Gareth Williams, best known to music fans as one third of This Heat, died the morning of 24 December 2001.
He leaves an undeniable imprint and contribution, both to the rich recorded legacy of the band albums - This Heat; Deceit; Made Available - The John Peel Sessions; Repeat; and the single Health and Efficiency - and, though a reluctant but compulsive performer, to the group's fearless, powerful live performances between 1976-81.
As bassist and keyboard player in the band, he contributed an often sited 'wild card' aspect, also through the use of tape as a lead instrument, and the fact that he was never formally schooled as a musician, choosing to adopt an intuitive and abstract approach to his instruments, stated in one early review as having a 'Jackson Pollack approach' to playing the organ.
After leaving the group, he studied kathakali dance in south India and later completed a degree in Indian religious studies and music at SOAS. He also wrote a large slice of the south Indian contribution of The Rough Guide to India and worked as a travel guide there.
Whilst always passionately creating music domestically, including the 1985 limited edition cassette - Flaming Tunes - he was yet to decide on on a wider mode of output. He maintained a lifelong ambivalence to the industry side of being a musician, thus generally only close associates were aware of his activities - including collaborations with many other musicians, d.j. appearances, writing, promoting other performers, working on photographs and visuals.
Gareth was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2001, after a short period of increasing illness, and quickly started making plans of things he wished to achieve. Despite having to spend long periods in hospital and undergoing serious treatment, he maintained an inspirational postitive attitude and continued to play music, with an eye on what could be done in the time he had left.
He will be sorely missed by a large group of friends and collaborators, who knew him as a prolifically creative personality, staunch individualist, someone capable of the blackest of black humour, and extremely generous of spirit.
Gareth John Williams 1953 - 2001
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