March 27, 2005
Paul Hester (1959-2005)
Dear, sweet Paulo. Why? Why?
Crowded House was my very first concert. It was Athens, Georgia, 1991 on the Woodface tour. It was a magical experience. After the show Paul and Nick came out to talk to those of us still milling around. Paul was an absolute sweetheart and both he and Nick signed our flyers. Paul even drew for me his little house with their heads (four instead of three, even though Tim had left the tour by then). My friend Sarah and I gushed, we were so happy to meet them and realize they were really nice guys as well as great musicians. They spoke with some other folks and then just as they were leaving to get on the tour bus, Paul stopped by again, touching me on the elbow as he thanked us for coming to the show and to tell us goodbye. That put me over the moon and I've been in love with the band and their music ever since.
I was at Paul's last show, the one in Atlanta in 1994. We didn't know that at the time, but I did wonder what was up when Neil made a dedication - along the lines of "This goes out to a man that I love, and that's Paul Hester." I don't think Crowded House really could have gone on without him being part of it, even though it was still a shock when the band came to an end.
I didn't know him except through the music and through the shows and this one personal encounter. But he was such a vital member of Crowded House. He brought such spark and wit, such a mix of sweetness and wicked playfulness, along with his consummate musicianship and his wonderful harmonies. I wish he could have found the peace and answers he needed in his life some other way.
My heart goes out to his family and to everybody who knew him and loved him. I didn't think his being gone would affect me so, but I find it hard to fight back the tears. You were a good man, Paul Hester. You were loved and you will be sorely missed.
Here is the full text of The Age article, since it will probably become unavailable before too long:
Crowded House drummer dies
By Patrick Donovan
The Age, March 28, 2005
Former Crowded House and Split Enz drummer and TV personality Paul Hester committed suicide on Saturday after a long battle with depression.
A message, sent to Crowded House and Split Enz fan club email lists said: "Everyone, sitting here in the office trying to figure out what to write, we are a bit messed up at the moment. Last night, our mate, and Crowded House drummer Paul Hester, took his own life.
"Over the years Paul has swung the extremes of happiness and sadness, but none of us ever thought this would happen. He loved life too much . . . "
Crowded House was one of Australia's most successful bands of the late 1980s and early '90s. Formed out of the ashes of New Zealand's Split Enz in 1985, it featured Hester on drums, Neil Finn on vocals and guitar, and Nick Seymour on bass.
Guitarist Kev Garant, who played with Hester in the Bay of Pigs, said: "He was considered an absolute world class drummer in the pop field."
As recently as two weeks ago, Hester, 46, was at the Espy in St Kilda to appear in the SBS music quiz show, RockWiz.
RockWiz's Brian Nankervis said: "He could be everything and anything in one go. He had a lightning wit, he could be wonderfully sensitive, clever and unpredictable."