Wednesday, December 30, 2009

R.I.P. Rowland S. Howard

Sad news today: Rowland S. Howard, guitarist best known for his mangled, minimalist, brilliant guitar playing in the Nick Cave fronted The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party died this morning after battling liver cancer. The Birhtday Party and Howard's guitar playing have been a huge inspiration to me, and alongside Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Swans, and Velvet Underground, they stand as one of my favorite bands. Eerily coincidental, I was considering posting this album later today....

"Mutiny" was BP's last will and testament to the world after which they collapsed into a heap from the stress of poverty, drug abuse, and general lack of artistic agreement, the respective members going on to form the Bad Seeds and These Immortal Souls. This little album is so beautiful, deranged, and distinct I could write a book about it if I tried. Along with Henryk Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, and the Cure's "Pornography", the song "Jennifer's Veil" stands as one of the most harrowing, heart wrenching pieces of music committed to earthly existence. The lyrics to "Mutiny In Heaven" as well as Nick Cave's maniacal rantings and phrasing are some of the best written, and I have committed them to memory for 15 years, periodically singing them out loud when they come to mind because I think they are so brilliant.

If I were afforded a "way back" machine, one of the first things I would do is teleport myself back to see a Birthday Party show circa '80-'82. Fortunately, I have seen the Bad Seed's twice, and even had the totally off chance of meeting Nick Cave (which is a story unto itself). It is too bad I never had the fortune of seeing Rowland in action before his untimely demise today. Hope there is a Mutiny in Heaven soon!

Like the Ground Plan of Hell!!!

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