Midnight Oil bassist and vocalist Wayne Stevens, more commonly known as Bones Hillman has died today. Aged 62, he passed away in his Milwaukee home after battling cancer.
The band confirmed the news today via Twitter. Paying tribute to Bones they wrote, “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.”
“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 from Jim, Martin, Peter & Rob,” they wrote.
Hailing from New Zealand, Bones played in bands Masochists, Suburban Reptiles, and The Swingers. He later joined Midnight Oil in 1987, replacing Peter Gifford on bass and backing vocals.
When Midnight Oil took a break come 2002, as frontman Peter Garrett shifted into politics, Hillman returned to New Zealand. He later relocated to Nashville in the United States where he worked as a session musician.
Bones appeared on every Midnight Oil release since 1990’s Blue Sky Mining and joined the band for their 2017 reunion tour.
Bones joined the Oils in the studio for The Makarrata Project, which was released just over a week ago. It features Jessica Mauboy, Tasman Keith, and Dan Sultan, and sought to elevate the Uluru Statement From The Heart in national conversation.
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. pic.twitter.com/qP5EJqZowL
— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) November 8, 2020