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There ain't no room for these cheap regrets (except for when a bogan band makes your angst an anthem)
December 30, 2009 3:54 AM   Subscribe

Rowland S. Howard was the guitarist for The Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party. He released his second solo cd, "Pop Crimes" in October this year, ten years after his debut solo effort. He died today.
posted by h00py (55 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The sound of him just epitomises what I loved when I was young and top 40 pap just didn't do it for me. I discovered 4ZZZ when I was 13 and listened to it all the time but they never back announced and I was too whatever to try and find out what this amazing music was. I later found out (disturbingly later but that's not for revealing now) that a lot of it was this dude combined with Nick Cave. I just heard the single from Pop Crimes on the radio the other day and they said he'd been sick.

RIP Rowland.
posted by h00py at 4:00 AM on December 30, 2009


Only 50. Very sad.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:20 AM on December 30, 2009


I don't know the Birthday Party very well, but those two albums he did with Lydia Lunch were fucking incredible.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:27 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


fuckin' christ, just too much death this year.

goodbye Rowland; immortal soul still burning.

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posted by lapolla at 4:32 AM on December 30, 2009


Oh ... shit.
posted by a non e mouse at 4:48 AM on December 30, 2009


Shivers
posted by a non e mouse at 4:51 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by pernoctalian at 5:15 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by elephantday at 5:19 AM on December 30, 2009


Man. Bummer.

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posted by humannaire at 5:20 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by mds35 at 5:38 AM on December 30, 2009


Looked like a sickly demon, and played like a sickly demon. My favorite performance is one of his earliest, "Catholic Skin", from Boys Next Door. It opens with a cathedral of echo that anticipates U2 and the like, becomes syncopated like jazz with metal distortion, then transforms into a violin tone as it flies apart. Imagine Satan loosing a fiddle contest.
posted by bendybendy at 5:39 AM on December 30, 2009


As if the Birthday Party wasn't enough, that fantastically odd and dramatic stuff he did with Nikki Sudden/Epic Soundtracks/These Immortal Souls during the late 80s is also pretty damn excellent. Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc, the collection he did with Nikki Sudden, is great.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Only 50.

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posted by Sailormom at 6:33 AM on December 30, 2009


ah, crap. i really liked shotgun wedding with lydia lunch, too.
posted by msconduct at 6:37 AM on December 30, 2009


one of my favourite guitarists, from one of my favourite bands dies on my birthday...

time to release the bats
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 6:49 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by hawthorne at 6:59 AM on December 30, 2009


:(
posted by Monkeymoo at 7:11 AM on December 30, 2009



posted by Smart Dalek at 7:45 AM on December 30, 2009


Shit - that sucks. I finally got around to loading Crime and the City Solution and the Jacobites stuff onto my MP3 over the Summer and fell in love with those records all over again after not having listened to them in years.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:59 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by bayliss at 8:01 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:14 AM on December 30, 2009


The Birthday Party and These Immortal Souls were part of the soundtrack to my teens and twenties. There's a mutiny in heaven, all right. R.I.P.
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posted by porn in the woods at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2009


Well, shit.
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posted by Heretic at 8:31 AM on December 30, 2009


=(

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posted by perilous at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by hellbient at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2009


I first encountered his music through the albums he did with Lydia Lunch. What a phenomental guitarist with a very distinctive style. It's a shame that he's passed away but I'm glad that he's left behind him such a wealth of great stuff.
posted by Kattullus at 8:52 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by echolalia67 at 9:09 AM on December 30, 2009


Sorry to hear about this. The man could infuse the crudest rock and roll with style. I'm going to have to dig out some of the Birthday Party stuff I have and give it a fresh listen.


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posted by metagnathous at 9:23 AM on December 30, 2009


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posted by joe lisboa at 10:34 AM on December 30, 2009


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I harbor an irrational and indefensible loathing for Nick Cave, but DANN I love the sound of The Birthday Party. Fifty is WAY too young.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:07 AM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


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posted by susanbeeswax at 11:35 AM on December 30, 2009


Seems the party is over.

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posted by ersatz at 11:42 AM on December 30, 2009


He released his second solo cd, "Pop Crimes" in October this year

I remember reading in the Melbourne street press at the time that the album was on track for nomination for an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) award for "best new artist" or some equally silly category. Rowland commented in the interview that he'd recently played at some music festival with the latest swag of hipster bands, and none of the members of one of them (I think it was TV on the Radio) didn't have the faintest clue who he was.

I finally got around to loading Crime and the City Solution

The last place I lived - a dilapidated grand Victorian-era house converted into a few apartments - turned out to be directly above Bronwyn Adams & Simon Bonney. Simon was incredibly reclusive, but Bronwyn was the exact opposite, so she & I used to hang out & chat all the time. That's only a few minutes walk from where I am now; I wonder if she knows yet? I assume so; she was close to Rowland's sister & used to talk about him a bit. I don't think I should be the one to bring the news.

Here's one of my favourites; apt in an unanticipated way.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:48 PM on December 30, 2009


I wish the artists of my generation-- my exact contemporaries in age-- would stop dying. It's far too early for that.

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posted by jokeefe at 12:48 PM on December 30, 2009


none of the members of one of them (I think it was TV on the Radio) didn't have had the faintest clue who he was.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:53 PM on December 30, 2009


sucks
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posted by brevator at 12:57 PM on December 30, 2009


I saw Rowland play at the North Melbourne Town Hall pub four or five times in 2000/2001. Material from his recently released first solo album Teenage Snuff Film. The gigs were low key with Rowland being very workman-like, just performing his songs without any rockstar hubris. Playing solo to an audience that was never much more than thirty people in an intimate little room between the bar and the back courtyard. Entry was free. I felt privileged at the time and do so even more today.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 1:29 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


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posted by St. Sorryass at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2009


Dear Rowland.

Mum's going to be really sad when she hears that you have died. I don't have the heart to ring her and tell her yet. And to die on Richard's birthday, on the day he would have turned 50, is... well.... Your death on any day is fuckin' sorrowful.

Somewhere in Mum's stuff is (I hope) the tape you and Richard made in the early 70's of the songs you wrote together when you were 14 or 15 years old. You guys called that tape 'Ric & Rol Music' which was pretty clever.

I remember how you used to come and stay with us. We were the first family you used to stay overnight with. You were so thin and white, even then. Fragile. Quiet. Until you got your hands on the guitars that is. Then something seem to make you big, and you would smile.

I know Richard's death shook you up badly. You lost your best friend. I remember at Richard's funeral how you came up to Mum and gave her a hug, and hugging wasn't your thing. I remember too how you rang up a week later, offering to come around and give back Richard's electric guitars. Mum said, "no Rowland, you keep them". I'm glad she did. I also remember how my sister saw you play many years later and how you recognised her in the audience even though you hadn't seen her since she was nine. And how you held up your guitar and said "I still play with Richard." That was really nice. I smiled and cried when sis told me that.

Dear Rowland. I'm so glad you followed through with music in your life. I'm not sure if I believe in life/consciousness after death. But I want to. I want to believe that there are punk clubs in the afterworld playing Ric & Rol music.

K.x



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posted by Kerasia at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2009 [29 favorites]


Ah, crap. That whole gang of Crime & the City Solution, Birthday Party, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Swell Maps... they were formative for me. I'll definitely bust out Rowland Around in that Stuff tonight.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:04 PM on December 30, 2009


Oh fuck. I'm sick of waking up to shit like this on Metafilter.

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posted by Jimbob at 3:17 PM on December 30, 2009


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(I've had Shotgun Wedding in my head all day since first reading this...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:44 PM on December 30, 2009


Oh fuck. I'm sick of waking up to shit like this on Metafilter.

I'm normally pretty chilled and together. But today was the first time I have spontaneously burst into sobbing after logging on to metafilter. I had to switch off my monitor and walk around the house for awhile with my head in my hands.

From Rowland's MySpace general info...
Influences: Hanging out with girls, smoking, fraternizing with girls, talking to girls on the telephone while smoking, smoking with girls.

heh.
posted by Kerasia at 4:05 PM on December 30, 2009


Article from The Age (Melbourne paper)
posted by Kerasia at 4:36 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just started listening to Shotgun Wedding again a few weeks ago because I've been playing electric guitar lately, and realized that I want to sound just like the guitar on that album.

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posted by smartyboots at 4:37 PM on December 30, 2009


Dear Rowland.

Why doesn't this have a bazillion favorites? Why isn't it sidebarred?
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want to believe that there are punk clubs is the Punter's Club in the afterworld playing Ric & Rol music.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:45 PM on December 30, 2009


The Punter's is long gone. And Linda Gebar is dead too.

I hadn't noticed the title yesterday, but, yeah, you can knock the Jets.
posted by hawthorne at 4:49 AM on December 31, 2009


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posted by galaksit at 9:12 AM on December 31, 2009


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posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 4:04 PM on December 31, 2009


Hero to the Australian underground - obituary in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

The funeral service - a public one, according to the obituary - will be held at the Sacred Heart Church in Grey St, St Kilda at 3pm today (Thursday 7th).
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2010


Much appreciation to UbuRoivas for that heads up.
posted by Kerasia at 1:55 AM on January 7, 2010


pity i couldn't make it there. best i could do was a window view to st kilda at the time of the ceremony, listening to These Immortal Souls: I'm Never Gonna Die Again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:00 AM on January 7, 2010


Farewell for 'ridiculous, singular, charismatic individual'
In a manner befitting a rock star, Sacred Heart reverberated with the feedback-drenched sound of Howard's song Autoluminescent, from his first solo album, a refrain of which was also played as his coffin was carried out.

Fans of Howard's distinctive guitar style will be pleased to know that he died with a plectrum in his pocket.
posted by Kerasia at 2:11 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by The pets.com Mascot at 11:05 AM on January 13, 2010


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