Bones Hillman, bassist with Midnight Oil, died at age 62 on Nov. 7 after a cancer battle, the band confirmed.
The New Zealand native, born Wayne Stevens, passed at home in Milwaukee. He first joined the group in 1987, in time to appear on their acclaimed 1990 album, Blue Sky Mining, and its follow-up, Earth and Sun and Moon. Midnight Oil split in 2002 but reformed on a number of occasions, returning to full-time operations in 2018, and Hillman was part of each incarnation.
“We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman,” the band said in a statement. “He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade. … He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together.” They added: “We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him.”
In an undated autobiography on his website, Hillman reflected on a career that included work with old friend and former roommate Neil Finn, David Bowie producer Tony Visconti and Elvis Costello. “I’ve played with a lot of other types of musicians – rock, country, solo artists – I enjoy it all,” he noted. “I’m very happy being a session musician, a gun for hire. I still think of life as one big adventure, and I just love to get out there and play. I don’t care how big or small the venue is, or how famous or not the band is.”
Midnight Oil – ‘Blue Sky Mine’