‘Funny and lovely’ Kiwi music pioneer Hamish Kilgour found dead in Christchurch

Hamish Kilgour had been missing for more than a week when he was found dead on Monday.  (file photo)

Joe Blossom

Hamish Kilgour had been missing for more than a week when he was found dead on Monday. (file photo)

Kiwi music pioneer Hamish Kilgour, who was found dead in Christchurch, was a “genius in his own way”, friends say.

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The well-known co-founder of Dunedin band The Clean was last seen at The Palms shopping center in the city on November 27, leaving Kilgour’s family concerned for his welfare.

He was found dead on Monday night and his death was reported to the coroner, a police spokesman said. He was 65 years old.

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Kilgour began his music career over 40 years ago when he formed The Clean with his brother David in 1978.

Kat Zolita Mason/Attached

Kilgour began his music career over 40 years ago when he formed The Clean with his brother David in 1978.

Kilgour’s friend Kat Zolita Mason said she was devastated by the news.

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“He was so funny and lovely.”

Kilgour was not only a great musician, but a great person, she said.

“He really was a genius in his own way.”

Fellow musician Nadia Reid wrote online: “Rest in peace now Hamish.”

Kilgour co-founded The Clean with his brother David Kilgour in 1978.

The group released the single Tally Ho in 1981. It charted at number 19, but paved the way for the future success of their Flying Nun label.

The band’s next release, the five-track EP Boodle Boodle Boodle, soon followed, reaching fifth place in the charts.

Their recordings and haunting live performances have also attracted international attention, with endorsements from American indie headliners Sonic Youth, Pavement, Guided by Voices and Yo La Tengo.

The band went on hiatus until 1982, and Kilgour later joined Bailterspace, but when the Sound Noise Merchants played in New York, he decided to move there permanently in the late 1980s.

Kilgour later formed The Mad Scene in the early 1990s and released the EP Falling Over, Spilling Over, and was part of several subsequent albums with The Clean, most recently Mister Pop in 2009.

Kilgour won the 1992 Aotearoa Music Award for Album Cover of the Year for Pink Flying Saucers Over the Southern Alps and this year appeared on the cover of Matthew Goody’s Needles and Plastic, Flying Nun, 1981-1988.

In 2017, he and members of The Clean, including the late Peter Gutteridge, were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

Hamish Kilgour (right) with his brother David in 1983.

DELIVERED

Hamish Kilgour (right) with his brother David in 1983.

The band’s bio for their launch, which was fittingly held in Dunedin, said: “The band’s blend of edgy folk pop, insistent psychedelic instrumentals and quirky yet accessible minimalism has proven timeless.

“Just like The Clean’s philosophy and rationale.

“Trusting your musical instincts and doing it for yourself were key ideals of the band, and their success demonstrated the importance and validity of taking full creative control over the timing, capture, presentation and expression of your art.”

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