Obituary

Amp Fiddler, Detroit Musician and Parliament-Funkadelic Collaborator, Dies at 65

Amp Fiddler, the Detroit musician known for melding funk, soul and electronic, has passed away at 65. According to a post on his Instagram account, he died after “an extensive and noble battle with cancer.”

“We face the insurmountable responsibility of sharing the passing of Joseph ‘Amp’ Fiddler,” reads the statement. “Our beloved ‘Amp’ Fiddler, Detroit’s own world-renowned ambassador of funk, soul, and electronic music, keyboardist, producer, Afro-futurist, and guiding force of light for so many, has transitioned at the age of 65.”

Throughout his life, the singer, songwriter and keyboardist born Joseph Anthony Fiddler was largely influential in the Detroit scene and notably prolific, releasing numerous solo albums and working with artists including Prince, Raphael Saadiq and Maxwell. He played keyboards in Parliament-Funkaedlic from 1985 until 1996 and is credited with nurturing the talents of the late producer J Dilla, who he mentored on production tactics and introduced him to Q-Tip which helped launch his career.

Fiddler’s illness had been ongoing. In December 2022, his brother Joseph Fiddler launched a GoFundMe for the artist who at the time was recovering from an unknown surgery and spent months in the hospital. The fundraiser surpassed its goal of $75,000.

The youngest of five children, Fiddler was raised in Detroit’s Conant Gardens and spent his life dedicated to music. He studied music at Wayne State and Oakland Universities in Michigan, and dropped out after auditioning for and making the doo-wop band Enchantment. He soon got a gig playing with George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, first as a sub and then a regular player in the band. After playing with the group including Lucy Pearl and Was Not Was, he stepped away from the band to raise his son Dorian, who passed away in 2009.

Though he released his first solo album “With Respect” in 1991, Fiddler made a bigger splash with its follow up, 2004’s “Waltz of a Ghetto Fly,” which charted in the United Kingdom. He was a perennial figure in the Detroit music scene, a multi-hyphenate whose last release with the Will Sessions came in 2018. A GoFundMe has been set up to cover funeral costs.

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