Sad news last evening, as I learned via messageboard that Nikki Sudden (born Adrian Nicholas Godfrey), of the blindingly-fantastic late 70's proto-post-punk band Swell Maps (and later the Jacobites and a solo career) had died in New York City in the early hours of Sunday morning. As of yet, causes are unknown. Sudden was 49.
Instantly, I heard the sputtering first notes of Swell Maps' "Let's Build a Car" grind into life deep in my brain. Nikki might be gone, but those notes, all of those notes, every single ramshackle Maps tune that sounded like it was gonna just fall apart at any moment, even as it soared into the heavens on a thrilling wave of sweet noise and clatter and drone and fuzz, that stuff's gonna live forever. "Border Country" (my other favorite Maps moment, apart from "Let's Build a Car", easily), "Midget Submarines", "H.S. Art", "Read About Seymour", "Full Moon"...the list of brilliant Swell Maps songs stretches on and on, despite having released a grand total of only four singles and two albums in their career.
I like to imagine that Nikki and his bandmate/brother Epic Soundtracks, who died of unknown causes in 1997, are somewhere fluffier and cloudier than this place, and they're making the most glorious racket possible with their completely kick-ass new band.
Courtesy of the constantly-amazing YouTube, here's a video for Swell Maps' "Let's Build a Car".
Raise a drink to Nikki tonight....