Pat Fish, the bassist and bandleader best known for his work with the Jazz Butcher, has died. The news was shared by his longtime collaborator Max Elder and his former label Glass Modern. Fish was 64.
A prolific songwriter who surrounded himself with a rotating cast of musicians, Fish made more than a dozen, genre-spurning albums with the Jazz Butcher, sometimes under aliases such as the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy or the Jazz Butcher and His Sikkorskis From Hell. Over the years, the bands’ ancillary musicians included David J (of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets) and Sonic Boom (of Spacemen 3).
Born Patrick Huntrods in London in 1957, Fish studied at Oxford. He moved to Northampton and formed the Jazz Butcher with Max Elder in the early 1980s. They released their debut album, In Bath of Bacon, on Glass Records in 1983. When the Jazz Butcher signed with Creation in 1987, the label was best known for putting out early post-punk classics by Primal Scream and the Jesus and Mary Chain—bands that would transfer to the majors before the decade was out. Creation boss Alan McGee told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo that, in those years, Fish and the Jazz Butcher kept the lights on. “He was part of the reason that we actually did well,” McGee admitted.
Fish also hosted an indie music show, Transmission, for the British network ITV, and often performed with other bands, including Wilson, Black Eg, Sumosonic, and Spacemen 3. He rehearsed weekly playing bass with his latest project, the Drones Club, until his death.
The Jazz Butcher’s latest release of new material was the 2016 single “All the Saints”; much of the band’s back catalog had been long out of print until a recent spate of reissues via Fire Records reintroduced the Jazz Butcher’s work with Glass and Creation to a contemporary audience. In an Instagram video, McGee paid tribute to Fish, saying, “You need these artists to build labels, and there were these guys, especially Pat, who were never about the money it was just about wanting to put his records out…. Such a good human being, such a true artist, such a great songwriter and such a nice bloke.”