It's Official! Rowland S Howard Laneway Approved

It's Official! Rowland S Howard Laneway Approved

REJOICE! After a persistent three year campaign, the laneway between Jackson St and Rowland S Howard’s Eildon Rd home in St Kilda will finally be named as "ROWLAND S HOWARD LANE", in honour of one of Australia's true musical geniuses.

Howard, who died from liver cancer in 2009, was a St Kilda local and a bandmate with Nick Cave. In 1976 at the tender age of 16, as a member of Young Charlatans he wrote 'Shivers'. A song that would become the only single from The Boys Next Door's 1979 album, Door Door and subsequently covered by many artists. An uncompromising influential guitarist of the legendary Australian group The Birthday Party, Howard with his unique style and swagger went on to record with Lydia Lunch and form Crime & The City Solution, These Immortal Souls and also released two critically acclaimed solo albums.

The Dwarf had a chat with Nick Haines – a longtime friend of Howard’s and local music promoter, who spearheaded this campaign.

Congratulations on the good news today Nick. It has been a long fought battle to get a St Kilda Laneway now officially known as "ROWLAND S HOWARD LANE". Who originally thought of this idea and when?

I actually thought of it on the way to Rowland's funeral of all things. I was thinking of the amount of times Rowland has travelled that lane on his daily trips down to Fitzroy Street for cigs and coffee. In light of the emotions of the day the idea got put on the back burner. Then in early 2012 I was having a conversation with Patrick Donovan of Music Victoria and he said how he thought St Kilda should embrace its musical roots and name laneways and the like after people such as Rowland and Maurice Frawley. That was the "kick up the bum" I needed to get the ball rolling.

It's Official! Rowland S Howard Laneway Approved

There was a petition to get the laneway name changed. Can you name some of the famous celebrities that signed up?

Rowland's former bandmates of course, as well as Shane McGowan of The Pogues, Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Barry Adamson and many others.

We at The Dwarf were a bit miffed when we saw there was a Chrissy Amphlett Lane in the CBD, yet they would not approve Rowland full name for the laneway, as they would only approve “Rowland Lane” or “Howard Lane”. Any ideas on why the authorities were being inconsistent in approving these names?

It's not actually Chrissy Amphlett Lane it's simply Amphlett Lane. The double name thing was quite a problem for some unknown reason. The Amphlett lane crew had the exact same problem we had. It really was bureaucracy gone mad. "Rowland S Howard Lane" was so much more difficult than "The unnamed lane between Jackson Street and Eildon Road".

It's Official! Rowland S Howard Laneway Approved

A personal question to you. If you had to name your favourite song by Rowland, what would it be and why?

That's a hard question. There are so many. 'Exit Everything' is probably still number one for me. It's a great track and Brian Henry Hooper's awesome bass line tops it off nicely.

Is there going to be a red ribbon opening for the Laneway and any ideas when it will be happening?

Absolutely. But there is much decorating to be done and signage to be made before that happens.

It seems like it might be a good time to celebrate and maybe we can have the Pop Crimes tribute happening one final time with Rowland's brother Harry Howard, Mick Harvey, JP Shilo, Adalita and so on.

That's up to the talented musicians that make up Rowland's friends and family. I'm merely a stubborn and persistent guy who started a petition.

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