Enough Bullshit! Let’s get to some real music.
I just found out Rowland S. Howard died of liver cancer on December 30, 2009, at age 50 (yikes).
He is best known for his work with The Birthday Party, one of the most powerful rock n roll bands to walk the earth.
Also present in the band was Nick Cave, whose long career tends to overshadow his not at all humble beginnings.
He had this to say about Rowland’s passing: “This is very sad news, Rowland was Australia’s most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. He was also a good friend. He will be missed by many.”
Back in the mid ’80’s The Birthday Party was my favorite band. The sheer ferocity of their music made everything else sound like teddy bears.
The great part was that no matter how noisy and malevolent they sounded, the undercurrent of musicality and humor made it even worse. They wrote about darkness as if it were funny, and committing mayhem a joyous occasion, which made them even scarier.
Nick’s delivery was nearly Shakespearian, and the band muscular and impeccably tasteful for all the ungodly noise they created.
The Birthday Party hired famed “Rat Fink” originator, and hot rod artist, “Big Daddy” Roth to do the cover of their third album Junkyard (pictured).
Roth was a devout Christian at the time and knew nothing of the band when he created the artwork. Afterwards when he heard the album he regretted his contribution.
Feel free to consult wikipedia for a Birthday Party bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birthday_Party_(band)
Nick Cave’s albums post Birthday Party are okay. Some are excellent, his first, From Her To Eternity (1983/4), is brilliant.
His covers album, Kicking Against The Pricks (1986) contains a transcendent version of “Long Black Veil”, as well as a few decent others.
His appearance, wearing a tuxedo, was a little too reminiscent of Bryan Ferry, and a couple of his early ’90’s albums sound a little too much like wannabe crooner for my taste. The Murder Ballads (1996), on the other hand is one of his best, but nothing on it even comes close to the power of “Deep In The Woods”, from the Bad Seed (1982)Ep.
Nick’s albums post Birthday Party are better than any of Lou Reed’s, post Velvet Underground, at least.
Check out the tunes. First one, “Big Jesus Trashcan” kills me every time, even after a few thousand plays. Actually all of it does.