brian-henry-hooper - The I-94 Bar

Lax Charisma of The Nice Folk on life as a musical underground outlaw

nice-folk-backA few weeks ago at the Factory Floor in Sydney, I caught The Nice Folk supporting Harry Howard and The NDE and The Holy Soul. 

The Nice Folk (for me) were a cross beyween early Captain Beefheart Magic Band and Pere Ubu. I wrote that they could "pull out a slow, sleazy blues song and switch to early Beasts of Bourbon-like sloppy and swampy excursions". What really struck me that night, however, was that they captured a spirit of an Australian music scene from a long time ago.

In the ’80s, pre-Nirvana, pre-Ratcat. pre-corporate festivals - and the boozed up smashed bogans with Southern Cross tatts thinking they are cool one day of the year going to the Big Day Out - there were bands like The Nice Folk. These bands knew they were never going to capture a place in the commercial charts. They were truly underground.

This let to music that was free from attempting to be accessible. It was about the band and music first and not getting them “Suck-cess”. Bands like the Laughing Clowns, Lubricated Goat, Box The Jesuit and the early Wet Taxis. Which is why I really liked The Nice Folk. They had a similar attitude and devotion to their music.

Melbourne launch for posthumous Brian Henry Hooper album

brian henry hooper rip carbieCarbie Warbie photo.

On 20 April, 2018 the world of rock’n’roll lost one its most charismatic and talented soldiers, Brian Henry Hooper. Best known for his work in the Beasts of Bourbon and Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, Hooper’s resume extends to stints with Charlie Marshall’s Body Electric, Rowland S Howard and Andre Williams.

When he was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2017, Hooper was mid-way through putting the finishing touches on his new album, What Would I Know?, one of two solo records he'd recorded over the previous two years at Andrew McGee’s Empty Room Studios in Nagambie.

Vale Brian Henry Hooper. His ship has sailed.

brian says byeBrian Hooper at last week's Melbourne gig. Carbie Warbie photo.

Much-loved Beasts of Bourbon bassist Brian Henry Hooper has passed away peachefully in a Melbourne hospital.

Brian’s wife Ninevah Hooper made an announcement on his Facebook page earlier today:

Brian’s ship peacefully sailed this morning. I was with him during that departure. It’s the hardest thing a partner could ever do but to say good bye.

I told my three year old twins that mummy and doctors could no longer bring daddy home. Daddy was flying away like s free bird in the blue sky.

Ava, Charlize, Matthew, Nina and Lana are all grieving the loss of their beautiful father. The Haddad and Hooper family are also experiencing their pain.

Cinzia Cozzolino and Michelle Rowe also cherish their memories of Brian.

Thank you for the support.

Hooper had been fighting lung cancer. Just a week ago, he appeared at his own benefit concert in Melbourne, playing with a reformed Beasts of Bourbon. Brian was accompanied by a team of nurses and breathing through an oxygen mask.