Kevin Walker was born on Dec. 18, 1958, in County Durham, in the northeast of England, the only child of Ronald Walker, a woodworker, and Mary (Glen) Walker, a bookkeeper. He spent his early years in Chester-le-Street, a town near Newcastle, and acquired his nickname — a term referring to the people and accent of the Newcastle area — while attending Sir Herbert Leon Academy in Bletchley after the family moved to southeast England.
Mr. Walker was an avid guitarist as a youth, but he had never played in a band until he moved to London in 1979 after graduation to study architecture. He answered an advertisement in Melody Maker, the influential British magazine, posted by the singer Jaz Coleman, who was looking to start a band with the drummer Paul Ferguson.
“It looked rather serious, fanatical,” Mr. Walker said in a 1984 interview. “It clicked with me.” Killing Joke released its first EP, “Almost Red,” in December 1979.
Despite shifting lineups and multiple hiatuses, Killing Joke continued to record for nearly four decades. During those breaks from the band in the 1990s, Mr. Walker formed the band Murder Inc. with Chris Connelly, the lead singer of Revolting Cocks, along with other members of Killing Joke but without Mr. Coleman, and the Damage Manual, featuring Mr. Connelly along with Martin Atkins and Jah Wobble from Public Image Ltd.
At a party after a Killing Joke concert at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit in 1989, Mr. Walker met Ginny Kiraly, a college student and model. The two married six months later. After the birth of their son, Atticus, in 1992, the family settled in suburban Detroit, where they stayed until the mid-2000s, when Mr. Walker returned to England to care for his ailing father and the couple split. They divorced in 2012.