I thought I'd write a little on the passing of Rowland Howard. I have no claims on him then or now, many others being much closer and they spoke eloquently at his funeral. I just shared the times occasionally.
Saw the Boys next Door before he joined and then afterwards. "Door Door" is an album thats just like that. Pre Rowland on side one and post on the other. He played a Firebird , a real plank and I think he got that great sound with an MXR Blue Box octave divider. My favourite song was "the hairshirt" with his amazing solo. I haven't heard it for many years now. Saw the Birthday party a lot , and played with them , and talked to him a few times through that period. He was playing a Jaguar. In the "prayers on fire" days it was great when he sang his songs in the band. “The Guilt Parade” was always great. He smoked very dramatically and leant into his amp in a peculiar way all poised and pivoted on one leg, guitar swinging like a pendant. Great hair. Shared a squat with him for a while in posh West Hampstead. Never saw him. Lived like the actor John Barrymore, high up in the garrett. Was into scarves and coats and pyjamas. I went up to the garret and he was smoking and playing his jaguar without an amp. He was talking about Jim Thompson, that was in 1983, when Jims books were just coming out again. He read a lot, I gathered.
Saw and played with Crime a lot and then These Immortal Souls. Remember him and Epic going off to see Johnny Thunders play at the Marquee. Nobody else was talking about Johnny then.
Passed him in the street occasionally. Always a smile. Not a real sociable fellow. I mean he'd be out at his gigs and would not hang around afterwards. Straight back to the garrett. Found him easy to talk to. He did acoustic gigs, I thought he was best as an electric guitarist. He sounded great loud and wailing. Electrified. Acoustic is too intimate, I don't think he was into that intimate vibe, not on a stage, I understood that.
Like many of his generation he carried a story with him wherever he was. Uptight and given to drama.
He came from Nunawading. There was a bunch of them, "the Nuna boys" Comically weird gang of outsiders. Actually the NUNA BOYS were more his younger brother Harrys thing. Him and his mates. Rowland had gone on ahead.
The funeral for Rowland was held on a Thursday at a church in Grey street st Kilda. I’d known there was a soup kitchen there and also, once upon a time an Op Shop, but never a church. It turned out to be quite a big Catholic church. The service had been made “public” at some point and all over the social networks a week away from the actual proceedings. A big crowd gathered outside in the hot sun, on the street and a bouncer let people in in an orderly way. Quite a few hundred people. Eulogies were given by Genevieve McGuckin who had spent most of her adult life with Rowland, then Jane Usher , who had been married to him in the 90s, then her son (and his step son) Tom also spoke , then Harry Howard and Mick Harvey, Pierre Sutcliffe read some words from Nick Cave, Conrad Standish ,Paul Goldman (who also read some words from fellow film maker Andrew Dominick) , finally his most recent partner, Bianca Murray spoke. Rowlands screaming guitar filled the church as the coffin was carried out.
People gathered on the steps for a while. A quite amazing crowd. Dawn Cave and Nancy Pew and Rowlands father Jock being the only members of the preceding generation I could note, the rest were just us, his peers and contemporaries - not so used to these affairs and trying to behave appropriately. The "public" nature of the funeral gave it an oddly self conscious lag. In general, people worked through it and it wasn't too hyped. It was real enough to anchor everybody.
There was a wake at the St Kilda Bowling Club, directly across the road from the Seaview Ballroom. That was the Beat Club where everybody had played. The only place thats ever mentioned. Everybody walked down from the church.
The wake was a gathering of people who'd shared some intense moments in that most intense and speedy of times, their youth. A time when they were making themselves up. Some got away from the scene and the times, others never moved far. A few rock n roll chumps were there to claim the body for their corny and dopey cause. Everybody's got to live. The rest were the original genius audience of the Boys next Door and the Birthday Party and many of their rivals from those days too. People I’d been incredibly intimidated by all those years ago, mostly these being the women. The men , when they had been boys, were all created for or by the women. Then they all ran off as far as they could, full of juice they’d been gifted with. I spoke to many people who were phantoms and it was as if it was the first time we’d ever spoken. People I’d been stupidly competitive with and realised I probably had more in common with now than ever before. Talked quite easily with some it was energising for days. It was a class reunion. In all sorts of sense of the word class. It was also a kind of school I’d been to.
Like many funerals, it shocks the living into life, for a moment.
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release