Kevin Ayers, one of the most influential figures in U.K psychedelia, has died. The singer-songwriter, bassist and guitarist was a founding member of the band Soft Machine. He was 68.
Soft Machine were a key psychedelic band, playing alongside Caravan, Egg, and Hatfield and the North. The group became a fixture at the UFO Club in London in the late ‘60s. The group toured with Jimi Hendrix – Jimi liked Ayers, and encouraged him to write more music, giving him a Gibson guitar to do so. 1968’s debut, The Soft Machine, is considered a classic of the psych genre. Soft Machine took their name from William Burroughs’ 1961 novel, after receiving permission from the author.
In the ‘70s, Ayers released whimsical solo albums - Whatevershebringswesing, Bananamour and The Confessions Of Dr Dream And Other Stories. Patchy albums followed sporadically, up to his return to live performance with ‘92’s largely acoustic Still Life With A Guitar. In 2007, he released The Unfairground, with guests including Phil Manzanera, as well as members of Teenage Fanclub, Neutral Milk Hotel and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Ayers also worked with Brian Eno and Elton John.