Bryan St. Pere, the drummer for the massively influential shoegaze and alt-rock band Hum, has died. He was 52 years old.
His bandmates confirmed the news in a statement earlier today, writing, “It is with very heavy hearts and tear filled eyes that we share the news that our beloved friend and bandmate, Bryan St. Pere, has passed away. We are devastated and deeply saddened by his sudden, and unexpected passing. Bryan was a dear friend, a loving father, brother, and was an incredible person and musician. We all feel extremely lucky to have shared time and space with him. Peace and love to all who knew Bryan, and those he touched. We will miss him dearly.”
At an early age, St. Pere was drawn to the drums and decided to start playing the instrument after falling in love with Rush, particularly Neil Peart’s iconic performance style. That infatuation would allegedly lead to him join Hum. According to music folklore, singer-guitarist Matt Talbott, guitarist Tim Lash, and bassist Jeff Dimpsey decided to invite St. Pete to join the group after they heard him drumming along to Rush songs while they passed by his home. It was 1990 and, at that time, St. Pere was attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while studying for his biology degree.
Hum released their first two albums — 1991’s Fillet Show and 1993’s Electra 2000 — through the independent label 12 Inch Records before eventually signing to RCA. Their major label debut, 1995’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut, spawned the breakout alt-rock hit “Stars” which catapulted the band from relative obscurity to nationwide fame thanks to radio airplay. It hit No. 11 on Billboard‘s Hot Modern Rock Tracks (which is now known as Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart) and at No. 28 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Ultimately, “Stars” helped the album sell over 250,000 copies.
In 1998, Hum dropped their excellent album Downward Is Heavenward. Two years later, poor record sales and a scary van accident forced Hum to break up, and St. Pere decided to pursue a career in the healthcare industry like he originally had been studying for. Intermittently throughout the next two decades, Hum played a handful of reunions concerts and St. Pere happily returned to his drum seat for the occasions.
Last year, Hum surprised fans by releasing their incredible reunion album Inlet — their first new LP in 22 years — and it easily racked up accolades, including its rightful spot as one of the best heavy albums of 2020. It saw St. Pere at the top of his game, doling out deceptively intricate percussion and steady drumming parts that were at once lightweight and monstrous. It revived Hum’s position as an iconic band and allowed countless artists to namecheck them as an influence, including Deftones, Nothing, Alcest, Deafheaven, and Title Fight, among others.
Since hearing the news, fellow musicians and fans have expressed an outpouring of love for St. Pere. Revisit some of the drummer’s greatest work alongside those tributes below.
Rest in power to Bryan St. Pere of Hum. I never knew him, but I love his band, I loved his drumming, and he most certainly has one of the best band origin stories of all time. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/Meg34RBDsr
— Norman Brannon (@normanbrannon) July 1, 2021
Hum, and St. Pere's drumming in particular, was a HUGE influence on me when I was still figuring out my own playing. that first Hum record is permanently burned into my brain from all the times I played along with it. RIP to an underrated legend. https://t.co/ZWmXiQrYToAdvertisement
— Yeet Takeshi (@alex_navarro) July 1, 2021
— Mineral (@officialmineral) July 1, 2021
Also if you want a taste of what an incredible drummer Bryan St. Pere was: @humbandofficial annihilating "I'd Like Your Hair Long" on MTV's 120 Minutes back in 1995 is a good place to start. Completely mind-blowing power and precision. https://t.co/gmfamwQA0m
— Annie Zaleski is dancing on the valentine (@anniezaleski) July 1, 2021
In 1995 I had my very first TV Booking on @ConanOBrien. The band was Hum w/ the song "Stars." The show wraps it's historic run today. Thanks to lovely people who brought the show to life & supported so much great music @jimpitt13 and crew….all the love. https://t.co/WrQl43SHB1Advertisement
— Judy MillerSilverman (@motormouthmedia) June 25, 2021