Damo Suzuki, the pioneering krautrock singer and lead vocalist for German experimental rock group Can, has passed away aged 74.
Sazuki died on Friday, February 9, it was announced over the weekend. The news was confirmed by Can’s record label, Spoon Records.
“It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our wonderful friend Damo Suzuki, yesterday, Friday 9th February 2024,” the label announced.
“His boundless creative energy has touched so many over the whole world, not just with Can, but also with his all continent-spanning Network Tour. Damo's kind soul and cheeky smile will be forever missed.”
Suzuki’s cause of death was not confirmed. The late vocalist was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1984 and again 30 years later in 2014, beating both bouts despite being given a 10% chance of survival by doctors.
Born in Kobe, Japan, Suzuki made his way to Germany where he settled in Cologne in the 1960s. He was spotted busking in Munich by founding Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit and would go on to join the group.
His style fused English and Japanese lyrics while often adding some improvisation of his own, giving Can their own unique and influential sound.
Suzuki was part of Can during their formative years, thought to be a pioneering group for the emerging sound of krautrock in the '60s and ‘70s. During their prime, Can released widely successful tracks including ‘Vitamin C’, and the groundbreaking double record ‘Tago Mago’.
Happy Mondays, David Bowie, and Talking Heads all cited Can as an influence for their music, deriving from genres including ambient, jungle, and trip hop. Brian Eno would even go on to create a short film documenting the group’s legacy.
“He will be joining Michael, Jaki and Holger for a fantastic jam! Lots of love to his family and children,” Spoon Records announced following Suzuki’s death. “We will post funeral arrangements at a later date.”
Read some tributes to the late Damo Suzuki below.
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Damo Suzuki— Tom Skinner (@TomSkinner__) February 10, 2024
Grateful that I got to share the stage with him a few years back. An unforgettable experience. What an incredible human being. RIP pic.twitter.com/VtcvTS2tWZ
RIP Damo Suzuki. His music with CAN had a huge influence on us, and seeing our friends in Defender back him up in 2003 at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago is still among the greatest shows I've ever seen.— American Football (@americfootball) February 10, 2024
RIP Damo Suzuki (1959-2024).— Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) February 12, 2024
Can's pioneering vocalist. A true rock and roll legend with inimitable stage presence, fluid lyricism and limitless energy.
The magic behind the motorik machine. Thank you for your contributions to music x pic.twitter.com/K2xZSCadih
We are devastated to announce that Damo Suzuki passed away on the 9th February.— ENERGY (@energythefilm) February 10, 2024
A life force that will be missed by many.
Lost for words.
Sending strength, love and condolences to the family and loved ones.#Energy #DamoSuzukisNetwork
God bless pic.twitter.com/Isb9D3BN6t