Herefordshire Boomtown Rats legend dies aged 72
Boomtown Rats guitarist Garry Roberts, who lived in Herefordshire, has died aged 72.
The Irish rock group announced the news in a statement which described Roberts as “the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are”.
Roberts was a founding member of the band, which formed in Dublin in 1975 fronted by lead singer Bob Geldof.
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A statement said: “It is with a very heavy heart that the members of Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts”, describing him as an “old friend and great guitarist”.
“The remaining members of the band, Pete, Bob and Simon, Darren and Al extend their deepest sympathy to his family and friends."
Roberts lived in Bromyard for more than a decade, and in 2010 played a free gig at Bromyard's Bay Horse pub.
The gig featured Garry on guitar and occasional vocals, Boomtown Rats’ Simon Crowe on drums and vocals, plus Peter Barton from The Animals on bass and lead vocals and Darren Beale from The Caves on lead guitar and vocals.
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He also pledged his support to Bromyard Speed Festival in 2016, and one tribute left on the band's Facebook post said he "did very much become one of the locals" in Bromyard.
The band added: “On a clear spring evening in 1975, in a pub in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, Garry became THE founding member of what turned out to be a great rock ’n’ roll band, driven largely by that sound of his – a storm of massive considered noise that punched out from his overtaxed amplifiers and which animated not just the rest of the group but audiences he played to around the world.
“For fans he was The Legend – and he was. For us he was Gazzer, the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are.
“We have known Garry since we were children and so we feel strangely adrift without him tonight. Safe travels Gaz. Thanks for everything mate.”
The statement was signed by members of the band, including Geldof, bassist Pete Briquette and drummer Simon Crowe.
Roberts was one of the group’s founding members and is said to have been instrumental in them settling on Boomtown Rats as a name.
He reportedly threatened to quit unless they changed their name from The Nightlife Thugs.
Their new name was chosen by Geldof after he read the phrase in US protest singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory.
Formed in 1975 in Dublin, the band are known for their fast, loud, furious music, which lead to them becoming part of the punk scene.
Making history as the first Irish band to have a UK number one hit with ‘Rat Trap’, they went on to top the charts in 32 Countries with ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and released six albums.