[WATCH] AUTOLUMINESCENT promises a fascinating account of the life & music of Rowland S. Howard

Rowland S. Howard was a pivotal figure on the Australian punk and post-punk music scene, chiefly as the gaunt, fiery and gifted guitarist for the seminal late ’70s/early ’80s group The Birthday Party, which helped Nick Cave on his way to stardom and influenced generations of musicians. Over a career fraught with long intermissions, presumably caused by heroin addiction, Howard continued to create great music – whether it was as These Immortal Souls, collaborating with Lydia Lunch, or as a solo artist in his later years. Australian filmmakers Lynn-Maree Milburn and Richard Lowenstein have made a documentary, Autoluminescent, which chronicles the life and music of Howard and promises to be a fascinating account of an artist who lived without compromise. The film features recent and archival interviews with Howard, as well as with collaborators, peers and artists who were influenced by his music, including Nick Cave, Mick Harvey (the Bad Seeds), Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Henry Rollins, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and more. The film was well received in Australia last year, and New Zealand audiences can check it out in April when it screens as part of the World Cinema Showcase, which I am very much looking forward to.

Check out the World Cinema Showcase screening dates for Autoluminescent below.

Auckland – Rialto Newmarket
Mon 9 April, 8.20 pm
Tue 10 April, 1.50 pm

Wellington – Paramount
Tue 17 April, 8.45 pm
Sun 22 April, 7.45 pm

Dunedin – Regent Theatre
Mon 30 April, 8.30 pm
Wed 2 May, 4.15 pm

Christchurch – Hollywood
Mon 7 May, 2.15 pm
Wed 9 May, 8.30 pm

Watch the trailer for Autoluminescent below.

Watch two clips from Autoluminescent below.

Watch the music video for The Boys Next Door’s biggest single, ‘Shivers’, below. The song was originally written by Howard at the age of 16 when he was in The Young Charlatans. It was banned by radio stations because of its “contemplating suicide” lyric.

In 1980, The Boys Next Door changed their name to The Birthday Party and moved to London. Watch The Birthday Party’s music video for ‘Nick the Stripper’ below, taken from their 1981 album Prayers On Fire.

The Birthday Party once again relocated to West Berlin in 1982. Watch them perform the title track from 1982’s Junkyard live on German television below.

The Birthday Party and Lydia Lunch collaborated on the project Honeymoon In Red in late ’82, which was later released as a Lydia Lunch album in ’87 after Nick Cave and Mick Harvey insisted that their names not appear on the release since they had no hand in the remix and overdubbing. Listen to the album track ‘Dead in the Head’ below, which features Howard and Cave.

Watch a rare interview with Honeymoon In Red collaborators Rowland Howard and Lydia Lunch below.

Following the 1983 break-up of The Birthday Party, Cave formed the Bad Seeds as his backing band and went on to great success as a singer-songwriter. Meanwhile, Howard formed These Immortal Souls, who released their debut LP Get Lost, (Don’t Lie!) in ’87. Watch the music video for their first single, ‘Marry Me (Lie! Lie!)’, below

Listen to ‘You Can’t Unring a Bell’ below, which was These Immortal Souls’ contribution to the 1994 Tom Waits tribute LP Step Right Up.

Following the 1997 death of These Immortal Souls’ drummer Kevin Godfrey (a.k.a. Epic Soundtracks), Howard became a solo artist, releasing the well-received Teenage Snuff Film in 1999. Watch Howard perform ‘She Cried’ live on Australian TV show Studio 22 below, featuring Mick Harvey on drums.

Howard made a brief cameo as a guitarist in a vampire club band in the 2002 film Queen of the Damned. Watch an extended clip of that scene below.

Howard’s final album, Pop Crimes, was released two months before his death in late 2009. Watch a live performance of ‘Golden Age of Bloodshed’ from that album below.

1 comment

1 ping

  1. Eat the Knife

    I live in the US and absolutely cannot wait to see this documentary.  I find Rowland to be one of the most intriguing musicians of our time, and I hope that his profile continues to increase so that his art and aesthetic can be passed on for generations to come.  Artists of his kind do not come along very often.


    […] [WATCH] AUTOLUMINESCENT promises a fascinating account of the life & music of Rowland S. Howard […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>