Rowland S Howard Has Died in Melbourne

Rowland S. Howard, 1959-2009 (Photo: Robert Carbone)

Rowland S Howard Loses Battle With Cancer

Wednesday, December 30 2009 at 04:00 PM.
Australia’s music scene has lost a true icon with the reported passing of Rowland S Howard today (December 30).  

While no official statement has been made by management, close friends of the guitarist have confirmed reports that he lost his ongoing battle with liver cancer at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital this morning.

 Howard, 50, was a former member of the Young Charlatans, The Boys Next Door (who later morphed into The Birthday Party) and These Immortal Souls. He penned the underground hit ‘Shivers’ for The Boys Next Door and memorably dueted with Lydia Lunch on Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Some Velvet Morning’.  

In 1999, Howard released his debut solo album, Teenage Snuff Film, which quickly became a cult classic. Its long-awaited follow-up Pop Crimes was released in October this year, sparking a run of well-received shows and garnering widespread critical acclaim (it topped M+N’s annual Critics Poll earlier this month).  

Howard’s ongoing battles with liver cancer recently forced the cancellation of several shows including a spot on the Homebake and Summer Tones bills.  

In his final interview with M+N, Howard said he was enjoying the renewed interest in his career. “It’s very gratifying,” he said. “When I play live, nobody calls out for ‘Shivers’ any more, because they are too young to have any kind of historical attachment to it … It’s peculiar in a way, it just seemed to happen on its own accord. And it’s great, because no longer do I look out from the stage and just see a bunch of ageing ex-junkies.”  Go to article  

Rowland S. Howard, Princes Bandroom, St. Kilda, 29 Oct 2009 (Photo: John Raptis)

Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Rowland S. Howard.

Rowland S. Howard Obituaries:

Articles on Rowland S. Howard (pending…)

Rowland Fansites & Tributes:  

  • Immaculate Heart  – (poem, photos)
  • A Pictorial Tribute  – (images by Robert Carbone, Mess + Noise, 7 Jan 2010)
  • Outta the Black  –  (fansite dedicated to Rowland S. Howard)
  • Nick Cave Forum’s tribute to Rowland S. Howard  – (2007)

  • NOTE: We invite guests to pay their respects in the comments section. If you have a tribute post, a favorite interview, article, or quote, feel free to share it. Thank you.  Updated 7 Jan 2010.

    41 thoughts on “Rowland S Howard Has Died in Melbourne

    1. hey there, i’m really excited to see Mick and co at Glasto,also I like your blog, and hopefully will check updates soon.Thanks!

    2. I haven’t written anything in response of this until now. I really don’t know what to write. Of course I know who he was, but that’s almost about it, I haven’t listened to any of his music (not even tbp). In any case it’s sad, really sad when someone dies at that age.

      • Just got this sad news. Rowland’s musicianship and lyrics can be described with no less term than brilliant. His contribution was massive and he was underrated most of his career. We all know he is in part why Nick is who he is as a musician and performer today. Peace to his soul.


      In the interest of consolidation, here is a list for you. I’ll update it as I find stuff and you guys can keep adding your own site links. The purpose is to reach as many people as possible so feel free to distribute widely.

      (I can’t find where I got these so if anyone knows, please post?)

      Rowland S. Howard – The Forum – London (England) (28.09.2007)

      Roland S. Howard – Live at Corner Hotel – Melbourne (Australia) (17.04.1999)


      All Tomorrow’s Parties, Sydney, 17 Jan 2009

      Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard 26.11.1991 Ghent (Shotgun Wedding)


      ‘Rowland live February 1st 1997 at public bar, Melbourne. Track 3/8 featuring Warren Ellis’

      These Immortal Souls live March 21st 1988 at I-Beam, San Francisco

      These Immortal Souls’ cover of Tom Waits’ “You Can’t Unring A Bell” from 1994.



    4. Service and Wake info

      Thursday, 7 January 2009
      Everything will be open to the public.

      Service starts at 3.00pm
      Wake starts at 5.00pm

      The Sacred Heart Mission
      87 Grey Street
      St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia
      (03) 9537 1166

      St Kilda Bowling Club
      66 Fitzroy St
      St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia
      (03) 9537 0370

      JP Shilo will perform “Sleep”, and the song “Autoluminescent” will be featured. Rowland’s sister, Angela Howard, will read the eulogy written by Angela, Genevieve McGuckin and Harry Howard.

      Genevieve hopes to see a queue for Rowland down Grey Street.

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