Dan Woods 1957 – 2019 Goodbye old friend :-(

The celebrated Brighton artist and musician Dan Woods died peacefully in the early hours of the morning on 7th January 2019 after a couple of bad years with terminal cancer. He was stoic, cheerful and positive even during our last conversation not long before he died.  His bravery in the face of this horrific terminal illness and the hellish pain and disability he suffered was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

He is sorely missed by family, friends and fans of his art and music over the many years he has been creating artwork and music. As the Fish Brothers guitarist for many years (often under the name of Chesty Charnsworth) he is especially missed by fans who remember his blazing technical solos worthy of Ollie Halsall or Allan Holdsworth while at the same time the band, who were all very competent musicians as well, proclaimed themselves to be “totally crap”.

I met Dan at school when we were eleven years old and only one person outside his family has known him longer than that. Howard has known him since they were eight years old at junior school where Howard claims he regularly beat him up … in the face of overwhelming evidence that this never even happened once.

What is known by very few people is that Artists UK would not have existed if it had not been for Dan. An odd coincidence had me out of work in 1994 just when Dan had published some prints that he was having some trouble marketing and selling. He was an artist through and through and selling himself or his work was, as it is to many creative people, a rather distasteful and almost dirty occupation, far away from the sublime inspiration of art and music. Being at the time plunged in that dirt and mire and unable to find a convenient spitirtual shower I said I’d have a go at selling them. This I did and then branched out adding in other artists and merchandise to end up with the massive portfolio of over 2,000 products today. But Dan’s section has been there all the time during these 25 years for fans of his art to collect his great art prints and we will continue to keep his section live as long as we still have stocks of his prints.

Personally, I owe more to Dan than just Artist UK though.  For my 13th birthday he gave me a book that changed my life.  It was ‘Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham and that really kick-started my love-affair with science fiction that arose naturally after buying the comic FANTASTIC! around the time we met.  That comic contained reprints of American Marvel comics although we didn’t know that at the time.  Dan and I both developed a fascination for fantasy and science-fiction as well as for all sorts of music and spiritual practices like meditation and yoga.  We took different directions in life but in many ways it was the same inspiration that he expressed to me in our teens that saw him through one of the worst kinds of illness that anyone could suffer with such positivity, dignity and maturity.

The first band (Dan on left)


  • Gordon Watson

    Yes this was indeed Dan’s original band. The photo was taken in 1973 in my parent’s spare bedroom. Left to right: Dan Woods, Keith Savoury and Kevin Longman. I was the drummer and, for one evening, the band’s photographer. There were other photos, sadly now presumed lost.

    A pure Norwich-bred band, begotten in Keith’s home, equipped with acoustic and electric guitars, two drumsticks and a Beano annual based drum kit.

    Sadly, the 1970’s Norwich community wasn’t ready to appreciate this brand of mid-70’s creativity—our Robin Trower influenced blues, teenage ballad “Susan”, a self-penned Genesis influenced The Epic, or Doobie Brothers and Focus covers.

    We were ejected first to my parent’s garage, then to our spare bedroom. Result: a crack in the living room ceiling. It remained there half a century afterwards. A lasting testament to 16-year-old exuberance. My parents never complained.

    The police took over again. We had run out of rooms to damage anyway. So, off to Dan’s place next. The garden shed at the bottom of the garden.

    The band’s final resting place was suggested by our old friends the Constabulary. The Lad’s Club. It was there the band played its final and first performance. Now renamed The Randy Matthews Band performed an audience of eight or ten schoolmates and girlfriends.

    —Gordon Watson

  • Artists UK

    Nice to hear from you after all these years. We were all sorry you couldn’t make it to the funeral. I think we have all the other photos (including you on the drums) and I’ll send them to you. I only had small versions for years but then it turned out there were larger versions of them and I’ll send you those.
    Of course I wasn’t allowed to join the Randy Matthews band as punishment for writing an awful song called ‘Space Trip’. :-)

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