Keith Levene


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photograph of Keith Levene

Keith Levene (born Julian Keith Levene in London on 18 July 1957; died 11 November 2022) was an English musician who was a founding member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd. (PiL).

An early fan of progressive rock, at fifteen Levene worked as a roadie for Yes on their Close to the Edge tour. In 1976, he became a founding member of The Clash and The Flowers of Romance (most notable for also featuring a pre-Sex Pistols Sid Vicious). Although he never recorded with The Clash, he co-wrote "What's My Name", featured on their first album. Levene would later claim he had written or co-written several other songs on the same record, but occasionally he relinquishes this claim.

After the Sex Pistols disintegrated, Levene co-founded Public Image Ltd (PiL) with John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten). His guitar work was much imitated by several punk rockers and others, including The Edge of U2. On later PiL recordings, Levene would often forgo his guitar for synthesizer. He left PiL acrimoniously in 1983 around the time the band released This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get. He released the original versions of the songs on his own label under the title Commercial Zone.

In 2004 he released the Killer in the Crowd EP in 2004 under the name Murder Global.

1989, he released his first solo release, Violent Opposition, on which members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed.

In spring 2014, Levene went to Prague to record Commercial Zone 2014.

Keith Levene, an English guitarist/songwriter who co-founded The Clash and Public Image Ltd, died at the age of 65 on Nov. 11, 2022. As reported by The Guardian, he’d been battling liver cancer at the time. Although he never played on any Clash albums, he did appear on the first three Public Image Ltd records: 1978’s Public Image: First Issue, 1979’s Metal Box and 1981’s The Flowers of Romance. He also helped produce demos for Red Hot Chili Peppers' third album, 1987’s The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. Read more about Keith Levene on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Keith Levene

Keith Levene electric guitars

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