Boomtown Rats announce death of guitarist Garry Roberts in emotional statement

Boomtown Rats announce death of guitarist Garry Roberts in emotional statement
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Garry Roberts, founding member and lead guitarist of Irish rock group The Boomtown Rats, has died. He was 72.

Roberts’ death was announced by the band in an emotional statement released in the early hours of this morning, where they described Roberts as “an old friend and a great guitarist” and “the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are”.

“It is with a very heavy heart that the members of Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts” the band’s statement began.

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Garry Roberts of The Boomtown Rats
Garry Roberts, pictured here in 2017, has died. He was 72. (Redferns)

“The remaining members of the band, Pete, Bob and Simon, Darren and Al extend their deepest sympathy to his family and friends,” the statement continued.

The band then reflected on how they came to be on “a clear spring evening” in a Dublin pub in 1975. Roberts, per the statement, was “THE founding member” of The Boomtown Rats, a “great rock ‘n’ roll band driven largely by that sound of his”.

“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,” the statement continued.

“We have known Garry since we were children and so we feel strangely adrift without him tonight. Safe travels Gaz. Thanks for everything mate.”

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The statement was signed off by lead singer Bob Geldof, bassist Pete Briquette and drummer Simon Crowe.

The Boomtown Rats later paid tribute to Roberts on Twitterwriting: “R.I.P. GARRY ROBERTS, THE LEGEND, FOUNDING MEMBER AND GUITARIST OF THE BOOMTOWN RATS. A MAN WHO WILL BE MISSED, A FRIEND WHO WILL BE REMEMBERED, A SOUND THAT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.”

No cause of death has been given at this time.

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The Boomtown Rats
The Boomtown Rats’ Johnnie Fingers, Bob Geldof, Garry Roberts, Gerry Cott, Simon Crowe and Pete Briquette in 1979. (Redferns)

Roberts was instrumental in The Boomtown Rats’ image and sound, notably threatening to quit the band in 1975 if they did not change their name from The Nightlife Thugs.

The band listened, and became known as The Boomtown Rats after Geldof read the phrase in the autobiography of Woody Guthrie, a United States protest singer, called Bound for Glory.

The Boomtown Rats enjoyed international success from 1975 to 1986, before breaking up. In 2013, however, they reformed – but without original members Johnny Fingers nor Gerry Cott.

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