February 29, 2024

Damo Suzuki, who fronted the pioneering krautrock group Can at its peak, has died at age 74. His death was confirmed on Saturday afternoon via Can’s Instagram channel. No cause was given.

“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. He will be joining Michael, Jaki and Holger for a fantastic jam!”

Can founding members Jaki Liebezeit, Holger Czukay, as well as guitarist Michael Karoli have all preceded Suzuki in death.

Born Kenji Suzuki in Tokyo, the singer left Japan as a teenager. In 1970, he was spotted playing as a street musician in Munich’s bohemian Schwabing quarter by two of the band’s members. They engaged him to play that very same night.

“There were no instructions from the band,” he recalled in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2018. “I was meant to just walk on stage and do anything.”

His improvisational singing style mixed words in English, Japanese and his own made-up languages, becoming a signature of the band’s sound.

Between 1970 and 1973, Can produced three albums, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. David Bowie, Radiohead and Talking Heads all cited the group as an influence.

Suzuki left Can in 1973, later fronting his own Damo Suzuki Band and a music label, Damo’s Network.

No information on survivors was immediately available.

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