Ex-BLUE MURDER keyboardist Nik Green died last night after a battle with cancer. His passing was confirmed in a tweet from former BLUE MURDER bassist Tony Franklin, who called the keyboardist "a gentle soul and huge talent." He added in a separate tweet: "[Nik's] contribution to BLUE MURDER was huge."
BLUE MURDER was the brainchild of guitar virtuoso John Sykes. Upon Sykes' firing from the most successful version of WHITESNAKE, the former TYGERS OF PAN TANG and THIN LIZZY axeman set out to create a similar sounding bluesy hard rock band. They released two studio albums and one live album before breaking up in 1994. The late Ray Gillen, most famous for singing for BLACK SABBATH and BADLANDS, sang for an early version of BLUE MURDER, and the band reportedly recorded demos with him, but he didn't appear on any of the group's albums.
BLUE MURDER's self-titled debut album (1989) featured Green, Sykes and Franklin alongside Carmine Appice (drums).
Green was born in Somerset, England, and spent his childhood on the Welsh border. At age four, his mother caught him picking out the melodies of popular tunes on the radio, and promptly sent him to piano lessons. Nik later said: "I was taught piano in the uptight, rigid English tradition — I hated it and completely rejected formal training." His relationship with music was rescued by his great aunt who encouraged Nik to imrpovise as well as teaching him old Broadway tunes, ragtime and syncopation, "and all things frowned upon". Nik quit piano at 17, and soon after was "fired up" by the sounds of the synthesizer. "I re-taught myself pretty much from scratch," he said. "Most of my family, appalled by my failure to become an obedient military/corporate citizen, promptly disowned me — resulting in an incredible feeling of freedom to follow my muse."
In 1980, Nik formed an all electronic trio with John Connell and Will Douglas, known as THE REALLY SCHMALTZY CABARET BOYS, playing electronic dance/ambient music. "Everyone thought we were totally crazy because we had no bass, guitar or standard drum set when everybody else around us was playing punk and metal," said Nik. John went on to join the English National Opera, singing Wagner and Verdi, but Nik joined English folk artist Roy Harper, whose band featured guitarist Jimmy Page and Franklin. In the late '80s, when electronic dance music was really catching on, Nik was recruited by Sykes and BLUE MURDER.
Nik has also been involved in various collaborations with Barry Palmer (singer with TRIUMVIRAT and Mike Oldfield). Nik also worked with INNER CITY UNIT as engineer/co-producer with Nik Turner on the EP "Blood And Bone". Nik also did time in various studios as sound engineer, programmer, and designing digital audio gear for Dawnhope and AMS.
Sadly Blue Murder's keyboard player Nik Green left us last night, after a brave battle w/ cancer. A gentle soul & huge talent. RIP my friend— Tony Franklin (@FretlessMonster) March 14, 2016
Nik Green back in 2013. Still can't believe he's gone. His contribution to Blue Murder was huge. Rest In Peace Nik. pic.twitter.com/TELoVshguB— Tony Franklin (@FretlessMonster) March 14, 2016
Nik Green (Blue Murder's keyboard player) & I. Japan, 1989. We shared so many laughs, silly faces & great music. RIP pic.twitter.com/1loFuIcfrO— Tony Franklin (@FretlessMonster) March 14, 2016