Rowland S. Howard (1959-2009)


Rowland S. Howard, former guitarist with Australian legends The Birthday Party, has died, aged fifty.

He joined the band in 1978, when they were known as The Boys Next Door and stayed until their split in 1983. (As has been documented numerous times elsewhere, lead singer Nick Cave and multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey went onto form Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). Howard collaborated with Cave and Lydia Lunch amongst many others. He was also a member of both Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls.

Though The Birthday Party achieved little commercial success in their time together, their influence has been unquestionably far reaching, with bands as diverse as The Horrors, LCD Soundsystem and My Bloody Valentine citing the band up as an influence. Certainly, their primal take on music remains utterly thrilling to this day, and albums like 1982’s Junkyard still sound like the could beat the likes of The Cramps and The Pop Group into retreat.

Howard had told an interviewer a few months ago that he was battling with liver cancer, and was hoping for a transplant.

For a detailed obituary, see here at The Age.

In tribute, 17 Seconds would like to extend sympathies to his family and friends and for your listening pleasure, two utterly thrilling Birthday Party tracks.

The Birthday Party -‘Mutiny In Heaven.’ mp3

The Birthday Party -‘Release the Bats.’ mp3

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