The counter-culture icon was 69

Author, counter-culture icon and musician Mick Farren has died aged 69, according to reports.

Farren collapsed on stage at London’s Borderline on Saturday night (July 27) while performing with his band The Deviants at the Atomic Sunshine Festival.

News of Farren’s collapse and, subsequently, passing was confirmed on his Facebook page, where tributes have since been pouring in. The initial post read: “Hate to break the news but Mick collapsed on stage mid gig and the rest of the festival has been cancelled. I don’t know how the old boy is but he was unconscious on stage when the venue was cleared.” About 15 hours later, another post read: “Today was indeed the day. RIP.”

Born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Farren formed The Deviants (originally Social Deviants) in 1967 in Ladbroke Grove, London. The group released three albums between 1967 and 1969, and Farren’s solo debut followed a year later. As an author, Farren wrote 23 novels, 11 non-fiction books, four books on Elvis Presley and a memoir of the 1960s counter-culture titled Give The Anarchist A Cigarette. He worked for NME in the 1970s, famously writing the 1976 piece The Titanic Sails At Dawn which predicted the oncoming punk explosion. “The iceberg in this case seems to be one of a particularly threatening nature,” he wrote. “In fact it is an iceberg that is drifting uncomfortably close to the dazzlingly lit, wonderfully appointed Titanic that is big-time, rock-pop, tax exile, jet-set show business.”

A career-spanning anthology of Farren’s writing, Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine, was published earlier this year by Headpress.

Those paying tribute include former Auteurs frontman Luke Haines and MC5’s Wayne Kramer.

Read an obituary by NME‘s sister magazine Uncut here.