Tributes have been paid to former NME journalist Gavin Martin, who has died.
The news was reported by Louder Than War earlier today (March 11). A cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Born in 1961, Martin was first published in the NME letters page when he was just 13-years-old before moving to London as a teenager to work at the magazine alongside Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons and Danny Baker.
Martin wrote U2‘s first-ever NME cover interview in 1981 ahead of the group releasing their second studio album, ‘October’, later that same year. As former NME reviews editor Stuart Bailie wrote in a tribute online, Martin went on to “rubbish” U2’s follow-up record, ‘War’ (1983).
Bailie described Martin as “nobody’s tame journalist”, reflecting on the time the late writer interviewed Marvin Gaye, had a “messy confrontation” with Van Morrison and a run-in with Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode.
Great words on Gavin Martin by @stu_bailie pic.twitter.com/2gA0Qa2KzO
— John Harris (@johnharris1969) March 11, 2022
Martin – who later became the music critic for The Daily Mirror – also interviewed the likes of James Brown, The Four Tops, David Byrne, Meat Loaf, The Killers and Lou Reed (via Rock’s Back Pages).
Writing on Louder Than War, journalist John Robb said: “Gavin knew the worst crime in music was to be boring and his visceral wild energy and his romantic belief in the power of the music and the power of the word made him stand out from the surrounding mundane terrain.”
Following the news of his passing, many of Martin’s friends, former colleagues and fans took to social media to share memories and messages of tribute.
A post on Uncut Magazine‘s official Twitter page read: “We’re very sad to learn of Gavin Martin’s passing. Aside from his NME tenure, he was a mainstay of Uncut for many years. A passionate music fan, he was generous, funny, unique. RIP Gavin.”
We’re very sad to learn of Gavin Martin’s passing. Aside from his NME tenure, he was a mainstay of Uncut for many years. A passionate music fan, he was generous, funny, unique. RIP Gavin.
— Uncut Magazine (@uncutmagazine) March 11, 2022
NME contributor James McMahon wrote: “RIP Gavin Martin, NME legend. I once went on a trip with you to Nashville. You took loads of sleeping pills, forgot to interview the band, then woke up about an hour before we had to catch the flight home. Maniac. Also, your writing was the real deal.”
John Mulvey, current MOJO editor and former NME deputy editor, said: “At NME in the ‘90s, Gavin Martin often seemed to come at music, and perhaps life, from a different, wholly original angle to most of us.
“Remembering him today, I think maybe, in his own way, he just worked it all out quicker. RIP.”
Elsewhere, Martin was hailed as “a trailblazer” and “fascinating man” who “provided endless inspiration in what he wrote”. You can see those tribute messages and a selection of other tweets below.
RIP Gavin Martin, NME legend. I once went on a trip with you to Nashville. You took loads of sleeping pills, forgot to interview the band, then woke up about an hour before we had to catch the flight home. Maniac. Also, your writing was the real deal pic.twitter.com/d0CtyMzOXU
— james mcmahon (@jamesjammcmahon) March 11, 2022
Gavin Martin RIP, a brilliant writer and chap pic.twitter.com/02wY3RtMxr
— Andy Von Pip (@VonPip) March 11, 2022
RIP Gavin Martin. A great journalist who was always kind, friendly and encouraging especially when I first was in London in the early 90's. Shocked.
— Tim Vigon (@timatcoalition) March 11, 2022
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Gavin Martin this morn, a music journo you'd never ever hear a bad word about, who was a friend to many and an influence to most who came up after him. A trailblazer from Alternative Ulster to NME. Thoughts with his pals and family.
— not-so-gnarly mike (@MikeDiver) March 11, 2022
RIP, the one and only Gavin Martin. pic.twitter.com/w0pH0Zv8AX
— Peter Curran (@curranradio) March 11, 2022
Desperately saddened to hear that Gavin Martin has passed. Some music critics really aren't in it for the music. Gavin was ONLY in it for the music. Well, maybe a bit of a party too, but mainly for the music. 💔
— The Tories Made Me German (@WyndhamWallace) March 11, 2022
Shocked to hear that Gavin Martin, a good friend & colleague at the NME, died yesterday. I went on many trips with Gav. – we seemed to do U2 together regularly, much to Bono's annoyance :-). Our first NME job together was Stiff Little Fingers in '78 – here pictured with Jake #RIP pic.twitter.com/Fmym7NEIUj
— Kevin Cummins (@KCMANC) March 11, 2022
Gavin Martin was a brilliant writer, a lovely & fascinating man… gave a lot of us our first experience of writing about not-music when he helmed the NME's film, TV & books section… and provided endless inspiration in what he wrote. So sad and shocked to hear he's died. pic.twitter.com/rdnrecn7St
— John Harris (@johnharris1969) March 11, 2022
For those of you who knew of him, I've just heard that NME alumnus and Mirror music ed Gavin Martin has died. He was always lovely to me during our time at Vox. RIP
— Ian Wade (@WadeyWade) March 10, 2022
At NME in the ‘90s, Gavin Martin often seemed to come at music, and perhaps life, from a different, wholly original angle to most of us. Remembering him today, I think maybe, in his own way, he just worked it all out quicker. RIP.
— John Mulvey (@JohnRMulvey) March 11, 2022
Lost a friend yesterday. Gavin Martin, a brilliant writer known to a lot of people here.
— David Quantick (@quantick) March 11, 2022
Bewildered to hear that Gavin Martin has died. Worked with him for years @NME. Good fella, and brilliant writer. Eg; He reviewed James Brown's career-span box set Star Time; I thought it was an impossible task; he utterly nailed it in 800 words. I still remember every one. 😔 pic.twitter.com/CVzyG21Qtr
— Danny Kelly (@dannykellywords) March 11, 2022
I'm gutted to hear of the death of music writer Gavin Martin. He wasn't just a fantastic writer he was a fantastic person. I loved that man. Travel on well, my friend. See you on the other side.
— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) March 11, 2022
NME writers like Gavin Martin and the much-missed Dele Fadele were prolific & unique stylists: they had voices we all wanted to emulate. Would we have known them without the music press? The weeklies welcomed so many outsiders, gave us a chance. Culture is diminished without them
— Ted Kessler (@TedKessler1) March 11, 2022
Very sad to hear Gavin Martin has passed away. He introduced my generation of @NME writers to the joys of writing about things other than music through his peerless curation of the media section & was a unique voice in his own writing. Also enjoyed his @DailyMirror music section.
— Mark Sutherland (@msutherlanduk) March 11, 2022
RIP Gavin Martin, excellent writer for NME and then latterly the Daily Mirror. In recent years he'd message me with some salacious gossip about a pop star or to have a righteous rant about something. Writer, poet, a recording artist recently too, he was one of the good guys. X https://t.co/VzeBMpHcLC
— Carl Loben 💙 🇺🇦 (@CarlLoben) March 11, 2022
Gavin Martin RIP, a great music journalist. Great stories from his Ballyholme upbringing to listening to Chuck Berry at the ABC Belfast and interviewing many rock luminaries.https://t.co/REjNG4C6z8
— Graham Brownlow (@GrahamBrownlow) March 11, 2022
A passionate fan of The Clash, Gavin Martin began his career during the punk era in Belfast, Northern Ireland where he launched his Alternative Ulster fanzine.
“I’d been reading NME since I was 11 and was as often as not into the writing as I was into the music,” Martin told Spit Records previously. “I remember a 15-year-old Belfast girl, slightly older than me, won their competition for a jukebox filled with the greatest 100 singles of all time, which I had entered.
“But a Belfast girl winning it made me think maybe something; some sort of handle on a musical culture community was in reach, round the corner. Then punk came along and there was a chance for everyone to express themselves with music or clothes or fanzines.”
He continued: “I loved all kinds of music, always had since I’d sung Beatles songs pre school in the front garden to the older kids (five and up) coming home from Ballyholme Primary.
“Alternative Ulster would give me a chance to write about punk of course but Dylan and Motown too. I was never a musician but I could write a bit, graffiti for sure – and it turned out to be invaluable in getting the fanzine off the ground.”