A House Less Crowded
March 26 saw the tragic death by suicide of drummer Paul Hester, Melbourne-born member of seminal NZ bands Split Enz and Crowded House. “We all knew him as an effervescent, vivacious fireball of talent,” said soul singer Renee Geyer, a neighbour of Hester’s in the Melbourne suburb of Elwood where he died. Tributes flowed in from papers all over the world. NY Times: “Mr. Hester, usually the joker of the group, surprised many listeners with Italian Plastic, a delicate and melodic song he wrote for the band’s 1991 album, Woodface.” SMH: “In Crowded House, [Hester’s] clown role made him the ideal foil for the more tightly wound Finn and helped cement the band’s reputation as not just one of the most successful but most entertaining ever from Australia and NZ, with international hits such as Don’t Dream It’s Over and Weather with You.” Hester was due to join the Neil and Tim Finn, and Nick Seymour for a series of Crowded House reunion gigs at the Royal Albert Hall over March and April. In an emotional gesture, the three bandmates placed one of Hester’s signature hats on the snare drum of an empty kit, which stood centre stage throughout each concert.
Paul Hester: 8 January 1959 – 26 March 2005