Wilko Johnson: I mimed with Ian Dury And The Blockheads

Wilko Johnson
Wilko Johnson (Image credit: Getty)

Wilko Johnson says he had to mime his guitar playing when he joined Ian Dury And The Blockheads as the band were technically way beyond his capabilities.

The guitar icon joined Dury’s band in 1980 and appeared on that year’s album Laughter. But when it came to performing live, Wilko lightheartedly admits he was out of his depth to start with.

Johnson tells the BBC: “The Blockheads…when I joined them, me I’m 12 chords and three bars. The Blockheads were notorious man, they were jazzers and all sorts. They could play like crazy.

“For quite a while it was difficult for me, they were doing all these augmented chords and things.”

He continues: “Sometimes, when we started playing live, it would get to bits in the song where it was a little bit beyond me and I would just turn down my guitar and mime.

“The thing is with a big band…keep a determined expression on your face and nobody knows.”

Johnson performs at the Great British R&B Festival in Lancashire on August 28.

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.