Epic Soundtracks, a drummer and songwriter whose 20-year career encompassed early punk rock and classic, Beach Boy-style pop, was found dead in his London apartment on Saturday.
Initial reports estimated that Soundtracks, born Paul Godley, had been dead between one and two weeks, according to Tom Prendergast of Bar/None Records, the label that released Soundtracks' solo albums. Friends had grown worried when Soundtracks didn't return calls, and contacted his parents and brother, musician Nikki Sudden. They in turn called Soundtrack's landlord, who discovered the body. At this point, Prendergast says, nobody is sure of the cause of death, although a suicide is suspected. An autopsy will be performed soon.
Raised in Leamington Spa, a small town just north of London, Soundtracks and Sudden formed the Swell Maps in the early '70s. Encouraged by the punk explosion, the Maps released their first single in 1978 and recorded two albums before breaking up in 1980. While neither album was released in the U.S., their anarchic combination of aggressive guitar, pop hooks and random noise influenced Sonic Youth, among others.
Soundtracks remained with his brother, playing drums on Sudden's solo albums and joining Sudden and Dave Kusworth in the Jacobites in 1984. In 1986, Soundtracks left to join Crime and City Solution, playing on "Suit of Lights," before leaving the band to form These Immortal Souls with Roland S. Howard.
None of these projects foreshadowed Soundtracks' more delicate solo work. Mixing the classic Brill Building pop of Carole King and Neil Diamond with the yearning emotionalism of Laura Nyro and his hero, Brian Wilson, Soundtracks won fans among fellow musicians for the shaggy intimacy and lived-in vocals of 1993's "Rise Above" and 1994's "Sleeping Star." One particularly ardent admirer was Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando, with whom Soundtracks co-wrote the song "C'Mon Daddy" for the Lemonheads' "Car Button Cloth" album.
Soundtracks' solo records came closest to representing his personality -- soft-spoken and rumpled, with a dry humor. He could tell an interviewer with a straight face that Epic Soundtrax, the soundtrack division of Epic Records, had to change the spelling of its name because he owned the rights to those words. But he was also prone to bouts of romantic me