“What I do is not entertainment.”
Pat Fish, who performed as The Jazz Butcher for nearly four decades, has died at the age of 64. A post on Pat Fish’s official Facebook page states that the versatile and brilliant musician “died suddenly but peacefully yesterday evening.” On October 3rd, Fish was scheduled to perform a web concert, however at show time, Fish appeared live to inform his audience he was not feeling well and would be re-scheduling the performance for the following week. By means of explanation for his ill health, he offered that he had been suffering from sleep apnea. The cause of death is still unknown, and he had been battling poor health for some time, but his passing has left a major void amongst his friends, loved ones, and the music world.
“Very sad to announce that my old friend Pat Fish died suddenly but peacefully on Tuesday evening,” said friend and longtime collaborator Max Eider in a statement. “Pat rocked my world in every way and his death leaves a big hole in my life and in my memory, much of which was only stored in his outsized brain. Goodbye mate and thanks for everything. I’m going to miss you.”
Contemporaries and colleagues The Monochrome Set also paid tribute to their kindred spirit on their Facebook:
“A wonderful human being…he supported The Monochrome Set at their Tokyo gigs in 2014. He was also due to be a label mate as he’d recently finished recording his first album for Tapete. It’s devastating news.”
Born Patrick Huntrods in West London, Fish was ” too young to be a hippie and just a little too old to be a punk.” Pat Fish reminisced about growing up in an era where “the Bonzo Dog Band appeared on children’s television, Syd Barrett was on Top of the Pops and the Adult World was represented in shows like The Avengers and The Prisoner.” Fish moved early in his life to Northampton; he went on to study Classics at Merton College, Oxford, graduating in 1980. Oxford didn’t fuel his imagination too much, however, and he ended up traveling down a musical path, forming bands like Nightshift, The Sonic Tonix, and the Institution, which featured Max Eider on guitar, Rolo McGinty (later of The Woodentops), and Jonathan Stephenson.
In North America, records like Bloody Nonsense and Distressed Gentlefolk became college radio staples before releasing a series of albums for Creation Records between 1988-1995.
Taking inspiration less from glam rock and more from Eno, Syd Barrett, John Cale, greaser rock and more obscure 70s artists, The Jazz Butcher debuted in Oxford on 20 February 1982 with Alice Thompson (The Woodentops), Owen Jones, and Max Eider. Fish went on to write and release fifteen albums of original music, three live albums and many singles and compilations, often collaborating with friends. Bauhaus/Love & Rockets bassist David J, members of The Woodentops, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, German band M Walking On The Water, Chelsea Paris, The Black Watch, and Max Eider all lent their talents to his stylings.
Listen to the wonderful offerings from The Jazz Butcher: