RIP Will Greenwood

We’re still reeling from the death of our guitarist earlier this year. published a great obit so reprinting here as words still fail me.

Will Greenwood

FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to talented musician Will Greenwood, following his sudden death.

Will, who was born Stephen Worley in Greenwich, South London, on June 13, 1959, and was raised in Deptford.

His dad, Reg, died when he was 11 and after that he was brought up by his mum, Vera, and his uncles – They were a proper close knit London family.

His mum and dad met when she was working in the Co-op in Deptford and his dad came in to buy some corned beef, she gave him extra and the romance bloomed.

His mum never remarried after his dad died and she always said she was her one true love. This made Will a real romantic.

Will moved to Glastonbury in the mid-80s and after arriving he quickly joined the music scene.

He became the musical director of Glastonbury Town Players for eight years in which he staged seven pantomimes and regular seasonal shows and cabarets.

He lived on boats for some time in the 90s and bought another boat in 2009 with money left to him after his mum died. He then began to partially live on the boat, mainly on the Kennet and Avon Canal but also venturing onto the Thames, the Avon, and the River Wey in the summer.

Will’s partner Jacqui Woodward Smith said: “He was a real wanderer and lover of the land. He also loved science, especially physics and astronomy, and had been studying for a degree with the Open University. His love of space comes out a lot in his music.”

Will, who leaves a daughter named Gaia who is in her early twenties, was part of the peace convoy at the Battle of the Beanfield on June 1, 1985. Although he wasn’t with the group when they were attacked, he witnessed the devastation of it the following day.

Will was a talented artist, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, but his main love and talent was the guitar. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the best guitarists on the festival scene.

Will formed his first band in 1974 playing his first gigs jamming on the South London blues pub rock scene. He has also been a regular on free festival stages since the mid-70s.

Unable to study music at school, Will taught himself guitar and attended electronic music classes at Goldsmiths College.

In the mid-80s Will started the original Space Pirates. They played gigs and festivals throughout the 80s and 90s and they supported bands such as Here and Now, Hawkwind, Radio Mongolia and Cardiacs.

Will was also involved with many other bands and projects over the years including Blue Cheese From Space, Splatman, Glass Unicorn, Spannerman, Titanic Dance Band, Will Greenwood’s Impossible Stress Factor, Medicine, Kemunnos, Hubba, Indivisible, Invisible Opera, The Kaputniks and The Glissando Orchestra.

Will’s first recordings were with Joie Hinton in 1986 and then on his own equipment from 1987 onwards, during which time he developed as a multi-instrumentalist arranger and songwriter. His first album Half a Dozen of the Other was released in 2000, followed by Lament to a Space Pirate in 2004 and The Endlessness of It All in 2009.

Will also arranged one last outing for the Space Pirates recording Avast Beyond in 2007 and performing a few gigs, notably at that year’s Eastern Haze event.

Will’s most recent performances included performing as part of The Glissando Orchestra and at Kozfest 2013.

Will was due to play this year at both Cosmic Puffin and Kozfest, both festivals that were very close to his heart.

This year’s Kozfest will be dedicated to Will’s memory and the Top Field at Kozfest will now be named The Will Greenwood field.

Mrs Woodward Smith added: “I thought that he was a brave and intelligent man, who never lost his kindness and humanity despite his illness and the lack of support he received. I think that his alternative way of life is something that the authorities find it hard to handle in terms of offering healthcare. We had a very difficult time.”

Unfortunately, he suffered from poor mental health throughout most of his life and that was made much worse when he began to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the early 90s.

Since his sudden death on February 10, there have been several tributes to Will on the radio, most notably on Radio Caroline and an hour-long tribute by Starship Overflow.

His funeral will be held in Glastonbury on March 7 followed by a woodland burial close to Stonehenge.

His funeral has been entirely funded and organised by family and friends so that it will be completely about him.

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