Bassist Bones Hillman, who is best known for his work with the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, has passed away at the age of 62 from cancer complications. His passing was mentioned by the band earlier today on social media.
“He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade,” Midnight Oil wrote on Facebook. “Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers. He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together.”
Hillman was born in New Zealand, playing for a variety of local outfits such as The Swingers before taking over for Midnight Oil’s previous bassist Peter Gifford in 1987. His first album with the group was Blue Sky Mining and he would appear on each of the group’s subsequent records. The bassist’s final appearance was on 2020’s The Makarrata Project, the group’s first studio album in 18 years. Blue Sky Mining was critically and commercially successful upon its release, topping the ARIA Charts in 1990. The Makarrata Project served as their first record since Blue Sky Mining to also top that chart.
Midnight Oil released “Gadigal Land” earlier this year, which ended a 17 year long hiatus for the group. This song discussed the history of Australia as a penal colony, documenting the nation’s turbulent history with its First Nation’s peoples. This song continues the band’s long-standing support for Australia’s indigenous groups, and advocates for their representation in parliament.