It is with the greatest sadness that we report that Ron S Peno from Died Pretty has died after the esophageal cancer that he had recovered from recently had came back.
The following statement has been released by the band:
With great sadness we announce the passing of our singer Ron S Peno who left us peacefully on Friday evening in the presence of his loving wife Charity and his son Zebadiah, at his home in South Yarra, Melbourne.
For the last four and a half years as he battled cancer, Ron displayed a resolute positivity and a profound depth of character that has proved inspirational to his fellow band members, manager and many friends. In the face of adversity he was towering.
For the 40 years Ron entertained us as Died Pretty’s frontman he was never less than always charismatic. He has provided warm and enduring memories for those who shared the stage with him and for his audience. For many he is the soundtrack of their lives. He leaves us a legacy of extraordinary recordings that will continue to be treasured into the future.
Our hearts go out to Charity, Zebadiah and all his family and friends at this time. Ron will be sorely missed. The world will be a smaller place without him.
Ron’s family and Died Pretty would like to thank his medical team at St Vincent’s Hospital, the Calvary Bethlehem palliative care team, Support Act and everyone who made a donation or sent a message of love during Ron’s time of need.
One of Australia’s best musical exports, the formidable Died Pretty, shone brightly in the eighties over a series of spectacular albums that were only out done by the band’s mesmerising live performances. I will never forget seeing them at the late lamented Mosman Hotel in Sydney in the eighties completely transfixed by singer Peno: a prowling wrath ranging across the stage with a burning, visceral intensity.
Died Pretty reached a peak with what remains in my view one of the best Australian albums ever – the statuesque ‘Doughboy Hollow’ – but their other albums were just as magnificent with their brand of dark gothic pop . From ‘Free Dirt’, ‘Lost’, ‘Every Brilliant Eye’ to later material which expanded their horizons, with ‘Trace’ (becoming their highest selling album) and their final two albums taking a more experimental electronic direction. A series of early brilliant EPs were later collated in the magnificent album ‘Pre-Deity’ – an album of such stature that it should be compulsory in any collection.
As with their compatriots and peers The Go-Betweens and The Triffids, the band never achieved the commercial success they deserved.
Peno, the mesmerising front man, and Brett Myers, the architect of the distinctive jangling guitar sound went on to other projects – Peno later based in Melbourne and playing with his band The Superstitions and Myers based north of Sydney playing in Joey’s Coop.
In 2008, the band reformed to play a series of gigs across Australia to celebrate ‘Doughboy Hollow’ as part of a ‘Don’t Look Back’ series, and the result are magnificently captured in ‘Live At The Forum 2008’.
I had a few interactions with Peno recently, personally thanking me for some recent reviews, and he was the most gentlest and kindest of artists and of an immense talent that will sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies go to his family and friends.