No wave legend James Chance dead at 71

James Chance has died, aged 71, following years of poor health credit:Bang Showbiz
James Chance has died, aged 71, following years of poor health credit:Bang Showbiz

The Contortions frontman James Chance has passed away aged 71.

The No Wave musician had been in poor health for several years, with a GoFundMe page setup in 2020 to help the musician with his “personal health issues and the COVID situation”.

His brother shared on another GoFundMe page, after his sibling was taken into hospital, that: “He’s very frail. He’s down to 95 pounds. He needs to get some physical therapy to get his strength back but I don’t know how to navigate the health care system to get him approved for that.”

And this week, his brother David Siegfried confirmed he died at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center in New York on Tuesday (18.06.24).

His sibling did not "specify a cause of death but noted that the musician’s health had been in decline for several years."

A lengthy statement and tribute on James' official Facebook page noted that his last known live performance was in March 2019 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, before the global pandemic hit.

A private funeral will be held, followed by a public memorial, which is set to be arranged.

James was a legend in the music and visual art scene of the No Wave movement in New York in the late ‘70s, which was a protest of commercial New Wave music.

No Wave artists experimented with noise, dissonance, and atonality, as well as jazz, funk, and disco.

The Contortionists featured on the famous 'No New York' No Wave compilation released by Brian Eno in 1978.

The saxophonist and singer - who was born James Siegfried - adopted his stage name in 1975.

The group formed in 1977, and he infamously used to start fights with audience members.

The Contortions were once renamed James White And The Blacks for the 1980 LP 'Off White'.

They went through many lineup changes, and after their split in 1979, they reunited many times.

James also appeared on records with Blondie’s Debbie Harry and the False Prophets, whilst he was in other groups such as Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.

In a touching tribute, original Contortions guitarist Pat Place wrote: “I’m so sad to hear of James’ passing. Working with him in the early days of the Contortions was a roller coaster ride of fun, creativity and insanity. His loss is a great one for the downtown community and the music world.”

Actor Elijah Wood posted to X: "So long to No Wave legend James Chance. Play Contort Yourself loud."