The news of Jon Brookes passing hurts. A friendly 44-year old with a passion, energy and friendly approach to life. I'm really feeling for fellow Charlatans fans, for the band and their crew.
I met Jon briefly a couple of times and I have been fortunate enough to see the band play live on over 30 occasions. Jon (as is the case with drummers) was always at the back of the stage behind his kit and it isn't always possible to truly view his extraordinary skills.
However one time I went through to Edinburgh to catch The Charlatans playing an invite only show at the Liquid Rooms - I think it was for XFM/Radio Clyde. My brother managed to get me a pass.
It was mobbed and we managed to get up to the balcony stage left, actually behind Tim Burgess and level with Jon on the drums. It was a masterclass in drumming, making me appreciate how Jon was the backbone of the group, allowing others to flourish. His energetic style propelled his fellow band members on, turning their live performances on to new levels, gelling with Martin Blunt to form a tight-as-tight-can-be rhythm section and allowing Mark Collins and Rob Collins/Tony Rogers to play riffs on guitar and hammond.
The Charlatans have lived through tragic circumstances before after the death of Rob Collins. They came out fighting with an emotionally charged performance at Knebworth as they supported Oasis. They also released an inspirational statement that ended 'The Charlatans are rock.'
I hope the band 'keep on keepin' on'. One thing is sure - the memories of Jon will live long with fans of the band. He will never be forgotten.
There are many tremendous live performances of The Charlatans online. I'll share my favourite, a ferocous live version of 'Crashin' In' from the White Room, shortly after the passing of Rob.
I hope they come out fighting again.
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