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March 27, 2006




Listener James from Westwood

Terrible news. At least you had the chance to sit with him and share stories and his passion for his art. Thanks for the heartfelt eulogy!


Heres to a guy who loved rock and roll and gave everyone his time to get to know him.

Such an extraordinary loss for those of us who appreciated his presence and sound.

Marc Jeffrey

Woke up and had an awful email from a friend in London... "there's terrible news going around that Nikki Sudden died in New York..." Years ago I had the pleasure of doing some gigs and recording with Nikki. And will always remember him as a genuinely nice guy. RIP.

Anti Dando

Rmors are swirling that Evan Dando gave him the drugs that killed him. And of course Dando was lurking in the background of Epic Soundtracks death too. Anybody up for a Dando lynching party?


i, too, had the great opportunity to meet him when he played an acoustic set at WUOG here in Athens. i echo your sentiments about his demeanor. such a classy guy. he's lived in athens on and off and this past year he rented a house my friend used to live in, so every now and again i'd see him walking down the street. nikki will be missed.


i met sudden at a gig he did with scrawl ages ago in the 80s (cmj maybe?). nice, in a royal way. suitably jacobean. my memory - tho hazy, as we all were WELL into refreshments mode - is of the hellacious dark, narrow and STEEP stairs at the old knitting factory... led to a dressing room, i presume. anyways, nikki pretty much fell the whole way down it. getting up, with a dignified ' i meant to do that' air, i recall he simply asked if anyone had a refill for his drink.

Alan Merrill

I played bass with Nikki on his last night alive, at the Knitting Factory. Nikki and I met last year in Switzerland, but we had corresponded long before that. When he was a kid Nikki had watched my weekly TV show in the UK 1970s, and he clearly loved me as a person as a result, for which I am truly flattered.
I was like an older brother that Nikki had never met. We bonded immediately on first meeting in 2005.
So when he asked me if I'd help him out on his New York show, I was pleased to give it a go.
Nikki was very happy to be playing in New York City, and we did
a fairly tight set considering we'd never played on stage as a unit before. Nikki was on form, and was really loving it. So was I, the music was vibrant and alive.

Evan Dando was there, at Nikki's invite, and though I'd never heard of Evan, he carried himself like a star, so I knew he'd had a flutter at some point or other. We played together on stage, and he had lots of confidence, so I supposed he'd had some flash of fame at some point in his career. I stopped keeping up with new bands around 1975. I have no interest in "modern" music. I'm a rock n roll primitive. Mea Culpa.
Evan was probably, in retrospect, a very bad choice to invite to guest at the show. Nikki seemed to adore him. To me, he looked a bit like the naked cowboy who sings on Broadway and Times Square. You know, the guy who's on Howard Stern once in a while.
A charming guy, but with a very tangible dark aura. He was not a good influence on Nikki on his last night on earth, and I will stop there.

We finished the show and the only one who didn't join us to the attend the after show revelries was Evan and his lady friend, a pretty blonde Darryl Hannah clone.

We moved to a bar, Motor City, and Nikki was bubbling with ideas about the next tour, and he wanted to work with me, Darrel Bath, and Danny Hole on a tour of the UK and Europe. He had ideas of recording in New York as well, and was truly locked in to the future.
No suicide at all. Stop those thoughts. This was a man with a definite plan for tomorrow.
We had drinks and some laughs. At about 5 AM I said good night. Nikki gave me a big hug and thanked me for playing bass on the show. I don't play bass on live shows in recent years, only in the studio. I just sing lately, but I made an exception for Nikki, because I adore him. He really wanted me to play bass with him, so I did.
When I woke up I called the drummer we had played with, Danny Hole, to see if Nikki had caught his flight.
It was then that I got the bad news, and I have been reeling ever since.
On the upside, Nikki was a very happy guy only hours before he passed away. I like to think he entered into the next life with a smile on his face and very sweet dreams.

We've lost a unique talent. A true poet of the rock era. Its an utter tragedy.

Tyler Love

Back in 1990, when I was still a teenager, I started a fanzine with a friend of mine called this disaster. We started it because we wanted an excuse to meet all of our music idols - all the cute britpop rockers we were reading about in NME, Sounds and The Melody Maker every week. But my number one reason to start a fanzine was so I could get to Nikki Sudden.

The summer of '89 I was living in NYC, on Ave A, right over the Pyramid Club (a good club back then). My room was hot and small. I played Texas and Dead Men Tell No Tales and Ragged School over and over, while I tried to sleep. Texas was my favourite and it is still is.

The following summer I got word that Nikki was coming to spend the summer in NYC and I was nervous. I had told too many people I was starting a fanzine - now I had to actually follow through. I also wanted Nikki on the cover and thankfully Marlena let me do that instead of pouting for some trendier band we had interviewed, like The Wedding Present or The Charlatans.

Needless to say, Nikki turned out to be a real prince. We hung out a lot that summer, long after the interview was over. I bought him white russians and he gave me one of his jackets. While he didn't exactly reseamble the man I had pictured in my mind writing Texas, he was impressive in his friendliness and charm. He knew so much about music. He was a great storyteller. He was a world traveler. He was a real artist. I truly had a great summer that year, because of him.

I saw Nikki here and there for the next 16 years and I saw him for what will be the last time just this last week. Why we had both turned up in Buffalo, NY at the same time I don't know but I am so thankful that I got to say goodbye.

Have a good time with your new adventure Nikki. I will miss you very much.


"He was not a good influence on Nikki on his last night on earth, and I will stop there."

Evan Dando, your crimes are many.


Nikki Sudden's 'farewell my darling' heard at the right time is glorious. Swell Maps anyway. r.i.p.


The recent and unexpected death of Nikki Sudden reminds me of the powerful impact his band (along with Jowe Head, Epic Soundtracks, etc.) The Swell Maps - made back in 1979 when I first heard "A Trip To Marineville". The cover alone was quite arresting when compared with much of the contemporary releases around at that time - and it just made me smile - a lot! I bought it having known very little about the band and having heard only a couple of quick samples Ed Bahlman at 99 Records consented to play while I pretended to buy way more records than I could possibly afford...

That lp was unlike most other post-punk records I had heard at that point and certainly far removed from anything that was coming out of the NY scene around that time. It managed to combine elements of pop, punk, experimental, and Krautrock all with a homemade, garage vibe that was exhilarating without feeling pretentious: Blam!! -- just like a track from the album; it felt loose, confident, smart (not smug) and reached out to say that it was still okay to like rock music that wasn't stupid.

And it was with this same impact that Nikki Sudden left. It's really too bad, he had continued making music, apparently with that same spirit of excitement and wonder that imbues those early recordings. He'll be missed...


what a shame. what a damn shame.
the jacobites albums have always been pure mood music for me: whether racuous pissed off put-downs or tears on your velvet sleeve heartbreak ballads, they never failed to get me. what incredible voices! who woulda thought the combination of kusworth's frail every-note-but-the-right-one yelp and sudden's very british very drunken elmer fudd (greatest speech impediment in rock and roll EVER) could produce such bliss?
Nikki's "elizabethan balladeer", the elegy for Epic Soundtracks, takes on even more poignancy today.


I'm shocked about the news! Nikki was a great person with a beautiful mind. He had a good heart and he was a brilliant musician. Missing you madly, Nikki!!! Rebecca


live your dreams, tribute and love, sadness and truth,beein` together or apart doesn`t matter to a dream.

lemarechal eric

nikki I talked to christof last week, and he told me you left us in your sleep, how long is it now we did'nt see each others, a very long time I guess, time is passing by - - - and I never will have the time to appologize that I treated you sometimes bad, I guess getting old and the years treat us bad anyway- - -, so i'm still there and I hope you'll found your rock and roll heaven, I will keep you in my mind allways it's easy for me to travel in my memories and to think about all the tours we schared with duncan, andy, rowland, lindy, trevor? and all the fun we had! So for that thank you my friend. love Eric


Dear Nikki, I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour, and when I die I expect to find him laughing. Love ya, Moe


I was backstage that night too and the Naked Cowboy was still hanging out after Evan left. I'm really confused.

Rocco Granada

Sudden Death? NEVER! Nikki isn't here anymore, but we'll find out what really happened.

@ krokus - Eat this: Nikki wasn't a Naked Cowboy! He was the Last Bandit!

Nikki, stay bruised! We'll meet again, I'm sure! Greetings to Dimebag Darrell, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Strummer! Your friend, R.

Evan Dando

Fuck you all!!


I think it's really sad that some of you people here are casting stones and incriminating people before you even know anything about Nikkis death.

Shame on all of you!!!!


In reference to the post by Alan Merrill, is this about You, Evan Dando or Nikki? Seems to me it should be about Nikki.
You come across a bit me me me and your slandering of Mr Dando is unjust. If you were as close to Nikki as you make out you would know the facts concerning his death and wouldn't making incorrect accusations.
I'm only writing this because I know that Nikki would be pissed off if he could read what you wrote. It's horrible.
I have read many tributes to Nikki over the last week and yours was the only one that didn't smell right.


Nikki, I'm missing you like mad! The only thing which let me handle my sadness a bit better is the fact, that I know in Heaven they won't make you smoke outdoors and they will have the best vegetarian food ever. And now I'm sitting here home alone, surrounded by your letters and I can't enjoy your lines, because my eyes are filled with tears. Greetings to Epic! Love ya, Redhead


This is taken from

Written by by his parents.

Nikki came back to the place he was staying in New York after his final concert after the others had gone to bed. He sat at a table reading a book and that is how he was found the next morning. The initial autopsy conducted in New York revealed that he had a slightly enlarged heart. Mercifully, he would have suffered no pain nor known anything about it. We believe he is now with his beloved brother, Epic.

Thank you all so much,

Lois & Trevor Godfrey


I think we have to give Alan a pass,. I know he was very hard hit by Nikki's death, just when they'd become best friends. When one leaves someone hale and hearty at 5am and the next day one finds them gone, and when one has seen smany good people meet with 'chemical accidents' it's difficult not to have anger, and suspicions, especially given Evan's rep. Of course Nikki koved Evan, especially for his cober of 'Pin Your Heart' which they performed together on that last night. I am sure Alan regrets the above post now, and after a day to cool down he wrote a much more sensitive piece on his own site.

I did shoot vid at Nikki's last two shows and will have clips up on punkcast, soon


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