There’s a number of reports this morning from the Australian news media that Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens passed away yesterday at the age of 48.
Both in partnership with Robert Forster, and on a handful of solo recordings, McLennan was a fantastic songwriter, performer and character to hang out with. I had the privilege of meeting him a handful of times over the years and he always struck me as humble, generous and a world-class wit. Though he penned a number of classics as a member of the Go-Betweens, “Cattle & Cane” and “Apology Accepted” amongst them, some of his solo works were just as good, 1991’s ‘Watershed’ and ’97’s ‘In Your Bright Ray’ (with Died Pretty’s Brett Myers on guitar) in particular.
Though hardly a household name, I can’t really sum up for you how pivotal a figure McLennan was other than saying if you had even a passing interest in smart, funny, heartfelt rock’n’roll over the past quarter century, Grant played a considerable role in shaping a more interesting creative environment. There’s a large stack of records on the Rough Trade, Postcard, Merge and Matador labels that might’ve turned out differently — or never seen the light of day — had he and Forster not teamed up. He’ll be missed. Like crazy.