Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman dies aged 62

News 09/11/2020

Longtime bassist and backing vocalist for Midnight Oil, Bones Hillman, has passed away on Saturday after a long battle against cancer.

The band shared the news via Facebook, saying, "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 humour, and our brilliant musical comrade."

Haere rā Bonesy

The band continued, "Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers. He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together."

"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."

Born in Auckland, Wayne 'Bones Hillman' Stevens joined his first band called Masochists and later joined the Suburban Reptiles and The Swingers before replacing Peter Gifford in Midnight Oil around 1987.

Later, he recalled living with Kiwi expats, Neil and Sharon Finn in Melbourne's share house when Midnight Oil called to say they were looking for a new bassist.

At first, he thought Neil Finn was pulling his leg, but a few nights later, drummer Rob Hirst rang back wondering why Hillman had yet to return his call and invited him to Sydney for a rehearsal.

For 15 years, Hillman had performed with Midnight Oil at every gig and sang on every recording since the 1990 'Blue Sky Mining'.

The band took a hiatus in 2002 due to lead singer Peter Garrett moved into federal politics. Hillman returned to New Zealand before moving to Nashville with his family in 2007 where he worked as a sessions musician. He later re-joined Midnight Oil for their reunion tour in 2018.