MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CelebrityAccess) — Bones Hillman, the longtime bassist for Australian rock legends Midnight Oil, died on November 7th after a battle with cancer. He was 62.
“We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman, who has passed away at his home in Milwaukee today after a cancer battle. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humor, and our brilliant musical comrade.”
“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. Haere rā Bonesy from Jim (Moginie), Martin (Rotsey), Peter (Garrett) & Rob (Hirst),” the band said in a joint statement via social media.
Born Wayne Stevens in New Zealand, Hillman was a fixture of the local punk scene, joining bands such as The Masochists, Suburban Reptiles, and The Rednecks before relocating to Australia in 1980.
In 1987, he joined the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, stepping into the role vacated by Peter Gifford, who left the group following the release of their hit album Diesel & Dust, which helped to catapult the band to international acclaim.
When the group went on hiatus in 2002 while frontman Peter Garrett focused on his political career, Hillman returned to New Zealand, where he worked as a studio musician and recorded an album with Dave Dobbyn.
In 2007, Hillman relocated to Nashville where he recorded music with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Anne McCue and Elizabeth Cook.
He rejoined his bandmates in Midnight Oil for their 2017 reunion tour, which was featured on Midnight Oil’s ARIA-nominated 2019 live album Armistice Day.
“I’m a simple musician – all I want to do is play my bass, go on tour with new people, maybe get to sit up front with the driver now and again,” Hillman said in an undated biography on his website. “The time I spent on the road with my fellow Oils, Pete, Rob, Jim and Martin, has been the best. Thanks for the ride guys.”