Steve Prestwich, founding drummer with Australian rock icons Cold Chisel, died Sunday following surgery to remove a brain tumour. He was 56.
As a songwriter, Prestwich penned some of Cold Chisel’s best-known works, including “Forever Now,” “When the War is Over,” and “Flame Trees,” which he co-wrote with Don Walker.
Born in Liverpool, England, Prestwich was a seasoned musician by the time he emigrated to Adelaide, Australia in 1971, aged 17.
On the suggestion of his friend, the bass player Les Kaczmarek, a teenage Prestwich would audition for a spot in a band. On that day in 1973 he met Ian Moss, Jimmy Barnes and Walker, and the group they created went on to make history as Cold Chisel.
For ten years, Prestwich and Cold Chisel would ride a wave of hits and adoration Down Under, and to-date they remain one of the most enduring acts of their type. In 1983, Cold Chisel farewelled their fans with the Last Stand tour. The following year Prestwich joined the Little River Band, with whom he went on to record two albums and tour the U.S.
Prestwich also enjoyed a solo career, which began with the 2000 release “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and wrapped with his most recent,”Every Highway” from 2009.
The musician never severed ties with Cold Chisel. In 1998, the rockers issued “The Last Wave of Summer,” and supported the album with an extensive tour. The album contained two new Prestwich works, “Water into Wine” and “Way Down.”
In 2003, he hit the road with Cold Chisel for the “Ringside” tour, on which he sang and played acoustic guitar with the band for the first time. Cold Chisel, which was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame back in 1993, has hit the return trail in recent months and spent time in the studio cutting a new album.
According to a post on the Cold Chisel Website, Prestwich was diagnosed with a brain tumour less than two weeks ago, and underwent an operation last Friday. He never regained consciousness.