- 20 Dec 22
Duffy passed away at age 55 after a fall in his home led to a brain injury.
Friend and bandmate of Martin Duffy's, Bobby Gillespie, has paid tribute to the keyboardist, calling him a “beautiful soul."
The news of Duffy's passing at age 55 was announced this morning with Gillespie revealing through social media that he died on Sunday (December 18) from a brain injury after a fall at his home.
“Hard to write this. We never know how to speak around death other than polite platitudes," Bobby wrote. "All I want to say is that our soul brother Martin Duffy passed away on Sunday. He suffered a brain injury due to a fall at his home in Brighton. We in Primal Scream are all so sad.
“I’ve known Martin since he was a teenager in Felt. He played keyboards on every album of ours from the first to the last. Finally joining the band in 1991. Martin was a very special character. He had a love and understanding of music on a deep spiritual level. Music meant everything to him."
The musician continued: “He loved literature and was well read and erudite. An autodidact. A deep thinker, curious about the world and other cultures. Always visiting museums in every city we played or looking for Neolithic stones in remote places. Opinionated and stubborn in his views.
“He could play piano to the level where he was feted not just by his peers in British music, but old school master American musicians such as James Luther Dickinson, Roger Hawkins & David Hood & producer Tom Dowd," the tribute continued.
“I witnessed a session at Abbey Rd in 1997 for a Dr John album where his record company had assembled a bunch of young Indie Brit musicians where Mac Rebenac (Dr John) seemed bored and uninterested in the session until Martin started playing, then suddenly the good Dr started knocking some funky piano chops and I instantly knew it was because his ears had pricked up when he heard Martin play and the session at last came alive.
“Martin was the most musically talented of all of us,” Gillespie added. “His style combined elements of country, blues and soul, all of which he had a God given natural feel for. He never played the same thing twice, ever. He was all about ‘the moment’, better have that ‘record’ button on when Duffy was on fire. His timing was unique, funky and ALWAYS behind the beat.
“George Clinton also dug Martin. I remember a session in Chicago where George said to him “go to church Duffy!” and he did. Martin was also in possession of a unique wit. He had a swift eye for the absurd, the surreal and the ridiculous. He lived to laugh and play music. He was loved by all of us in the Scream. A beautiful soul. We will miss him.”
The band’s bassist, Simone Marie Butler, wrote a separate statement: "Yday was the worst day of the year, today i’m also in tears writing this. You would struggle to find a more genuine, gifted, funny, kind hearted, caring, naturally talented person who played like no one else.
“Please check Bobby’s beautiful words on the band page because that truly was Martin. He passed away on Sunday in hospital due to a serious brain injury after a fall at home.”
The bassist continued: "It was an honour to play on stage with u this last 11 years, be your friend, shares tours, the ups and downs and the laughs. You were and are one of a kind. Your light will always burn Duffy. Everyone who knew him loved, everyone who met him loved him. He was a pure genuine soul.”
Another tragic loss of a beautiful soul. Martin Duffy stepped in to save The Charlatans when we lost Rob - he played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend. He toured with me in my solo band too - he was a pleasure to spend time with. Safe travels Duffy 💔 pic.twitter.com/cvuEvvqYGa
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) December 20, 2022
Duffy grew up in Birmingham and joined the indie band, Felt, at 16, with the band going on to sign to Creation Records.
The musician then moved to Primal Scream for three decades, going from part-time to full-time member, also guesting on Gillespie's 2021 album.
Notable, Duffy also heroically stepped in last minute to play with The Charlatans when they supported Oasis at Knebworth.
“Martin Duffy stepped in to save The Charlatans when we lost Rob – he played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend,” Tim Burgess wrote in his tribute to Duffy earlier today.
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