RIP Rowland S Howard & Mick Cocks

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RIP Rowland S Howard & Mick Cocks

Post by Flash Boy on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:17 am

I've been away for a week away from technology to find that two of my favorite guitarists have passed away both from liver cancer, not often to i tear up over musicians that i admire and internalize that have stepped over the ledge but this was the exception. I write this still with a heavy heart.

In many ways on the Australian musical landscape Rose Tattoo and the Birthday Party were polar opposites, Rose Tattoo the scruffy working class hyper boogie merchants from inner city Sydney and the Birthday Party the arty private school shadowy types based in the kinkier side of Melbourne. But if you look closer you'll find a common ground. Midnight Ramblers who celebrated violence and the darker side of human existence not because they approved but because it was there, both gangs of laschivious sleaze and wild eyed menace. Bands that both belong in a handful or two of genuinely thrilling and authentically dangerous rock n' roll bands, and i don't mean dangerous like some Sunset Strip rock cliche sold to you by Crue like punching hookers or doing lines with Charlie Sheen. No no no, these guys problems ran deeper than that........

Rowland S Howard and Mick Cocks were the two quiet guitarists behind these mayhemic bands of the Birthday Party and Rose Tattoo respectively, of course they were always going to be quiet compared to their flamboyant frontmen and the much more celebrated Nick Cave and Angry Anderson. They both came on like the stain of Keith Richards with their cropped dyed black hair and dangling cigarette haunched over a low slung guitar. A cynic may label them a cliche but archetype is the more appropriate word.

Rowland on guitar was the master of the shadowy slashing reverb, gothic spaghetti western licks like that of Duane Eddy and Link Wray but also hints of formative influences like Glen Buxton (Alice Cooper Group) and Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music). A trusty Fender Jag being his chosen tool of trade. While his sidekick in his Birthday Party daze Nick Cave went on to be much more celebrated, Rowlands mass influence runs deep forever bubbling under the surface. Whenever you you see a guitarist with wayward black hair and a Fender Jag (Hello Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Horrors!) that's Rowland's influence working away. Rowland's guitar shards not stopping there amongst the Indie darling of today, but also corrupting everyone from Big Black to the Jesus & Mary Chain, Mudhoney to the Cocteau Twins etc. And not to mention a highway lengths worth of burnt out and forgotten Australian bands, The Drones and the Beasts Of Bourbon being the most notable car crashes. Two awe inspiring solo records and collaborations with Nikki Sudden, Lydia Lunch, Jeremy Gluck, Crime & The City Solution and own band These Immortal Souls and he leaves behind a staggering back catalogue of work. Rowland is my favourite guitarist no doubt and a symbol of the Melbourne i love, from Brunswick St to St Kilda Rd.....long black coat and infinite cool. I thank god that i saw him play his last gig in October, the album launch for his new album Pop Crimes and will always cherish that show........

Rowland is on the screen left smoking...........



Rowland's finest moment on guitar......








Mick Cocks was the relentless guitar drive behind Rose Tattoo, a fierce and mean rhythm guitarist that even gave Malcolm Young a run for his money (Don't believe me, check out "Remedy"). He formed one of the greatest guitar duos ever and also one the most unique with Pete Wells (RIP), unique in that Wells was solely a slide guitarist playing it as lead while Mick was rhythm and sometimes lead on the more conventional guitar. A leader of a charmed rock n' roll life, the right hand drinking buddy of Bon Scott, got a taste of the Hollywood hard rock excess of the 80's with Heaven and offered Izzy Stradlin's job in Guns N' Roses after he left. He was as authentic and cool as they come like his fellow Rose Tattoo bandmates Pete Wells, Ian Rilen and Lobby Lloyde who have all sadly succombed to cancer over the last few years............

Mean rhythm, Cocksy's finest moment........



Mick is the one with the cigarette........


Flash Boy

Posts : 121
Join date : 2009-05-28
Age : 29
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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Re: RIP Rowland S Howard & Mick Cocks

Post by Shiney on Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:31 pm



You know my feelings on BIRTHDAY PARTY and ROSE TATTOO....

Both great great bands!!!

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