Philip Drucker, a founding member of '80s-era Southern California post-punk group Savage Republic (credited as Jackson Del Rey in the group), died on July 16 at age 63. The news came via Independent Project Records, the label run by Savage Republic's Bruce Licher, who wrote, "Thank you Phil, for being one of the main catalysts for what became Savage Republic all those years ago, and for sharing your creativity with the rest of us. I wish you well on your journey.”

Here's more from Independent Project:

Bruce Licher and Philip Drucker met as young art students at UCLA in the late 70s. Impressed with the first two experimental singles released by Bruce under the newly launched Independent Project Records label, Phil joined him and two other students, Hilda Daniel and Caroline Collins, to form Them Rhythm Ants. Soon after that, Bruce and fellow art student Mark Erskine found themselves planning a rehearsal session in the utility tunnels on campus (Bruce still had a key from the student film he had recently made in them). Phil got wind of their plans and asked if he could join along with a friend named Jeff Long, who was a bass player. This was the beginning of Savage Republic, who were originally named Africa Corps.

The result of the original line-up of Savage Republic was the seminal album Tragic Figures (1982), released on Independent Project Records (IPR) and re-issued in expanded form just a couple of months ago on Real Gone Music for the album’s 40th Anniversary. The band split in two in 1983, with Phil and Robert Loveless going on to 17 Pygmies before Phil rejoined Savage Republic in ’87 (contributing to LPs Jamahiriya Democratique and Customs, the latter recorded on tour in Greece). “It was great to reconnect with him for Tragic Figures as well as Savage Republic’s Africa Corps Live At The Whisky A Go-Go, 30th December 1981,”says Bruce Licher. The live archival album is set for release in the Fall on IPR.

It was obvious through these recent connections that Phil was very proud of what Savage Republic created together, though slightly bemused that people still cared about it all these years later. As he had recently told us: “Savage Republic was a Why-Not band. Why can’t you put these sounds together and form something new? We always had something familiar that people could hang on to, like a security blanket, so that they knew we weren’t too crazy. At the same time, I like to think that we let people go where they wouldn’t have gone otherwise”.

Ride easy, Phil. Independent Project Records suggests you remember Phil fondly with the music he created in Savage Republic. Listen to some of it below.

Savage Republic also figure prominently into the great documentary Desolation Center which is streaming on Night Flight Plus and available to rent on the service of your choice.

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