Conway Savage, the long-time pianist of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, has died age 58. Savage was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017 and passed away Sunday evening (September 2nd).
In a statement, Cave called Savage “the anarchic thread that ran through the band’s live performances,” adding: “He was much loved by everyone, band members and fans like. 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,” Cave recounted. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
“Goodbye Conway, there isn’t a dry eye in the house.”
Savage had been an integral member of the Bad Seeds since 1990, when he was hired to play piano and organ on the band’s tour supporting The Good Son. He subsequently appeared on nine Bad Seeds albums, beginning with 1992’s Henry’s Dreams through 2013’s Push the Sky Away.
Though he primarily contributed backing vocals on the band’s albums, Conway took center stage on “The Willow Garden”, a 1995 B-side of the single, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”.
In addition to his work in the Bad Seeds, Savage released a number of solo albums and collaborated with fellow Australian musicians including David McComb, Robert Forster, and Suzie Higgie.