Thursday, December 31, 2009

ROWLAND S. HOWARD 1959 - 2009

Yesterday (Dec. 30, 2009), Melbourne-born guitarist R. S. Howard died of liver cancer. He has been a member of Nick Cave's first band, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (and of Birthday Party, indeed), for which he wrote "Shivers". This song is the closest that Nick Cave ever got to Bryan Ferry, might be for the so called "slow beat"-rhythm. At least it was called like that in one of my first "learn to play the drums" - books. We used to call it "the Roxy Music", because Paul Thompson was a master of this syncopated bass drum rhythm. It goes like that

Here is the drum-chart, the drummer of BND very regularly leaves out the 16th-note on the bass-drum between 4 and 4&ahalf and sometimes between 4&ahalf and 1, and 2&ahalf and 3, respectively.

Later on, Rowland was a member of Crime & The City Solution (of Singer Simon Bonney), a band featured in the soundtrack of Wim Wenders' "Der Himmel über Berlin". Here is a song he wrote for their first Mini-LP "Just South of Heaven"

Rowland was featured on many other projects of that Aussie/Berlin/London/New York scene of those days, his guitar-playing heard, amongst others, on records by Lydia Lunch and Jeremy Gluck. Often Epic Soundtracks, brother of Nikki Sudden (the siblings being responsible for the British garage-band The Swell Maps), was playing the drums on those recordings (he had also been a member of CCS original line-up). Nikki is dead, (+2006) Epic is dead (+1997), and now Rowland also is. Epic has also been the drummer of THESE IMMORTAL SOULS, featuring Rowland, Genevieve McGuckin and Rowland's brother Harry. I saw them once in the late 80ies in Vienna, u4 club, one among about 50 who came there. Here is the name-giving song written by Rowland

Hopefully, his soul is immortal like those of Epic and Nikki!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I know that I am late, his birthday having been yesterday, December 29. Pau Casals i Defilló is the one we have to thank for bringing back the Suites for Violoncello by J. S. Bach (and maybe by his daughter, Anna Magdalena) to the cultural memory of Europe. He might have been playing 16ths like triplets, he might have mistaken (due to one manuscript) a Bb for a B, he might have played all of that in a somewhat unligated style. The recordings he did might stem from a past of poor recording quality. Be that as it may, here is his rendering of the first three parts of Suite #1 (prelude, allemande, courante), and I dig him as my hero for the way he plays that tunes:

Other famous Violonchello Players have done versions of that one later, in a different style, as, for example, lovely Jaqueline du Pré, lover of Barenboim and victim to MS (prelude & allemande only):

Then we have Rostopovich, doing the prelude (the other parts can be found on UTUBE; look them up on your own!). Due to restrictions on UTUBE; that one cannot be embedded. Therefore it is just a link:


Finally, we have that chinese prodigy, Yo-Yo Ma (would be a nice name for a rapper. so near to Yo, Man!), doing an up-to-date version:

In case you like things like that, there is also a version of the prelude for Suite #1 on electric bass guitar done by German bass player Martin Motnik, former member of "Gothic-Metal"- band Darkseed, having released a solo-Album with Greg Bisonette on drums (whew!!). But you will have to search for that one on your own, again.