Kevin Ayers, one of the founding members of pioneering psychedelic rock group Soft Machine, has died aged 68. Having released several solo albums, and worked with artists such as Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield, Syd Barrett and many others, Ayers leaves behind quite a legacy.
He formed his first band, The Wilde Flowers, along with Pye Hastings and David Sinclair, who would later go on to form Caravan. This band eventually morphed into Soft Machine, featuring the talents of musicians Mike Ratledge, Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt, they went on to be one of the founding groups of the Canterbury Scene.
Leaving the band in 1968, Ayers said he found the gruelling schedule of touring to be “dehumanising.” He then moved to France to work on a project with Daevid Allen, which would eventually became Gong.
In 1974, Ayers headlined a concert at the Rainbow Theatre, London, accompanied by John Cale, Nico, Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield. This concert would go down in infamy as, the night before, John Cale had caught Ayers in bed with his wife.
During the ’80s, Ayers lived in self-imposed exile in the warmer climates of Majorca, a fugitive from changing musical tastes and a low point in his life due to drug addictions.
A brief return to the UK during the ’90s was followed by his reclusion to the South of France, where he spent the remaining years of his life after developing a deep fondness for the country.
Ayers passed away peacefully in his sleep at home, Monday 18th February.
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