Death of DS


Philip Oltermann and Donna Ferguson “Krautrock singer Damo Suzuki dies aged 74”
Adam Sweeting*3 “Damo Suzuki obituary”


He was born Kenji Suzuki in Oiso, in Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture. His father was an architect and his mother a housewife, who was left to bring up her four children after her husband died when Damo was five. “She is the most respected person in my life, because I learned from her so many things,” he told Mojo magazine.

He was an unenthusiastic student at school, but argued that keeping the brain uncluttered helped boost his creativity – “if you don’t have any information you can make many things”. As a teenager in the 1960s he soaked up Anglo-American pop music, from soul and Motown to the British invasion bands, though he found the Kinks more interesting than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

He left Japan the day after his 18th birthday in 1968 and, after spending time in Sweden, London and Wexford in Ireland, he arrived in Germany in 1970. He was not clear about how he acquired the name “Damo”.

He was scraping a living by doing pavement paintings and busking on the streets of Munich, and he caught the eye, or ear, of Czukay and Can’s drummer Jaki Liebezeit. Can’s original vocalist, the American singer and sculptor Malcolm Mooney, had recently quit the band after appearing on their debut album, Monster Movie (1969). Evidently intrigued by his improvisational style, the pair asked Suzuki to perform on stage with them that night.


Despite his successful work with Can, Suzuki was unsentimental about leaving them in 1973. “I’m not interested in hanging on to the past,” he told the Guardian in 2022. “I like to spend time in the now because there I can create something new, but in the past I cannot.”*5

He became a Jehovah’s Witness and stayed out of music for a decade, doing a variety of jobs, including working as a hotel receptionist and exporting vintage cars. “It was a really amazing time,” he said. “I had no contact with musicians. I lived together with my family. For me, music is not that important (as other musicians think). Music is simply a thing which I can immerse my imagination in, my fantasy, my art.”

In 1983 he was diagnosed with colon cancer – the disease that had killed his father – and underwent surgery. He subsequently resumed his musical career. An inveterate traveller, he performed live improvised music with local musicians whom he described as “sound carriers”, forming what was dubbed Damo Suzuki’s Network or the Damo Suzuki Band.

The disease was kept at bay until 2014. Despite undergoing numerous surgeries, Suzuki continued to tour and perform until the arrival of the Covid-19 epidemic, when he took himself off the road and turned his attention to painting. His experiences were recorded in Michelle Heighway’s documentary Energy: A Film About Damo Suzuki (2022). In 2019 he published the memoir I Am Damo Suzuki, co-written with Paul Woods.

都会のアリス [DVD]

都会のアリス [DVD]

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*1:See also


*3:See also

*4: See also

*5:Daniel Dylan Wray "‘Having limits is boring’: experimental survivor Damo Suzuki on Can, cancer and krautrock This article is more than 1 year old"

*6:Mentioned in

*7:See eg.