Mick Karn, previously of the band Japan, was diagnosed last week with cancer, and has made an appeal for donations and support on his website. There has, thankfully, been a flurry of activity among fans, and it seems to have had some practical effect. We must believe that it will help and that it will get better for him, and for his family.
What has happened to Mick Karn can do nothing but sadden, maybe more than it would if it had happened to someone else. It’s not like Mick Karn has had an unlucky or sad life, after all, but it’s impossible to look at his life and feel that he hasn’t been consistently shortchanged.
On the one hand, as the bass player in Japan, he has had a brilliant career. He must be one of the most influential bass players in rock history, and probably THE most easily recognizable. That burbling, backwards loop is one of the most comforting elements in Japan’s entire musical repertoire, and one which, in contrast to the synths or the atonal vocals, has not aged.
As a sculptor, personage, and influence he has been probably equally important, with a legacy of artistic activity which none of the other band members can hope to equal or near. At the cost, of course, of their greater commercial success.
Karn’s is also the solo material I like best, for taking some familiar parts of Japan’s music and improving and renewing it. It is a source of endless frustration for us fans that David Sylvian hasn’t managed to keep out of it, and yet also a source of intrigue. Every story needs a villain, after all.
So ultimately, someone we all look up to needs our help, and of course we hope to return some of the things he has given to us. But it is more than that, as he is a person who is in trouble and needs it. It is ridiculous to be in a position where so many claim to love and worship you and yet you have to struggle to even make provisions for necessary health care.
So far, it seems to have had some effect, as he has discussed treatments and made a plan. Please continue to give and leave messages of support. It is perhaps frustrating to be able to do so little but what is individually little does amount to much collectively.
Please give at Mick Karn’s website: http://www.mickkarn.net/