Algy Ward, former bassist with Tank, The Damned and The Saints, dead at 63

Algy Ward, photographed in 1979
(Image credit: Harry Goodwin/Paul Popper/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Algy Ward, ex-frontman of cult NWOBHM act Tank and former bassist with The Damned and The Saints has died, aged 63.

Ward passed away in Tunbridge Wells hospital on May 17: although no details of his cause of death have been revealed, he was known to have had serious health issues for some time.

Born in Croydon, south London on July 11, 1959, Ward first broke into the spotlight with The Saints, joining the Brisbane punk band after they relocated to London in the summer of 1977. He played on the band's classic singles This Perfect Day and Know Your Product, in addition to their 1978 album Eternally Yours

After The Saints fell apart in 1979, Ward joined The Damned, playing bass on their critically-acclaimed third album Machine Gun Etiquette after Captain Sensible switched from bass to guitar.

Inspired and heavily influenced by his good friends Motörhead, Ward then formed Tank in 1980, with brothers Peter Brabbs on guitar and Mark Brabbs on drums. Produced by Motörhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke, the band's 1982 debut album Filth Hounds of Hades is something of a NWOBHM classic, but the group never achieved a proper commercial breakthrough, and eventually disbanded in 1989.

Tank reformed in 1997 and released Still At War five years later, but spilt up again in 2006. Within two years they were back, without their talismanic frontman, and eventually Ward responded by launching an alternate version of the band under the same name. An album, Sturmpanzer, was released in 2018.   

Talking about Tank to music writer Malcolm Dome in 1981, Lemmy said, "People compare them to us, and I can understand why. Make a note of that name. You’ll be hearing a lot from them in the next couple of years."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.