Published Feb 14, 2020Post-punk legend Andy Gill of Gang of Four passed away early this month, and now his bandmates are paying tribute by sharing his final work.
From his hospital bed, Gill gave the thumbs-up to a trio of final mixes of re-recorded Gang of Four tracks that the group had been working on. These songs will now see release as the This Heaven Gives Me Migraine EP, which will arrive on February 26.
Right now, you can hear the mini-release's newly shared track "The Dying Rays (2020)."
"It would be wrong to speak of Andy's dying wishes because he didn't know he was dying, but his wishes were clear," Gill's widow, Catherine Mayer, said in a statement. "From his hospital bed, he continued to plan future tours and to give final notes on mixes of music that he looked forward to releasing. Since his death, I have been working with the band to honour his wishes."
In a statement, Gang of Four singer John "Gaoler" Sterry added: "This collection of songs was recorded just before Andy died and it was his intention to get these out — to represent the way we played them on tour, late last year. All three songs were recorded in Andy's home studio in London and there's a fly-on-the-wall intimacy to this EP; from the song selection to the snippets of spoken word."
The EP takes its title from the classic Entertainment! track "Natural's Not in It," which was redone for the upcoming release. Also included are a new version of "Toreador" from 2019's Happy Now and then a reworked version of "The Dying Rays" from 2015's What Happens Next.
Below, you can hear this newly remixed version of "The Dying Rays." The 2020 version features Gang of Four singer John Sterry taking over vocals from German crooner Herbert Grönemeyer, who sang the original 2015 song.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Sterry said the following of the track:
I loved the song from the moment I heard it. I think the subject matter, maybe at the time, suited an older voice, and I think that's what Andy wanted. He wanted to get Herbert on there because it's such a random, Gang of Four thing to do; to get an old crooner to sing a song, no one would expect that. We tried it a few times and I really enjoyed singing it. I felt that I was bringing something completely different to it. Not necessarily better, but a different angle. In the way I sing it, it changes the song somewhat, maybe even changes the meaning a little bit.
After what happened with Andy, it seemed even more poignant and pertinent than ever before.
And while This Heaven Gives Me Migraine are Gill's last-ever recordings, Sterry explained that there are talks of tribute concert and perhaps a tribute album, which may feature former collaborators Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This Heaven Gives Me a Migraine:
1. Anthrax (Andy speaks)
2. The Dying Rays (2020)
3. Natural's Not In It
5. Purple in Nature (Andy speaks)