rowland s howard – pop crimes

after seeing autoluminescent, the biographical film about rowland s howard directed by richard lowenstein, i felt great justification in never having bought a nick cave item of music. he comes across as a massive wanker. it was as though he only ever had a kind of pity for rowland, not genuine respect.

this was the last thing that rowland worked on. you can tell his head is still somewhere back in the 1980s. it was a sound that was his, which was heard in earlier bad seeds but particularly birthday party and boys next door. it shows the power of his actual contribution to what are cited as seminal bands, obviously all linked directly.

i will always have the most vivid memory, and kind of aching sorrow, of being in melbourne in october 2004 on a trip to the phillip island moto gp (bikes) and walking out of our own accommodation across the road from a st kilda mens’ hostel to see rowland emerging. he looked sick even then. i thought of nick ironically drinking some expensive whiskey on an inevitably sprawling british estate; opulence; reveling in his survival and prosperity. i know, it was a lot to read into a brief glimpse.

in thinking about it, there’s actually a greater likeness in kirin j callinan (not just the obvious) to rowland than to nick. it must be said that rowland was generally less abrasive than kirin seems to be, but it’s a clearer reference point to me now, re-listening to this album. it’s as though kirin’s the natural beneficiary. and maybe that’s why i so appreciate embracism as covered a few nights back – because it carries all the weight and glory of what informed its existence, but stands strong in its own identity.

i don’t know if it’s saying much, but that’s a remarkable legacy to have. to otherwise quiet wallflowers…

[such well-spoken yoof! also, ollie olsen, swoon…]


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