As reported by Pitchfork, Conway Savage—the longtime pianist and backup singer for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds—has died. The news was confirmed by a statement on Cave’s website, which referred to Savage as the “anarchic thread that ran through the band’s live performances” and noted that he was “much loved by everyone, band members and fans alike.” Pitchfork says Savage died as a result of a brain tumor that he had undergone surgery to remove last year. Savage was 58.
Born in Australia in 1960, Savage began playing piano as a teenager after discovering that it was a good way to relax while hanging out in the pubs that his family owned. He joined up with various post-punk and alternative bands over the years, occasionally with songwriter Jim White, including Happy Orphans, The Feral Dinosaurs, Dust On The Bible, and Dave Last And The Legendary Boy Kings.
In 1990, Savage toured with Nick Cave’s backing band The Bad Seeds on piano and backing vocals. He then appeared on multiple Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds albums, specifically Let Love In, Murder Ballads, Henry’s Dream, The Boatman’s Call, No More Shall We Part, and the Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus double album. In 2000, Savage released Nothing Broken, his first solo album, with a second album (Wrong Man’s Hands) coming in 2004, a live album in 2008, and an EP (Pussy’s Bow) with Amanda Fox and Robert Tickner in 2010.
The full statement from Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds is below.
Our beloved Conway passed away on Sunday evening. A member of Bad Seeds for nearly thirty years, Conway was the anarchic thread that ran through the band’s live performances. He was much loved by everyone, band members and fans alike. Irascible, funny, terrifying, sentimental, warm-hearted, gentle, acerbic, honest, genuine – he was all of these things and quite literally “had the gift of a golden voice,” high and sweet and drenched in soul. On a drunken night, at four in the morning, in a hotel bar in Cologne, Conway sat at the piano and sang Streets of Laredo to us, in his sweet, melancholy style and stopped the world for a moment. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Goodbye Conway, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Love, Nick and the Bad Seeds.