A giant figure in the scenes of krautrock and avant-garde rock, Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki made his name globally playing with revered German band Can for three years in the early 1970s. He passed away on February 9, at the age of 74, leaving behind him an eclectic and acclaimed output of music and influence.

The Kanagawa-born artist who was born Kenji Suzuki, made his way to Germany in the late 1960s and found work busking on the streets of Munich before being spotted by members of Can. Suzuki then contributed to acclaimed and hugely individual albums Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days before leaving the band in 1973.

I Am Damo Suzuki

Suzuki went on to play for many years with a varied mix of musicians who were billed as Damo Suzuki’s Network when touring. The musician, who converted to the Jehovah Witness religion, released a well-received memoir in 2019 titled I Am Damo Suzuki.

Philip Oltermann wrote in The Guardian, “Suzuki’s death was confirmed on Saturday afternoon via Can’s Instagram. While the cause of his death was not stated, the Cologne-based musician was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014, having first been diagnosed with the disease 30 years earlier.

‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our wonderful friend Damo Suzuki, yesterday, Friday 9th February 2024,’ the message on Can’s account said.

‘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.’”

In 2022, Michelle Heighway’s Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki was released to critical acclaim.

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