Jhonn Balance has died

The editors of Virginprunes.com were saddened to learn of the death of Jhonn Balance (also known as John) of Coil at the age of 42 on Saturday 13 November.

A long-term fan of the Virgin Prunes, Jhonn (né Geoffrey Laurence Burton and known for part of his life as Geoff Rushton) was born in the English county of Nottinghamshire. In a 1997 e-mail to Stuart he elaborated on his origins: “I was bought up in Lincolnshire by my Grandparents…on a pig farm. I was one of the original Pig-Children!!!”
He was captivated by the Virgin Prunes’ first single, Twenty Tens, subsequently striking up a correspondence and then friendship with Gavin Friday. In a very recent interview on RTE’s Rattlebag radio show last month, he describes getting in touch with the band via Tommy The Bottle Of Milk.
His film footage and video editing produced the video for Rhetoric that was included in the Sons Find Devils video release in 1985. He described the process as follows:
“I filmed it from the stage in a Brixton gig on Super 8 and then treated and edited at the video editing suite we had just enstalled at Some Bizzare. I did another video using similar processing techniques for a Dave-Id song but I can’t recall what it would have been. Something from the same time as Rhetoric. I was good friends with Claude Bessy as was Gavin and he got my film onto that Factory video compilation.”
Jhonn also provided a poem (Disabled Landscapes), a drawing (Adam And Yves) and a couple of collages for Rolf Vassellari’s 1985 book on the Virgin Prunes, The Faculties Of A Broken Heart. Gavin reciprocated by providing the lyrics and vocals to the track Tenderness Of Wolves on Coil’s first album, Scatology.
Jhonn’s own work in Coil, alongside Peter Christopherson, represents some of the most enthralling and original British music of the past twenty years. From the industrial excesses of The Sewage Worker’s Birthday Party (unsurprisingly, from the album Scatology), through the debauched Blakean visions of Love’s Secret Domain, to the gentler, more pastoral elements of 1998’s Equinox/Solstice releases and the almost Pythonesque elements of certain tracks on Musick To Play In The Dark (Volumes 1 & 2), Coil’s musical journey was unparalleled.
We offer our sincerest condolences to Peter and to Jhonn’s family and friends. He was a unique figure who will be both greatly missed and justly celebrated.

17 thoughts on “Jhonn Balance has died

  1. Hilde Vandevelde says:

    Far too young to be ripped out of this life!
    Courage to all who knew and loved him, take solace in the dear memories you have of him.
    (equally a Coil fan of the first hour)

  2. Gregory Gray says:

    I’ve been listening to” where are you now” from musick to play in the dark all morning…it’s no comfort,but your death can only heighten the intensity of listening to your music …it’s more than mere mystery now.The artist is irritrievably absent ,and the art is all the more present for it.My heart goes out to
    thighpaulsandra and all the other gifted people who had the pleasure of working with you.
    Music is a great thing..you spent your life well.
    gregory gray.

  3. capt-sue says:

    I read about his death in my e-mail and I came across this site. I have no idea who this guy is but I’m sad to hear that he died. My prayers are with his family and friends. Especially for Jhonn. RIP!

  4. wouter says:

    Back in 1984, my brother gave me the ‘Scatology’ LP as a birthday present.
    It was a double treat: Gavin was on it and the music of Coil was something I had never heard before. I’ve been a fan ever since..
    ‘Scatology’ and ‘Horse Rotorvator’ are amongst my all time favourite albums.
    At the VP matinee, Luc Janssen played their version of ‘Tainted Love’; the bells in that song sound even darker now.
    “Where even the darkness is something to see”..

  5. Voxx says:

    My heartfelt condolences to all who knew John personally. His vision and voice will guide us through the legacy of his poesy and music. He will be greatly missed.
    In Nomine Pan,

  6. Steve Ganymede says:

    I was shocked to hear about Jhonn’s passing. I met him three times in the eighties and visited Coil’s house in Chiswick. We had some good conversations together. I thought he was a nice guy. They distributed a limited number of prints of some artwork I did with their Coil Comic and were kind enough to mention me on the “Horse Rotorvator” album insert and send me a signed copy of the LP (which I have kept all these years). I remember Jhonn had a keen interest in books and built up a large collection. Although we didn’t keep in touch, I always asked my friend Tim how he was and if he’d heard from him or Peter. My sincere condolences to all who knew him. His contribution to music will never be forgotten.
    Steve Ganymede

  7. Nemeton says:

    I was constantly listening to the song The dreamer is stil asleep for abaut two weeks (constantly, in my room, car, singin it at work, at school, …)then i red abaut it on the net (2 weeks later that tragic day)- a premonition, or i felt the energy? Who knows?!
    I am a fan of Coil for about 5 years… they helped me alot in my spiritual evolution. Jhonn u did a lot for me and i think you spended your time on this Earth really good!
    Once again :
    The dreamer is still asleep
    The dreamer is still asleep
    He’s inventing landscapes in their magnetic field
    Working out a means of escape
    We’ll cut across the crop circles
    The seer says no
    Not much time left for these escape attempts
    Look at it this way
    In ten years’ time
    Who’ll care? Who’ll even remember?
    One dies like that, deep within it
    Almost inside it
    It’s there for a reason
    I’ll give you my old address
    And take that little book
    To tear and cut the paper
    The beginning is also the end
    Time defines it, time defines it
    It will end
    Like close friendship
    Nothing could be further
    We forget the space between people and things
    Is empty
    We forget, and don’t notice the loss
    Crossing into venerable degeneration
    It’s that radiant pollution
    The god with the silver hands surveys this vast contamination
    The dreamer is still dreaming
    The dreamer is still dreaming
    In the heart of your heart
    Your eye remains
    Is that hurt you? Is that blister you call loveless?
    Your whole life is a cold slow shock
    Your whole life is a cold slow shock
    Take all your time
    Track the shabby shadow down
    Through hissy mists of history
    The dreamer is still dreaming
    The dreamer is still dreaming
    Hush; may I ask you all for silence?
    Will he wake in time to catch the sunset?
    Hush; may I ask you all for silent?
    May I ask you all for silent?

  8. DARK SUN says:

    IO PAN.in our hearts secret domain you will be inside us all of the time.(some antifanatical people from the club dark sun in greece).because we may not understand many things without your guide.

  9. Jeff says:

    I didn’t know John, I just had some coil albums, but his death has moved me strongly. I don’t know why.
    I listened to ‘Horse Rotorvator’ for the first time in 2 years, only 2 or three weeks ago. Maybe we who have heard Johns music sensed something.
    RIP John, you’ll be sadly missed.

  10. Adrenaline` says:

    Rest In Peace Brother(In Law!)
    May you rest upon the stars you dreamed off.
    Love is the Law,Love Under Will!

  11. SLedhicket says:

    RIP JOHN cuz the Dreamer is Still Asleep…………..

  12. Ti m Supple says:

    John, (Geoff) as I once – a very very long time ago – knew you, so sorry to hear of your untimely passing. Heartfelt sympathies to your family and friends…
    Tim Supple

  13. ryan says:

    wrote him at age 14 from Alaska. We corresponded. He was fascinated by tundra and the northern lights.
    A true loss.

  14. Sinewaves23 says:

    John’s absence has had a great effect on me. Whilst leaving us in physical form, he is in own right immortal.
    He has lived an amazing life, and has left us with many things to remember him by. Through musick, memories, and pressence; John has left mark on all of us.

Comments are closed.