Monday, March 28, 2016

Passings: Joe Skyward/Joe Bass of the Posies & Sunny Day Real Estate (1947 - 2016)

Joe Skyward, also known as Joe Bass, bassist for the Posies and Sunny Day Real Estate, died on Sunday after a two year battle with prostate cancer. He was 57.

The Posies wrote on their Facebook page:

Joe Skyward, aka Joe Bass, left us last night. He had been fighting cancer for the last 2 years. Positive to the end, he went surrounded by friends and family. We had many great years with Joe and loved him very much. We still do. Rest in peace, rest in space, rest in bass. ... We will miss you Joe.
Skyward was born Joe Howard on June 3, 1947 in Cleveland, OH, one of six children. He officially changed his last name to Skyward in 1995. The day after he graduated high school, he and a friend moved to California followed by a second move by Joe to the small college town of Bozeman, MT where he took music classes at Montana State University.

While there, he played in a prog-instrumental group, Collage, and worked in a local record store which eventually led to him opening a Record and Skateboard Shop along with Howard Productions where he promoted concerts.

In the late-80's, Skyward moved to San Francisco to work for a booking agency and, later, Seattle. A self-taught bassist, he played in a number of local bands until, one day, he was asked to fill in on bass in the band Sky Cries Mary. That short fill in gig became full time employment and the band signed with Domination/Capitol Records.

In late 1994, Howard left Sky Cries Mary to become the bassist for The Posies with whom he would record two albums, Amazing Disgrace (1996) and Success (1998). He soon after left the band and replaced Nate Mendell (Foo Fighters) and Jeff Palmer in Sunny Day Real Estate, playing on their album How it Feels to Be Something On (1998).

It was also during this time that he recorded his own album, Skyward along with continuing to do session work.

Since the turn of the century, he has been in semi-retirement, still playing music as a hobby and bar tending at the Short Stop in Echo Park along with buying land in Costa Rica where he built a house.

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