"He was a huge influence on me." Metallica's Kirk Hammett pays tribute to Killing Joke's Geordie Walker

Kirk Hammet in an interview and Geordie Walker on stage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Metallica's Kirk Hammett has paid tribute to Killing Joke guitarist Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker, who died on Sunday (November 26) aged 64, describing him as a "huge influence". In a post shared on Hammett's official instagram page, Metallica's lead guitarist wrote:

"Been playing old songs for old friends all day. Geordie Walker, RIP. He was a huge influence on me, the way he played that Gibson ES 295 … the way he played. My heart goes out to his friends and family, and his music is being played loud as hell. Killing Joke Forever!" 

Walker's death was announced on Sunday afternoon by former Killing Joke drummer and close friend Martin Atkins, who stated that he was "gutted" at the news. Killing Joke themselves would soon confirm that Walker had passed away with a statement that read: "It is with extreme sadness we confirm that at 6:30am on 26th November 2023 in Prague, Killing Joke's legendary guitarist Kevin 'Geordie' Walker passed away after suffering a stroke, he was surrounded by family. We are devastated. Rest In Peace brother.”

Walker played on every Killing Joke release and is considered a pivotal influence in the post-punk and industrial rock scenes. Other fellow rock stars to have paid tribute included punk legend Billy Idol, who Tweeted that he is "a long time fan" and noted that he "toured with Killing Joke last year in the UK." Tim Burgess of the Charlatans Tweeted: "Just heard the sad sad news about Geordie Walker - Killing Joke were one of the first bands I ever saw aged 14, and his guitar sound defined my youth. It was an honour to book them to play my stage at The Isle Of Wight Festival 35 years later."

As of yet, no official cause of death has been revealed. Killing Joke's sixteenth and most recent studio album, Pylon, was released in 2015.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.