Rowland S. Howard, 1959-2009

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 1:15 am by

Rowland S. Howard, the staggeringly inventive Melbourne guitarist and a founding member of The Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party, has passed away following a batter with liver cancer. While Howard’s playing with post-Birthday Party projects Crime & The CIty Solution and These Immortal Souls (the latter featuring his vocals) deserves a museum wing all by itself (not to mention his collaborations with Lydia Lunch and the late Nikki Sudden) , his work alongside Nick Cave, Phil Calvert, Mick Harvey and the late Tracy Pew is what cemented his reputation as one of the more influential guitarists of the last half century. My thoughts are with his family, pals and many colleagues around the world.

11 responses to “Rowland S. Howard, 1959-2009”

  1. James says:

    Hey 2009, fuck you.

  2. jeff jensen says:

    sad stuph…I came on here to read about jason bay and…well, this a shame…roland played like nobody else. rip

  3. chris brokaw says:

    very sad news. i’d known he was ill but this still hits hard. seeing These Immortal Souls in 1988 was a life-altering experience for me. a true genius and one of the best and most fully-formed guitarists ever….cb

  4. douglas kirkup says:

    astoundingly sad news – just been listening to his recent record ‘Pop Crimes’ -which is Great! – a real genius on guitar & as a song/lyric writer – Rowland, you will be greatly missed.

  5. Peter Garrot says:

    Thanks the the great Govt run Aussie Health care system, he couldn’t get a a liver transplant in time. Yay for Universal Health care! /sarcasm

  6. franziskore says:

    Descansa en paz Rowland, you inmortal soul.

    I used to get crazy hearing those Birthday Party records when I was a teenager, a real revelation, those guitars make me wanting to learn to play and set the world on fire. His ellegance and his personality was impressive. He is one of the reason because my guitar is a Fender Jaguar, another one is Chris Brokaw for sure ( take care! I have to send a funny picture of you and me at Tanned Tin ).

    Love from Granada, Spain.

  7. Casper filkies says:

    You must hear this of Rowland


  8. Jeff Campagna says:

    Trully sad news to wake up to. Made even weirder after deciding to watch Wings of Desire with Crime and the City Solution last night. This after the new DVD version sat sealed on my desk since it came out. Dont believe in anything like it but maybe there truly are angels over Berlin. Hopefully Cassiel is taking good care of him, his family and friends.

  9. mmjd says:

    Hey franziskore – I have to agree – those Birthday Party’s albums used to drive me wild too!
    Incredible loss. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

  10. Ricardo says:

    Truly a sad passing. His work in the Birthday Party with Nick Cave and beyond was truly otherworldly and his definitely in my top ten list of all time best guitarists. His work on the first These Immortal Souls album is timeless and his cover of Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra’s “Some Velvet Morning” with Lydia Lunch is arguable one of the best covers of all time. Screw baseball and sports (and I am huge sports lover)-artists like Rowland give you so much more.

  11. Nyx says:

    I am an American fan who listened to every project Rowland S. Howard was involved with. These Immortal Souls was my favorite band in college and I was hoping they’d come play in the US after 1992, but didn’t, most likely to the death of Epic Soundtracks. But I loved The Birthday Party, Crime and the City Solution, Shotgun Wedding, Honeymoon in Red, his work with Nikki Sudden, who also passed way too soon. It is so tragic to see such talent die too soon and sadly, American press didn’t even report it. I learned about it from my boyfriend last week when I mused that I wish Rowland S. Howard would put out another solo record since Teenage S.F. was one of the best albums I even listened to. He looked up the information for me and told me the sad news. You would think Rolling Stone would report such a thing, but no. Same with Lux Interior, it is like no one cares in America for these fantastic musicians.

    Rowland S. Howard played a guitar with true heart and soul. He was also great at knowing when to not play or not to overplay. His lyrics were amazing too. He is an influence on both me and my boyfriend, the music we make, my writing and any art we do. He will be missed dearly. I have to agree with the poster above me, “Some Velvet Morning” by Howard and Lunch is the best cover I have ever heard. There was magic in his work and such magic can never be repeated, so I am glad he got to record Pop Crimes and left the world with a lot of great art and music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *