I’ve included only the parts specifically about Rowland, but the entire article is interesting.
Another jewel in the collection, Rowland S Howard’s battered white Fender Jaguar, is with us only because its owner, sadly, isn’t.
The late icon of Melbourne’s rock underground really only played the one guitar, explains his lifelong friend and collaborator Genevieve McGuckin, from his early years in the Birthday Party to his last gig at St Kilda’s Prince Hotel in 2009.
“It followed him around his whole life,” she says. “It was pawned a few times but it always managed to get back to him. I redeemed it a few times myself and so did others. It’s a hard life, being a musician.”
And “yes, that is his blood on the back”, she confirms: a sobering souvenir of that last show he was almost too ill to play.
There’s significance to the floral decal stuck under the whammy bar, too: roses and thorns were a recurring theme in his work. The sheaves of lyrics inside the battered case, coils of spare strings and two small distortion pedals in the compartment tell a perfectly self-contained story.