Former Crowded House and Split Enz drummer Paul Hester was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday in a park in Melbourne. He was 46. “It is not a hoax or a rumor,” reads a message on the official fan site for Split Enz, Crowded House, Neil Finn and the Finn Brothers. “At this point, it has been confirmed though we have no other details at this time.”
“Over the years Paul has swung the extremes of happiness and sadness, but none of us ever thought this would happen,” the message added. “He loved life too much, and it really seems like a bad dream that we hope we’ll wake up from tomorrow. At the moment we are trying to look after Paul’s family — he leaves behind two beautiful girls.”
Hester joined Split Enz in 1983 before singer and guitarist Tim Finn left the group. Split Enz released “See Ya Round” in 1984 and then disbanded, with Hester and Neil Finn forming the basis of Crowded House the following year. Crowded House released four studio albums over its span. Finn officially broke up the band after a final show in November 1996.
Hester went on to form Largest Living Things the following year, releasing two EPs. The drummer had also recently been performing in Tarmac Adam with fellow former Crowded House member Nick Seymour. Last November, Hester reunited with the Finn Brothers for a one-off performance on the music TV program “Sessions,” which Hester hosted. The trio performed seven songs, including “Weather With You” and “Six Months In A Leaky Boat.”
There were plans for Crowded House to reunite again this year, either for a tour of Australia and New Zealand or a televised show to be broadcast nationally.
The brief reunion was to have marked the 1996 hits album “Recurring Dream” having edged out Savage Garden’s debut album out as the top-selling album by an Australian-based band, with sales of almost 800,000 copies (or 11 times platinum). It would also have coincided with the DVD release of “Farewell World,” of the group’s 1996 farewell show.
The Finn Brothers will begin a three-night stand as planned tonight (March 28) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “The Finn Brothers shows this week at the Royal Albert Hall will go ahead as we don’t know what else to do at this time other than to be with those closest to us and Paul and to play music to remember him by,” reads a message on the group’s official Web site.
A private funeral is planned in Melbourne, to be followed by a public memorial.