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He was born in Melbourne, Australia, on October 24, 1959, being the second of three children of John Stanton Howard and Lorraine Stuart Howard († 2003), two musicians dedicated to the folk genre, being the other two brothers, Harry (also a rock musician) and Angela, he studied at the Swinburne Free School.
As a child, he learned to play piano, hence, in the early 70s, he took only two guitar lessons, then bought a chord book and taught himself until he learned to write his own songs. in that decade in different bands of the Melbourne underground scene. At the age of 16 he writes what would later be his greatest creative success, the song “Shivers”.
In 1977 he formed the first of his bands that were admired, Young Charlatans, which recorded a few songs, among them, and for the first time, “Shivers” and made around 13 concerts before separating in 1978. A Later that year, Howard joins The Boys Next Door, composed by Nick Cave in voice, Mick Harvey on guitar, Phill Calvert on drums and Tracy Pew on bass. He had already met the band long ago and had become a great friend of them, who admired his style. That same year, The Boys Next Door releases “Shivers” in the same name, and the following year it does so in the album Door, Door. “Shivers” became a classic in Australia.
In 1980, the group leaves Melbourne and settles in London, England, where it changes its name to The Birthday Party. There they release two albums, Prayers On Fire (1981) and Junkyard (1982). However, over time, the problems and tensions in the band cause ruptures: in addition to the temporary separation of Tracy Pew and the expulsion of Phill Calvert, which made Mick Harvey leave the position of guitarist (next to Howard) the one of drummer, Howard and Cave did not take well by creative differences, being absent the first in the recording of the song “Mutiny In Heaven”, including in the last EP Mutiny !, for which it is replaced by Blixa Bargeld of Einstürzende Neubauten . The Birthday Party breaks in 1983, and Cave forms Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, along with Harvey and Bargeld.
In the mid-1980s, Howard, along with his brother Harry, joins Crime and the City Solution, an Australian band based in Berlin, where The Birthday Party had also moved before its break. The alignment of that group at that time, which was the third, also included the English Epic Soundtracks of Swell Maps and Mick Harvey, who was in parallel with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. In 1987, after leaving Crime and the City Solution, the Howard brothers and Epic Soundtracks formed These Immortal Souls, which lasted until the end of the 1990s.
Their collaborative works featured Nikki Sudden of Swell Maps and brother of Epic Soundtracks, and Lydia Lunch.
In 1995, Howard restores himself in his native Melbourne, Australia. He married Jane Usher in 1998.
After the separation of his last band These Immortal Souls, Howard becomes soloist, releasing only two albums, Teenage Snuff Film, 1999, and Pop Crimes, 2009. Both received good reviews, but no commercial success.
In the 2000s, Howard suffered from health problems. During most of his life he suffered from hepatitis C, being affected by the debilitating effects of the medications. He was also a heroin addict. At the end of 2008 a cancer of the liver was detected, from which he was waiting for a transplant, but that did not happen and that illness caused his death on December 30, 2009.
Nick Cave, upon learning of Howard’s death, declared on the Mute Records page: “This is very sad news, Rowland was the most special, gifted and inflexible guitarist in Australia, he was also a good friend. missed by many. “
Rowland S. Howard had an outstanding style of guitar playing. During his career, two guitars stood out: a copy of the Gibson Firebird guitar by Ibanez, as it was inspired by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, who uses this guitar prominently, and a Fender Jaguar (model CBS late 1960s or 1970s) ) that was bought in the late 1970s and used from then until the last years of his life.
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