Words by Adam Smith / Pics approved for use by Tina Phillps
The sudden death of a popular Kingstanding singer songwriter has left his community shellshocked and sparked a wave of online tributes.
The 52-year-old had been a stalwart of the Birmingham music scene for more than 30 years. He started his musical career as a left handed drummer aged just 16 and appeared in numerous bands.
He switched to guitar in 1999 and also penned lyrics as well as singing vocals for bands including The Hungover Stuntmen. He and Robb Swadkiss formed rock outfit Geezer in 2005 and enjoyed success touring across the country and performing at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club.
In recent years Darren was releasing music and performing as Jack the Biscuit.
Kingstanding club promoter George Hadley was “gutted” by Darren’s sudden death.
He told Erdington Local: “Darren was what made Kingstanding, Kingstanding. He’d always take time for a chat and ask how I was. He was a really nice guy who was talented too, he was a singer songwriter who had success and was always interested how my promotion Sum Cellar was getting on.
“He was a real family guy too and we are all gutted for his family. These lockdowns have been so tough for so many people and seeing the amount of people in Kingstanding and beyond who have posted on social media has shown how loved he was.”
Darren’s wife Tina, whom he had three sons and four grandchildren with, pleaded with those suffering with mental health problems to confide to loved ones.
She said: “I have lost my best friend my world my rock. The best husband, dad and grandad in the world. I can’t believe I never had an inkling what was going through his mind. I would like to thank you all for your heartfelt messages I am absolutely heartbroken.
“Darren would be overwhelmed with all the kindness. Good night God bless my darling I will love you forever. Please all remember mental health matters just talk, if only Darren had I wouldn’t be writing this now.”
Darren’s beloved Birmingham City Football Club paid tribute to him during their home match against Swansea City on Friday 2 April.
Former bandmate Robb Swadkins said: “Massive thank you and well done to Birmingham City FC for doing this at last night’s game. You did yourself and Darren proud.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Darren’s family to pay for the funeral which raised more than £350 within 24 hours.
A memorial party is being held at the Sack of Potatoes Saturday, June 26 at 4pm, everyone is welcome.
To donate to Darren Phillips fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/f/funds-for-darren-phillips-funeral-and-his-family
If you have been affected by issues surrounding mental health contact Bimringham Mind at www.birminghammind.org or call (0121) 262 3555