Former Shonen Knife percussionist and current DMBQ drummer Mana “China”
Nishiura died November 4 when DMBQ’s tour van was clipped by another car en route
from Baltimore to Brooklyn. Nishiura died at the scene; the rest of DMBQ were
hospitalized and later released. An avid baseball fan, Nishiura was previously
drummer for the brilliantly named all-girl group Droop, and segued effortlessly
from Shonen Knife’s public-bath J-pop to DMBQ’s very heavy metal. Said Shonen
Knife guitarist Naoko Yamano: “It was so sudden a loss that we have no words to
express our sorrow. We extend our condolence to her family and the departed spirit.”
Donations to cover the crash victims’ medical bills can be made through PayPal
or by check. (Visit for info.)
Although it wasn't announced inVariety until November 4,
Sean Gwin — bassist for L.A. punk trio the Fiends — died October 13 at Cedars-Sinai
of heart failure at age 46, just a few weeks after the death of Fiends vocalist
Scott T. Morrow. Gwin’s mastery of the snotty, big-boned-and-burbly style of attacking
basses with the Fiends fit nicely alongside similar nuttiness from the Vandals
and German Shepherds, and presaged similar formulae for Screeching Weasel. The
trio’s debut LP We’ve Come For Your Beer (Bemisbrain, 1984) codified sarcastic
sass and cheep laffs; the follow-up LP Gynecölögy (PVC, 1986) featured
more of same, bolstered by Farfisa organ, and songs like “Hold Me While I’m Naked”
and “This Week Sucked.” Gwin also worked at the L.A. Weekly. Former Weekly
ad coordinator Kelly Mayfield recalls, “Sean and I worked together from 1983 until
later in the 1980s. What a sweet guy. I loved his sense of humor. I’m still in
shock, particularly after Scott’s death. Sean was a very even-keeled guy, things
always seemed to be just fine, and we always shared a laugh whenever we saw each
other. And he had the most beautiful eyes.”

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