Hamish Kilgour of The Clean, a New Zealand Hall of Fame musician, was discovered dead after going missing.
How Did Hamish Kilgour Die?
Hamish Kilgour, the co-founder of the Clean has passed away at the age of 65. The Clean's American record company, Merge Records, released the death statement, and it reads,
“With very heavy hearts, we can confirm that Hamish Kilgour has passed away in his home country of New Zealand. As a founding member of the Clean, with his brother, David, and Robert Scott, Hamish produced one of the most important and timeless bodies of work in rock music.”
“As a drummer, Hamish had a propulsive, instantly recognizable style and an understated power; he was a joy to watch play. Hamish was one of the most colorful and creative musicians we have been lucky to work with, both as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter with the group he started with Lisa Siegel, the Mad Scene, and, of course, with the Clean. Hamish was also an accomplished visual artist, and his fantastical drawings adorn many record sleeve.”
“We feel lucky to have known him. Our thoughts are with his family and his fellow members of the New Zealand music community. Safe travels, Hamish.”
Hamish Kilgour Cause of Death
The NZ musician Hamish Kilgour passed away after reported missing since November 27. According to his family, he was last seen at a shopping mall in Christchurch. However, Hamish Kilgour cause of death has not been made public.
In 1992, on our first tour in Minneapolis, Bratmobile played with Hamish Kilgour's The Mad Scene. It was one of a few bar shows we played on that tour, and I recall thinking how out of place we were. I also recall how kind and sweet Hamish was and how surprising that felt.
— Molly Neuman Hernandez (@mollydneuman) December 6, 2022
On Tuesday morning, police acknowledged the case had been forwarded to the coroner and declined to speak further. According to a police social media post, Kilgour's relatives and friends, as well as the police, were worried about his wellbeing.
Ben Goldberg, co-founder of Ba Da Bing! Records, which released Kilgour's solo music, said: “Hamish was inscrutable in his kindness, his love of music, and his politics. Even at his lowest moments, he never lost sight of his ideals. You can hear his heart in every beat, strum, and syllable he made.”
Who was Hamish Kilgour?
Kilgour is best known for co-founding the Dunedin band The Clean in 1978, which rose to prominence on the Flying Nun label. The Clean was established in Duned in 1978 by Kilgour and his brother David. They are regarded as one of the innovators of the indie-pop genre's jangly “Dunedin sound.”
The Clean were pioneers of indie rock and indie pop. The group's first hit, “Tally Ho!” was released in 1981, and it helped Flying Nun Records become well-known. The Kilgour brothers and bassist Robert Scott, who would eventually join the Bats, made up the trio at this time. They all contributed to the songwriting.
Before a more protracted separation in 1982, the group released two EPs—Boodle Boodle Boodle and Great Sounds Great—and a single, “Getting Older.”
Before switching back to the Clean moniker in the late 1980s and rejoining for a tour and live EP, the brothers made music under the moniker the Great Unwashed.
Albums released by the Clean:
The Clean's first full-length album, Vehicle, was released in the wake of that reunion tour in 1990. After the publication of Vehicle, Hamish relocated to New York City and co-founded the Mad Scene with Lisa Siegel.
Only 18 months into their initial incarnation, the band developed an on-again, off-again pattern that would remain throughout their unconventional career. They made their debut in 1992 with a 7′′ single, and their first album, Sealight, was released in 1995.
In the coming years, there were a number of Clean breakups and reunions, frequently followed by a full-length. Three albums by Yo La Tengo—Modern Rock in 1994, Unknown Country in 1996, and Getaway in 2001—all included contributions from the band's devoted followers Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan. There was a distinct American generation of bands, such as Pavement, Galaxie 500, and Guided by Voices.
The album Getaway was released on Merge, the American independent label started by Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance of Superchunk; Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo also made guest appearances on the songs “Alpine Madness” and “Circle Canyon.”
Anthology, a career-spanning record released by Flying Nun and Merge together in 2003, was followed in 2009 by the Clean's brand-new studio album, Mister Pop. Mister Pop, the band's last full-length record, was released in 2009. They would continue through Sonic Boom's 2012 release Blip.