Garry Roberts, the guitarist and founding member of Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats, has died at the age of 72.
Roberts is said to have been instrumental in the band settling on the name The Boomtown Rats and “summed up the sense of who The Rats are”, the group said in a statement today (November 9).
No cause of death was given at the time of writing.
The Boomtown Rats, fronted by singer and political activist Bob Geldof, wrote in a statement on their Facebook page: “It is with very great grief that the members of The Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts, our friend and guitarist.
“The remaining members of the band, Pete, Bob, Simon, Darren and Al extend their deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”
It is with very great grief that the members of The Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts, our…
The band, who are known for songs ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and ‘Like Clockwork’, reflected more on Roberts and the band’s founding in Dublin in the mid-’70s.
“On a clear Spring evening in 1975, in a pub in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Garry became THE founding member of what turned out to be a great rock’n’roll band, driven largely by that sound of his, a storm of massive considered noise that punched out from his overtaxed amplifiers; and which animated not just the rest of the group but audiences he played to around the world.
“For fans he was The Legend – and he was. For us he was Gazzer, the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are. We have known Garry since we were children and so we feel strangely adrift without him tonight. Safe travels Gaz. Thanks for everything mate.”
Roberts is said to have originally threatened to quit the band unless they changed their name from The Nightlife Thugs [via BBC News].
Geldof eventually came up with The Boomtown Rats after he read the phrase in US protest singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound For Glory.
In a tweet the band also described Roberts as: “A man who will be missed, a friend who will be remembered, a sound that will never been forgotten.”
See tributes to Roberts below.
So sorry to hear about Garry Roberts.
Total legend and thoroughly nice man.
Sending love to his family, friends
and band family. 🖤 https://t.co/DAJzEQ9DU1
— Imelda May (@ImeldaOfficial) November 9, 2022
Sad to hear of the passing of BoomTownRats guitarist Garry Roberts aged 72 🎸😪🙏 pic.twitter.com/uNbgylbkpp
— PJI64 (@paul1964Jam) November 9, 2022
If you’re an Irish person of a certain age. You got your music fix from Top of The Pops and when the BBC DJ said ‘Now from Dublin..The Boomtown Rats’… it really blew your mind. #GarryRoberts pic.twitter.com/BPO4FdlUzJ
— Ken Sweeney (@KenSweeney) November 9, 2022
— Martin Neal (@HarveyWahWah) November 9, 2022
I am sorry to hear the news of the death of Garry Roberts. His guitar was the heart of the sound of the Boomtown Rats as they rose to the top of the charts at home and abroad, winning fans and challenging orthodoxies along the way. My deepest condolences to his family & friends. https://t.co/tFWJKEJKwK
— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) November 9, 2022
The Boomtown Rats were the first band I really loved as a kid & Garry's guitar was an essential part of that sound – RIP Garry Roberts https://t.co/3xQy1Sz4jm
— Steve May (@stevemaythe1st) November 9, 2022