Wales.

The Stranglers found success with their 1982 single, Golden Brown. Their other hits include Always The Sun, Skin Deep, Peaches, Big Thing Coming, and No More Heroes. The band's early sound was propelled by the melodic bass played by Jean-Jacques Burnel, Dave Greenfield's keyboards, and the growling, furious vocals shared by Hugh Cornwall and Burnel.

Black was a successful businessman in Guildford with his fleet of ice cream vans before The Stranglers formed in 1974. In 2015, he retired from playing with the band following long-term respiratory health issues.

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Burnel said about his bandmate upon hearing the news of his passing, "The welcoming committee has doubled. After years of ill health, Jet has finally been released. He was a force of nature. An inspiration. The Stranglers would not have been if it wasn’t for him. The most erudite of men. A rebel with many causes. Say hi to Dave for me."

Dave Greenfield passed away in 2020 while he was in hospital receiving treatment for a heart treatment and contracted COVID-19. 

"I loved Jet. He took me under his wing over two decades ago, and I never really came out from under it," said Baz Warne, the band's current guitarist and co-frontman. "I’m so very sad he’s gone. He hadn’t been too well for a while, but when I spoke to him most recently, three weeks ago, he was laughing and wanting to hear all the news…still interested and involved. 

"It’s been my privilege to have known and worked with him and to have called him a friend, and I’ll miss him until the end of my days. Rest in peace, big man."

Sid Willcox, The Stranglers' band manager, commented, "He was the Jet force that launched the Stranglers. He was the Jet force that powered the band's determination to get heard and get noticed. Jet Black was the real deal. Astute in business, a talented drummer and an obsessive perfectionist. 

"These are only a few of the talents of the man whom I was privileged to have as my mentor and my dear friend. I will cherish the times we planned, pranked, ate, drank and laughed on so many great nights together."

Jet Black is survived by his wife Ava and children Charlotte and Anthony.