Richard Wolfson, a co-founder of a band described as one of the most original acts of the 1990s, has died at the age of 49.
Wolfson, who was born on April 25, 1955 and grew up in Solihull, was one of the forces behind Towering Inferno, a provocative performance-art band who went from recording on their own label to being signed up by one of the world's leading companies.
The band described their critically-acclaimed 1993 album, Kaddish, as "a dream history of Europe in the wake of the Holocaust".
Kaddish was a multi-media spectacular and received rapt reviews when it was performed live at all the major opera houses and concert halls of the world.
Wolfson and fellow band member Andy Saunders originally released the album on their own TI label, but it soon attracted so much attention that they were rapidly signed to Island.
Wolfson was educated at Solihull School where reports said he was "far too interested in Eastern Religions" and "Rock, folk, blues and unmusic". He had piano lessons from the age of five, but gave up after his teacher rapped his knuckles with a wooden ruler when he made mistakes, so he never had a classical training.
His father, an Orthodox Jewish dentist, died when he was 14. As a teenager, Wolf-son played the guitar and performed in the Birmingham area with a folk band. At 17, he met the then heavy-metal guitarist Andy Saunders and they formed the experimental band Missing Morris.
Wolfson studied music and theatre at York University, where he formed the rock outfit Warm and Wet, and became known for his hour-long fuzz guitar solos. After he graduated, Wolfson moved to London, where he lived in Brixton as a practising Trotskyist.
In 1979, he co-wrote and performed the music for Red Door Without a Bolt, which had its West End run at the Comic Strip alongside comedians Rik Mayall and Alexei Sayle.
In 1982, he and Andy Saunders formed Art Hammer Duo, with Wolfson on piano and Saunders on saxophone, performing South African jazz music and three years later they became Towering Inferno.
They embarked upon a tour of Europe in a Ford Transit van with four-slide projectors, filming as they went. Wolfson was a brilliant cameraman and some of his shots of statues in Italy have since been shown at film schools.
In 1986, the pair met Hungarian poet Endre Szkarosi, whose coded work, which challenged Communist repression, influenced their own work.
In the late 1990s, as well as working on second album, The Other Side, Wolfson studied for an MPhil at The Royal College of Art. He established himself as a talented journal-ist, writing music reviews and features for The Daily Telegraph, and the Financial Times.
He was known for his bohemian lifestyle and disregard for time scales.
He is survived by his partner Laura Charlton, who he met in 2003.