Jesse Malin, Thurston Moore, Bebe Buell and others take to social media to say goodbye to a beloved NYC icon
Punk Rock Social Media has been flooded with tears in the last 24 hours upon the news that legendary NYC bassist, horror culture impresario and master DJ Howie Pyro had passed away at the age of 61.
Pyro had undergone a liver transplant last year and was recovering in a Los Angeles hospital. He died from Covid-related pneumonia following a long battle with liver disease.
He was a member of such revered local punk acts as The Blessed, Freaks and D-Generation before landing a gig in Danzig alongside former Murphy’s Law guitarist Todd Youth and Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo. If you have yet to listen to the 2002 album 777: I, Luciferi yet, you are missing out on one of the best Danzig LPs out there.
And while Mr. Danzig himself has yet to acknowledge the passing of Howie in public, there’s been a ton of passages, memories and expressions of grief from a multitude of family, friends and former colleagues dating back to his days a youngster on the Max’s Kansas City scene.
“This is the hardest post I have ever had to write,” posted his dear friend and D-Generation partner Jesse Malin. “Howie Pyro, my best friend and brother has passed away. He fought real hard right till the end. He changed my life and so many others in ways I can’t even begin to say. We made our world together. From Whitestone, Queens to Madison Square Garden and every crazy, dirty little place in between. I learned so much from him. He made this planet a much better, cooler, weirder, and more beautiful place. For decades he impacted so many different kinds of people and so many different scenes all over with his style, his taste, his music, his knowledge, his Art, his fashion, his attitude, his humor, his records, his movies, his bravery, his swagger, his smile, his heart, and his compassion. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket, a shirt, donated, said a prayer, or sent a message to help him out. He really got to see the love in a huge way from all of you and it meant so much to him. His importance and impact will never, ever be forgotten. I will love you forever my Dear Doctor Howard.”
“Howie Pyro’s mischievous smile and excitable ways are forever present in our mind’s eye whenever a stomper, a stormer, a Giggler blasts us into reverie from our respective record players,” wrote Miriam Linna of Norton Records. “HP was many things to many people- movie freak, punk rocker, toy aficionado, world traveler, comedian, disc jockey, record collector, bon vivant, life of the party, but the most important thing that Howie was, to all of us, and everyone he met, if only for a few minutes- he was a friend. I met him 46 years ago as he was pedaling down the Bowery to CBGB’s on his Schwinn Stingray, complete with monkey bars and a banana seat. Of course he was straight off the Little Mister Punk Rock runway with his natural chiseled features and big eyes, his hair all spiked up, and just enough of a teenage complexion to tell you he was definitely carrying a fake ID. At the time, I’d been in New York for a few months, had found myself in a band, and was doing my best that night to separate the wheat from the chaff with the wiggy downtown population, taking a breather on the aromatic sidewalk. Howie steered his bicycle over toward me and with that beaming teenage smile, started up an excitable chat that probably started with ‘You guys are GREAT!,’ an expression that I’ve seen him use on countless individuals. I quickly learned that Howie really, truly, loved just about EVERYTHING. Well, maybe he just went overboard about the things he loved so much that there was little room for him to grouse about what he didn’t like so much.”
“We are absolutely devastated to learn that Howie Pyro passed on last night 😭😭😭,” posted Tish and Snooky from Manic Panic. “He was our very first Manic Panic employee who worked for us at the original shop on St Marks Place when he was just 15 years old. He will always be an integral part of our #manicpanic and #nycpunk family. Howie meant so much to so many. 🙏❤️🙏”
“Whether playing in bands, supporting other bands or DJing and turning any night of the week into a celebratory dance party,” penned Donita Sparks of L7. “Howie Pyro has been the crazy glue of the scene for decades.”
Rest in Peace, Howie.
VIDEO: Howie Pyro’s Sick Sick World