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Hamish Kilgour, Co-Founder of New Zealand Indie Pioneers the Clean, Found Dead

Hamish Kilgour, a pioneering New Zealand musician and co-founder of the indie rock band the Clean, was found dead just over a week after he was reported missing, The New Zealand Herald reports.

Kilgour had been missing since Nov. 27 and was last seen at a shopping mall in Christchurch, New Zealand. A cause of death was not released, and when reached for comment, police in New Zealand said only that the case had been “referred to the Coroner.” A representative for the coroner’s office in Christchurch did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.

Though they had a somewhat scattershot existence, as Pitchfork notes, the Clean were wildly influential, shaping a wave of jangly, lo-fi indie rock known as the “Dunedin sound” (named for the New Zealand city where the band, and others, formed). Kilgour, who played drums, founded the group in 1978 with his brother David, a guitarist who died earlier this year, and bassist Peter Gutteridge, who died in 2014.

In 1981, the Clean released their debut single, “Tally Ho!” The track became an unexpected hit, rising to Number 19 on the New Zealand charts and helping to launch the Flying Nun label, which would become home to many Dunedin sound bands.


After “Tally Ho!,” the Clean released a pair of EPs in 1982 and then parted ways. Their music, however, continued to spread, especially with the 1986 release of Compilation, an aptly-titled collection of early recordings and songs from their two EPs. In 1988, the Clean reunited and recorded the live EP, In-A-Live, then dropped their first official album, Vehicle, in 1990. 

The Clean would split and reconvene numerous times over the next several decades, releasing four more studio albums between 1994 and 2009 (the last being Mister Pop). Kilgour also played in an array of other bands as well, including the Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, and the Mad Scene, a long-running project he formed after moving to New York in the early Nineties. In 2014, Kilgour released his debut solo album, All of It and Nothing; a second solo record, Finkelstein, based on a story he made up for his son, arrived in 2018. 

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