Julz Sale, guitarist and singer for Delta 5, has died

Julz Sale
(Image credit: David Corio/Redferns via Getty)

Julz Sale, the lead guitarist and vocalist for Leeds post-punk band Delta 5, has died, it has been confirmed.

The news was announced by Rough Trade, the British record label that released much of Delta 5’s work, and where Sale worked for a period of time after the band split up in 1981. No cause of death has been officially revealed.

“We are very sad to learn of the passing of Julz Sale, Delta 5 founding member and former employee of the Rough Trade label. RIP,” read the statement, which also included lyrics to the band’s well-known track, Mind Your Own Business.

Their sentiments were echoed by a fellow record label, the US-based Kill Rock Stars, who released a compilation of Delta 5’s early years tracks called Singles & Sessions 1979-1981 in 2006.

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“Julz Sale’s contribution to punk, post-punk and music at large will be felt forever,” a post to Kill Rock Stars' social media read. “We are gutted by the news of her passing. She was a delight to know and will be missed immensely.

“We encourage each of you to listen to Delta 5 for the remainder of the week and/or month. RIP.”

Sale co-founded Delta 5 in Leeds during the early 1970s alongside Ros Allen and Bethan Peters, with the trio later recruiting Kelvin Knight and Alan Riggs of Dead Beats to complete the lineup.

The group emerged from the same art-school scene as fell post-punk aficionados the Mekons and Gang of Four, and went on to release their debut single, Mind Your Own Business, in 1979. 

Thanks to its slinky intro guitar lines and catchy lyrical hook, the track would go on to give the band indie acclaim and prove to be their most successful song.

Mind Your Own Business was followed up by the group’s second single, You, which in turn led to a successful tour of the United States and a deal with Charisma Records.

Advocates of the Rock Against Racism movement and celebrated for their female-heavy lineup and unorthodox dual-bassist instrumentation, Delta 5 then went on to release their debut album in 1981, titled See the Whirl.

Delta 5 shortly disbanded after See the Whirl was released, owing to a lukewarm critical and commercial reception of the record, though the band’s early singles continued to win over fans and soon developed a cult following during the post-Delta 5 years. After the split, Sale returned to work for Rough Trade for a number of years.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.