The son of late Primal Scream bassist Martin Duffy has criticised the band over a lack of emotional and financial support for his father.
Louie Duffy, 19, gave evidence at his father’s inquest earlier this week (June 6). The musician died in December last year after sustaining serious head injuries in a fall at his Brighton home.
Now his son has painted a harrowing picture of his father’s last months, detailing a spiral into alcoholism that began when he was sent home from a Primal Scream tour last summer after making mistakes at a Glasgow show he had been drinking ahead of.
Louie said that his father was “very upset” and “completely devastated” by the suspension. “After being forced off the tour, I literally saw dad age 10 years in a matter of weeks,” he said.
“He became very upset. After this he started drinking really heavily every day. I couldn’t stop him. It was frightening. I had never seen him like this before. He stopped contacting people and I was really worried about him.”
He went on to explain that his father’s troubles were exacerbated by financial worries, including an unpaid £8000 tax bill. He claimed that his father had been “demoted” to the role of session musician around 2011, despite playing on every Primal Scream album since their 1987 debut, Sonic Flower Groove.
The apparent demotion meant that he was cut out of the proceeds from a multi-million pound deal to sell 50% of the rights to the band’s catalogue last year. “I remember Dad telling (frontman) Bobby Gillespie on the phone that he was having to sign on for benefits to get by as he had no savings but the band offered no support either emotional or financial. I saw how much this upset him.”
Singling Gillespie out for criticism, Louie said: “I’ve seen on Instagram how Bobby Gillespie is always urging everyone to support the strikers – fair pay for the workers – and there is nothing wrong with that, Dad supported the strikers too, but not if at the same time you aren’t paying your own bandmate of over 30 years even a small share of the tour profits to make his life easier. As the band got older, they did less touring and more one-off gigs which meant Dad was getting paid less and less, only earning around £40k a year for playing with Primal Scream, not a lot for someone with his talent and experience.”
“I am well aware that financial reward may not have saved Dad from himself – we will never know, he continued. “But I do know that while the band were reaping the rewards from touring Screamadelica, a classic British album, he was having to live month to month – just being paid session fees to perform it – when in fact he had played such an important part in creating it. I know Dad found this really insulting and not right. His 30 years of loyalty to Primal Scream was never repaid.”
Approached by Rolling Stone UK, Primal Scream declined to comment.