Chris Bailey, founding bass player with ARIA Hall of Fame inductees the Angels, has died at the age of 62.
Bailey had been suffering with throat cancer and passed away Wednesday night, his bandmates confirmed on Twitter.
The bassist was an integral part in the rise of the Angels. He came on board in 1976 when then-bass player Doc Neeson took up vocal duties. It proved to be a shrew move, as the band then went on to become giants Down Under.
At their peak, they were the quintessential Australian pub-rock band, with meaty songs and a striking frontman in Neeson. Bailey was on board for their biggest years. He played bass on and performed backing vocals for five Angels albums during the ’70s and ’80s, including the classic 1978’s “Face to Face,” and the following year’s follow-up “No Exit.”
Bailey left the band in 1982, and returned decades later, having played with a string of bands including the pop rock outfit GANGgajang. The Angels were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1998.
“It is a very sad day for us,” said Angels’ founding guitarist John Brewster on the band’s Facebook page. “We have lost a great friend in Chris Bailey and a great friend to a lot of people. He had been battling for the last nine months or so and it’s been a hard road for him.”
Bailey took up his bass guitar for the Angels’ most recent album, 2012’s Liberation release “Take it To The Streets,” their first studio album in 14 years. He also played on the subsequent tour in support. By now, Neeson had already split with the band and was replaced by the Screaming Trees’ Dave Gleeson. Neeson was hospitalized last year with a brain tumor.
“We felt like we had a real opportunity to show what we could do,” Bailey said ahead of the release last August. “It was an open canvas. There were no expectations. We didn’t have to deliver for anybody but ourselves. We all wanted to be there, we all wanted to play, we all wanted to make a new Angels album. A great album. And that’s what we did.” It’s understood Bailey was recording new Angels songs in the last months of his life.
A benefit show for Bailey’s family will go ahead in Adelaide on April 17.