Birthday Party Guitarist Gets Own Lane

Following AC/DC Lane and Chrissy Amphlett Lane, Melbourne honored a third musician June 4. 

The City of St Kilda, an important cultural precinct, named a lane after influential songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard who lived in the area. Howard played in the Nick Cave-fronted The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, as well as Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls, and collaborations with Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, Nikki Sudden, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Einstürzende Neubauten.

Cave called Howard “Australia’s most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist.” Howard died in 2009, aged 50, from lung cancer. The campaign for Rowland S. Howard Lane began three years ago by promoter Nick Haines. Among 2,000 putting their names to a petition were Cave, Rollins, Shane McGowan of The Pogues, and video maker Richard Lowenstein who co-directed the “Autoluminescent” documentary about Howard.

Although the City of Port Phillip approved the name April 2013, it had to battle objections from the Registrar of Geographic Names. It claimed regulations governing Melbourne road names preclude initials or two names as it confuses emergency services. When local Member of Parliament, Martin Foley, became the state’s Arts Minister late last year, he overrode red tape.