Rowland S. Howard

Australian guitar innovator Rowland S. Howard — a member of Nick Cave’s early ’80s postpunk act The Birthday Party, a guitarist for Crime and the City Solution and onetime Lydia Lunch collaborator — died Wednesday in Melbourne from liver cancer, according to The Age newspaper. He was 50.

Known for his ragged, reverb-drenched guitar playing, Howard released his second solo album, Pop Crimes, to great acclaim earlier this year, and toured his homeland.

Mick Harvey, a Birthday Party bandmate who played in Cave’s Bad Seeds until this past January, played drums on Howard’s album, and told The Age, “Sometimes people are ready to go because they have been sick for a long time, but Rowland really wanted to live.”

Cave, in a statement through Mute Records, said: “This is very sad news. Rowland was Australia’s most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. He was also a good friend. He will be missed by many.”

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