When Kevin Coyne was asked to take over the lead singing duties in the Doors by the head of Elektra Records after the death of Jim Morrison. He refused. "I didn't like the leather trousers" was the excuse he gave for not even going to the States to discuss it.
Kevin Coyne always did march to his own beat, in his life and his career. Like a lot of his United Kingdom contemporaries, he learned to love the Blues through American influences and started to play guitar and sing after hearing that music. But instead of following a conventional path of playing in bands and getting gigs in pubs, he was working as a psychiatric nurse and social worker counseling patients with mental illnesses.
It wasn't until 1968, long after his contemporaries, that he and his band Siren were signed to their first deal. But as you can tell by him turning down the Doors job, he was not ready to compromise what he did musically for the sake of success. You could say that it was almost in spite of himself that he became famous.
Unfortunately by the 1980s he stopped being able to cope with the pressures of the music business and developed a serious drinking problem. Following a nervous breakdown, he left the United Kingdom and moved to Germany where he lived until his death in December of 2004 of lung disease.
During his time in Germany he was probably at his most creative, constantly recording, touring, drawing, painting, and writing. Three of his last albums were released on the German Blues label Ruf Records and are still currently available in their catalogue.
Thomas Ruf, owner and founder of the label, commenting about watching Kevin record, said that he was always amazed at how he would come into the studio and be able to "create" a whole album in two days. His song lyrics were all improvised on the spot, and are amazing poems dealing with such subjects as the normally taboo mental health and treatment of mental health patients.