Joseph “Amp” Fiddler was a prolific musician who mentored notable artists in hip-hop, dance music, and beyond.
Detroit singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Amp Fiddler has passed away at age 65 after a battle with cancer. Known not only as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic but also a Prince and Jamiroquai collaborator as well as a mentor for artists like the late J Dilla, his death has sent shockwaves throughout the music industry.
Almost a year ago, Amp Fiddler (real name Joseph Anthony Fiddler) had underwent surgery for a then-undisclosed ailment and raised $75,000 via GoFundMe to pay for his treatment. Then, this Monday, December 18, Faith Fanzine broke the news of his passing via X (formerly Twitter). It was confirmed later in the day through a statement shared to Amp Fiddler’s official Instagram account.
“We face the insurmountable responsibility of sharing the passing of Joseph ‘Amp’ Fiddler,” reads the post. “Our beloved “Amp” Fiddler, Detroit’s own world renowned ambassador of funk, soul, & electronic music, keyboardist, producer, Afro-futurist, and guiding force of light for so many, has transitioned at the age of 65. After an extensive and noble battle with cancer, he now gracefully rests in peace and power.“
The statement continues: “It would be impossible to encapsulate the gravity of his energy, global impact & contributions. His life’s work, legacy, & most importantly…his LOVE…will far exceed his earthly presence. How blessed are we, to have experienced Amp Fiddler in this lifetime.“
Fiddler’s first full-time music opportunity saw him perform in a soul and R&B band called Enchantment in the ’70s, which also introduced him to his first MOOG keyboard, as he told Rolling Out in 2016. He went on to play with Parliament-Funkadelic for eight years, and his résumé grew to include collaborations with the likes of Questlove, Carl Craig, Moodymann, Raphael Saadiq, and Maxwell.
Also known as prolific educator, Fiddler famously taught J Dilla how to use the Akai MPC that became the latter artist’s calling card. He also partnered with Native Instruments on expansion packs called “Amplified Funk” and “Conant Gardens.” Over the course of his career, Amp Fiddler released eight studio-length albums, the last of which was 2017’s Amp Dog Nights.
A GoFundMe launched to cover Amp Fiddler’s unexpected funeral costs has garnered almost double its target in donations at the time of writing.