Conway Savage, pianist of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, has passed away at the age of 58, as confirmed by Rolling Stone. Conway spent over 25 years with the band, spanning a period of time that ended with him being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017. It has now been disclosed that the effects of the then un-diagnosed brain tumor are what caused him to miss the 2016 Skeleton Tree tour. While there was no doubt that Savage would not live for too long after his diagnosis, the news of his passing is still a crushing loss to those who knew him and the music world.
Savage was born in Victoria, Australia, where he began playing piano in his early teens. As his skills progressed, he began playing with several area bands such as Dust on the Bible, and the country music band Feral Dinosaurs. When he was paired off with Nick Cave, it is then that an undeniable chemistry took over and led to their more than quarter century long creative alliance.
Savage joined Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in 1990, per Pitchfork, shortly after Cave had released the album The Good Son. In all, Savage appeared on seven Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds albums, beginning with Henry’s Dreams and ending with Push The Sky Away in 2013. Savage was never tied down to just working on projects with Cave, taking on a wide array of collaborative projects and releasing multiple solo albums throughout his storied career. Pussy Bow with Amanda Fox and Robert Tickner will always remain a classic release of his.
Rest In Peace Conway Savage— The Avalanches (@TheAvalanches) September 3, 2018
Upon receiving the news that Savage had passed, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released a statement on their website that is lovely, respectful, and everything that one could expect from someone that has spent half of a lifetime with a creative partner creating music that took them around the world.
“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.”
Conway Savage, a Bad Seed and pioneering rock pianist, has diedhttps://t.co/vf3pJw56B2— Brisbane Times (@brisbanetimes) September 3, 2018
While the initial word on Savages’s 2017 surgery to remove his brain tumor was called a success, it was a metered success in that it provided more time for him, but not the kind of time many had hoped for. No word has been provided to the press or to fans regarding services or where any donations may be directed in his memory at this point. While Savage is gone, his memory and music live on, and for that his fans, friends, and family are thankful.