Rock Experimentalist Epic Soundtracks Dead At 37

Epic Soundtracks -- the pioneering drummer

and keyboardist of the band

Swell Maps whose influence was palpable among American rockers such as

Dinosaur Jr's J

Mascis and Sonic Youth -- was found dead in his London apartment on

Saturday (Nov. 22). A cause of death has yet to be determined; a

coroner's

report is expected later this week. Soundtracks was 37.

"They're not quite sure how long he was dead," said Tom Prendergast, a

spokesman for Bar/None Records, the label for which Soundtracks

recorded.

He said authorities have not ruled out suicide as the cause of death for

the musician, who was presumed to be in good health. The spokesman said

he

had not known Soundtracks to be depressed of late.

Prendergast said he had spoken with Soundtrack's brother and partner in

Swell Maps, Nikki Sudden, but said only that, "(Sudden) was very sad -- he

was

his

brother."

Soundtracks, born Paul Godley, formed Swell Maps at the tender age of 12

with Sudden in Solihull, England. The pair, along with bassist Jowe

Head

and guitarist Richard Earl, developed a reputation as confident

experimentalists who loved the German avant-garde rock band, Can. Although the group recorded only two albums (A

Trip

to Marineville and Jane From Occupied Europe) before

disbanding

in 1980, they later proved to be quite influential, especially among

American artists on the vanguard of punk and indie rock, including

R.E.M.

and Pavement.

In the late-'70s, Soundtracks played with Mayo Thompson's reformed

Red

Krayola before moving on to play with Sudden again in a band known as

the

Jacobites. He also logged time as a drummer for Australia's Crime and the

City Solution. Eventually, Soundtracks and his partner in Crime Rowland

Howard (ex-Birthday Party) left to form These Immortal Souls, who issued

Get Lost (Don't Lie!) in 1987 and reunited for I'm Never

Gonna Die Again in 1992.

When Soundtracks surfaced as a solo artist that same year, he abandoned

his

drum kit to refashion himself as a singer and songwriter, and enlisted

many

of the stars who he'd influenced to lend a hand. His first disc,

Rise

Above, featured contributions from Howard, Mascis and Sonic Youth's

Lee

Ranaldo and Kim Gordon. After releasing Sleeping Star 1994,

Soundtracks embarked on a tour with the Lemonheads' Evan Dando. His most recent record,

1996's

Change My Life, was produced by Primal Scream's Henry Olsen.

A funeral for Soundtracks will be held in his hometown of Leamington

Spa,

England, on Monday (Dec. 1). -- Chris Nelson

Color="#720418">[Tues., Nov. 25, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]