Boomtown Rats guitarist and founding member Garry Roberts dies, aged 72

10 November 2022, 10:36

By Mayer Nissim

"Safe travels Gaz. Thanks for everything mate."

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Garry Roberts, a founding member of The Boomtown Rats, has died at the age of 72.

The band confirmed the passing of their guitarist in a statement last night (November 9).

"It is with very great grief that the members of The Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts, our friend and guitarist," read a post on the group's official Facebook page.

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

It continued: "On a clear Spring evening in 1975, in a pub in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Garry became THE founding member of what turned out to be a great rock’n'roll band, driven largely by that sound of his, a storm of massive considered noise that punched out from his overtaxed amplifiers; and which animated not just the rest of the group but audiences he played to around the world.

The Boomtown Rats in 1979
The Boomtown Rats in 1979. Picture: Getty Images

"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.

"We have known Garry since we were children and so we feel strangely adrift without him tonight.

"Safe travels Gaz. Thanks for everything mate. Bob Geldof, Pete Briquette, Simon Crowe with Darren Beale and Alan Dunne."

Roberts formed The Boomtown Rats with Gerry Cott, Simon Crowe, Johnnie Fingers, Pete Briquette and Bob Geldof in 1975.

The band was initially called The Nightlife Thugs, but Roberts hated the name so much he apparently threatened to quit unless they changed it.

Garry Roberts playing with The Boomtown Rats in 2017
Garry Roberts playing with The Boomtown Rats in 2017. Picture: Getty Images

They settled on The Boomtown Rats, taken from Woody Guthrie's dense autobiography Bound For Glory.

The Boomtown Rats released six studio albums before breaking up in 1986.

They reformed in 2013 and continued to play live, and released comeback album Citizens of Boomtown in 2020.

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