Paul Fox (1951-2007)

Paul Fox, guitarist and songwriter with the Ruts, died yesterday (October 21st) from cancer, aged 56. A full obituary can be found here. The Ruts were one of the best second-wave punk acts. Their combination of high octane rock and dub reggae was much more convincing than the skanking efforts of contemporaries like the Clash, and they attracted a unique cross-cultural audience, largely due to their roots in the People Unite collective based in multi-ethnic Southall, and their unstinting support for Rock Against Racism. Where other bands talked the talk, and were happy to pose in revolutionary garb and issue appropriate soundbites, the Ruts were a frontline, people’s band. Tragically, the group’s charismatic front man Malcolm Owen died from an overdose of heroin in July 1980. The final single “West One (Shine On Me)” was among the group’s very best efforts. Fox took over as singer as the band reconvened as Ruts DC (Da Capo – from the beginning). The new dub-jazz direction was critically successful, but failed to convert many of the band’s previous fans, and they split up in 1983.

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