Guitarist Mick Green dies at 65

Musician played for English rock band the Pirates

Mick Green, the gutsy, influential lead guitarist for the English rock band the Pirates, died Jan. 11. He was 65.

Green’s passing was revealed in a post on his Web site by the musician’s son Brad. No cause of death was given. Green suffered a heart attack onstage during a 1993 concert performance in New Zealand by Bryan Ferry.

Green joined his boyhood friends, bassist Johnny Spence and drummer Frank Farley, in the Pirates in early 1962. The group backed vocalist Johnny Kidd, who had scored a hard-rocking hit, “Shakin’ All Over,” in 1960, with Joe Moretti on lead guitar.

Green and Farley later joined Billy J. Kramer’s backup band the Dakotas; shortly, they regrouped with Spence as the Pirates (since the rhythm section had retained rights to the name). Kidd’s band was billed as the New Pirates until his death in a 1966 car accident.

The trio’s hard-edged attack had a marked impact on the playing of their younger ’60s contemporaries the Who. The Pirates flourished as a live act during England’s pub-rock era in the mid-’70s. Green’s dense, assertive style exerted a pull on up-and-comers like Wilko Johnson of Dr. Feelgood (who took their name from an American R&B tune covered by the Pirates). During this period, the band cut three well-received albums for Warner Bros. in England.

The Pirates continued to play together until Farley’s retirement in 2005. Green recorded with disciples like the late Futoshi Abe of Japan’s Thee Michelle Gun Elephant (on the collaborative instrumental EP “Kwacker”), and appeared on albums by Paul McCartney, Ferry and Van Morrison.

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