It’s been a sad year in the music world with fans mourning the deaths of Chester Bennington, Greg Allman and Chris Cornell to name a few. Unfortunately, the music world lost another artist this week.
Josh Schwartz is a guitarist and songwriter who was part of the band Beachwood Sparks, Schwartz has died at the age 0f 45 after losing the battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
His former bandmate Brent Rademaker reported the confirmation to Pitchfork.
Schwartz was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and in 2014, his family and friends held a benefit concert to assist with the guitarist’s medical costs. The music community came in support of the Orange County native which included Rademaker, Ariel Pink, Miranda Lee Richards, John C. Reilly as well as others who came together to support their friend.
In the early 90s, Schwartz joined Radermaker’s band Further and continue to play with them until 1997 when they broke up. He was also one of the original lineup for Beachwood Sparks which formed that same year. He helped contribute to the sessions for their album, Desert Skies but departed from the band in 1999. The record remained in the vaults until being released in 2013.
Besides playing with Beachwood Sparks and Further, Schwartz worked with Flight of the Conchords, Lou Barlow and Tift Merritt. He was in an early 90s band The Summer Hills and in 2010, released a solo album under the name Painted Hills.
Below is Rademaker’s tribute to his late bandmate which he told to Pitchfork.
“When I met Josh he was 18, still had braces on his teeth and could play guitar like Neil Young and J Mascis. I started two bands with him Further and Beachwood Sparks, he was like a brother to us. Anyone who saw those groups knows that Josh was a supernatural force. An extraordinary guitar player and gifted songwriter. I urge anyone who hasn’t heard his music to do so.
When Josh was diagnosed with ALS he was so brave, he never complained he just immersed himself in listening to music and buying records. I think the best insight into Josh is the fact that just weeks before going into the hospital for the last time, he was still supporting his friends and favorite artists, he bought an Eric Gaffney limited edition signed solo album from Eric’s Bandcamp page knowing that Eric needed the support.
In the last few years Josh was paralyzed by ALS and could only communicate with his eyes through his computer but still loved to have company and host parties, listening to records and watching movies It definitely helped him outlive the doctor’s diagnosed time. They even took him out see his favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr and Neil.
Personally he was a quiet person but not shy. He was incredibly funny as well. He had a knack for the kind of sarcasm that made light of any bad situation. It helped relieve tension on tour or in the studio. He was one of those rare people that really brought out the best in others. It was hard to be a jerk when Josh was around. He really was magic.”
It is never easy losing a friend. And for fans of Schwartz, we will always have his music.
Watch Beachwood Sparks’s music video to their track, “Make it Happen.”