Farewell, Rowland S. Howard

Rowland S. Howard, [via]

And the hits just keep on coming. Rowland S. Howard –patron saint of stabby, moody, stark, atmospheric, echo-soaked guitar perfection, and an indispensable member of the Birthday Party, the Boys Next Door, Crime & the City Solution, and These Immortal Souls– has succumbed to liver cancer, aged 50.

Howard remained a vibrant, prolific talent up to the very end. Longtime friend and bandmate Mick Harvey says:

Sometimes people are ready to go because they have been sick for a long time, but Rowland really wanted to live. Things were going well for him outside of his health and he wanted to take advantage of that and he was very disappointed that he wasn’t well enough to do so.

Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard, Birthday Party era, early 80s. Photographer unknown. [via]

It’s already New Year’s day here in Australasia, where Howard hailed from. Last night, in his honor (and on behalf of everyone else who has struggled more than usual this year) me and mine donned our blackest, pointiest, shiniest boots and kicked 2009 relentlessly in the poop chute until the fucker left the building. Soundtrack included “Shivers”, “Hamlet Pow, Pow, Pow”, “Release the Bats”, “Big Jesus Trashcan”, “Her Room of Lights”, “Pop Crimes”, and “Jennifer’s Veil” to name a few.

This is the journey
To the edge of the night…

Rest in peace.

9 Responses to “Farewell, Rowland S. Howard”

  1. noctopian Says:

    Goodbye and thanks, Rowland S.

    Good riddance, 2009.

  2. scarygirl Says:

    So, so sad.

  3. Andy. Says:

    Farewell Roland. Teenage Snuff Film was my soundtrack to many a night drinking alone, and for that I’m grateful. He was living in the same town as me and I never got the chance to see him play…

  4. Dave C Says:

    I just logged on to Coilhouse about two minutes ago and I can’t believe it. I was just listening to These Immortal Souls yesterday and now… this. So sad. Rowland was truly unique. Stunned.

  5. agent double oh-no Says:

    Never saw him live except on film. Living hard really seemed infused with his menacing, stammering sound. Liver cancer sounds awful.

    Incredible body of work. Seems a big loss to music. Sad way to close 2009 for Coilhouse.

    Great clips.

  6. Peter Mavro Says:

    I got a text from a friend that night. Next thing I remembered, I awoke and the vodka was gone. An inspection of my computer’s history revealed that I had managed to watch every youtube video in connection with that great man.

    A few years back, our friend Dimi Dero put together a compilation tribute CD to RSH. We tried our hand at a couple of These Immortal Souls numbers, in one instance with Alice Texas, and then with my own band Bellmer Dolls. What struck me when attemptingh to unravel the parts was just how intricate and involved the arrangements are, and how difficult it is to even come near Rowland’s sound and feel. He was a monster musician. For what it’s worth, I decided to post some links here. I love you Rowland- my favoritest guitar player ever.

    Marry Me (Lie! Lie!) – Alice Texas:
    http://www.bellmerdolls.com/Marry Me (Lie! Lie!).m4a

    Blood and Sand She Said) – Bellmer Dolls:

  7. Dj Dead Billy Says:

    So sad.

    On the upside, my original pressings of both the “Shivers” 45 and Boys Next Door’s “Door Door” LP are now going to be worth enough to put my kid through college. : /

  8. Mer Says:

    Hi, Peter. You were the first person I thought of when I heard the news of his passing. Thanks for sharing these tribute songs (but heads up– the first link is broken) and carrying the torch.

    Take care of yourself, mister.

  9. Justin Says:

    Hey Peter

    “‘Usually when people say to me that a new band sounds just like me, I feel that they have missed the point entirely,” he said.

    ”It’s not just about being noisy and aggressive, it’s a whole aesthetic, trying to meld genres into something new. So doing something that is based on that 30 years later is fairly redundant.

    ”They [young bands] should be looking for something that is of their own.”- Rowland Howard