Midnight Oil, with Bones Hillman second from right
Bones Hillman, who joined Midnight Oil following the recording of its breakthrough album Diesel and Dust and who is described by the band as “the bassist with the beautiful voice,” died on Saturday after a battle with cancer, the group announced on social media.
Hillman, born Wayne Stevens in New Zealand, died at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the band said.
“He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humor, and our brilliant musical comrade,” the Oils said in their statement.
After playing in various Kiwi bands including The Swingers’, Hillman replaced Peter Gifford in Midnight Oil in 1987, and had played and sang backing vocals on every Oils album since 1990’s Blue Sky Mining.
He was part of the band’s reunion beginning in 2017, which produced the just-released mini-album The Makarrata Project, a collaboration with First Nation musicians. Midnight Oil recorded a second, full album alongside that, which is expected to be released next year.
“We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him,” surviving bandmembers Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey wrote.
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Sad to hear.