Published Feb 20, 2013Kevin Ayers, frontman for legendary Canterbury, England progressive rock group Soft Machine, has passed away. He was 68. His cause of death is unknown, though he was reportedly struggling with an illness.
Alongside Robert Wyatt, Dave Stewart and Peter Blegvad, among others, Ayers was a central force in the group of musicians known as the Canterbury Scene. In 1963, he teamed up with Wyatt to form the Wilde Flowers. Five years later, the two moved on to the Soft Machine.
Though they didn't receive the wide commercial access that they may have deserved, Soft Machine were an integral force in shaping jazz-rock fusion. The group would go on to collaborate with the Police's Andy Summer, Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, and Bob Dylan producers Tom Wilson and Chas Chandler.
Ayers also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, releasing upwards of 15 albums and collaborating with Mike Oldfield and others. In 2007, he released The Unfairground, his final release. The album featured appearances from members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Teenage Fanclub, Ladybug Transistor and others.