Jon Brookes 1969-2013

By | Published on Wednesday 14 August 2013

Jon Brookes

Drummer with The Charlatans Jon Brookes has died, aged 44, following surgery relating to a brain tumour he was diagnosed with in 2010.

After their previous band, The Gift Horses, broke up in 1989, Brookes and bassist Martin Blunt formed The Charlatans, enlisting fellow West Midlanders keyboard player Rob Collins and singer/guitarist Baz Ketley. When Ketley left soon afterwards, vocalist Tim Burgess and guitarist Jon Day were brought in to replace him, with the band relocating to Northwich, near Manchester, which later helped them to become associated with the ‘Madchester’ scene.

The band scored a top ten hit with their second single, ‘The Only One I Know’, and went to number one with their debut album ‘Some Friendly’. Two follow-up albums proved less successful, but the band underwent a resurgence with their fourth record, 1995’s ‘The Charlatans’, while their third number one album, ‘Tellin Stories’, was also their best selling record to date – released following the death of Collins in a car crash.

To date, the band have released eleven studio albums, and were working on the twelfth at the time of Brookes’ death. The new album is the band’s first since the drummer was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010.

It was while promoting their last album, ‘Who We Touch’, that Brookes collapsed and briefly stopped breathing on stage in Philadelphia. Following medical tests in the US and back in the UK, he received his diagnosis. Meanwhile, the band continued their tour with Verve drummer Pete Salisbury sitting in for Brookes, who managed to rejoin the band for the final song of the last date on their UK tour the following month.

Since then, Brookes continued to receive treatment, and underwent several surgeries. The most recent surgery came last month, meaning Salisbury again stood in for him on tour, the band reporting that Brookes had “recovered well from the operation and will remain in hospital for additional treatment”.

A statement on the band’s website yesterday revealed that Brookes had “passed away peacefully in hospital early this morning with his family at his bedside”.

He is survived by his wife Debbie and their three children.