Detroit funk legend Amp Fiddler dies at 65
“After an extensive and noble battle with cancer, he now gracefully rests in peace and power.”
Image: Donna Ward / Getty Images
Detroit funk legend Joseph Anthony “Amp” Fiddler has died at the age of 65. A statement on Fiddler’s Instagram reveals that the musician passed away after “an extensive and noble battle with cancer”.
“We face the insurmountable responsibility of sharing the passing of Joseph ‘Amp’ Fiddler,” reads the post. “Our beloved ‘Amp’ Fiddler, Detroit’s own world-renowned ambassador of funk, soul, and electronic music, keyboardist, producer, Afro-futurist, and guiding force of light for so many, has transitioned at the age of 65.”
Born and raised in Detroit, Fiddler began his musical journey as a member of the soul/R&B group Enchantment in the 70s, before joining as a keyboardist for George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic music collective. Fiddler toured with the band for over a decade, appearing on songs such as Prince’s We Can Funk.
Throughout the 1980s, the artist also lent his keyboard skills to sessions with Warren Zevon and American band Was (Not Was).
Working with his brother Bubz, Fiddler released the album With Respect in 1990, recording under the name Mr. Fiddler. His debut album as Amp Fiddler, Waltz of a Ghetto Fly arrived more than a decade later in 2004 – and would go on to become his most commercially successful solo album.
Over the years, Fiddler has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Prince, Jamiroquai, Moodymann, Theo Parrish, and J Dilla, whom he taught how to use the Akai MPC drum machine. His works were also featured on labels like Mahogani Music and Sound Signature, with his last release being the June single titled Come On Over, a collaborative effort with Luke Solomon.
Tributes have poured from around the globe following news of Fiddler’s passing.
Questlove wrote: “Rest easy brother Amp. For all those talks during the Pfunk tour. For all the music. Especially of course mentoring the one who mentored us (Dilla) – thank you brother.”
Meanwhile, broadcaster and label head Gilles Peterson remembered the late musician as “Detroit royalty” and a “huge influence on musicians from all sides of the globe – he connected generations and scenes… a mentor to so many”.
Read more tributes below:
RIP amp fiddler, incredibly sad news. A huge talent who was always a joy to see live, and the man who lent j dilla his first sampler.
— Mr B (@MrBeatnick) December 18, 2023
Devastated to hear that Amp Fiddler has passed away.
His impact on music is impossible to summarise in a post, but we wanted to say that we are honoured & privileged to get to know Amp through his work with Dames Brown. He was a positive force to everyone around him.
— Defected Records (@DefectedRecords) December 18, 2023
Amp Fiddler was a great human.
The impact he had on everyone around him was profound. He treated everyone with nothing but love and respect.
He was also a huge influence on all of the music that I love, not least J Dilla.
An unsung hero in many ways.
Rest in peace, Amp. 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/HNVTMvFjzV
— Thomas Coxhead (@iamcoxhead) December 18, 2023
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