Heart Swells: RIP Steven Wells by Gareth
June 25, 2009, 1:18 pm
Filed under: CHAFF

Steven Wells hated us.

Though I scowled and said he was an over the hill idiot when he started slagging us a couple of years ago, I knew, deep down, a lot of it was true. I DID have shit hair and in hindsight my embracing of ‘twee’ was embarrassing, and something I dislike in others now. He hated our band, and I respected him all the more for it. As a middling touring indie band we do a lot of interviews. And though I am always very grateful that people care to speak to us about our band, most of them are mind numbingly boring and repetitive or somebody taking a journalism degree being kooky in an attempt to make a name for themselves within student media. Whenever we’ve passed through Philadelphia, I’ve hoped he’d be in attendance, or would be there to interview us and give us the same treatment he gave B&S in the ’90s. Every time we’ve played in Philly I’ve glanced around the venues looking for some snarling bald man in a corner.

“Sometimes right. Sometimes wrong. Always certain.”

A lot of his final pieces, writing for Philadelphia Weekly were on his battle with cancer, and were as brutally honest and moving as anything I have read on the subject since B S Johnson’s The Unfortunates. Last year, a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, and I referred him to some of Swells’ articles, and this inspired him to start documenting his own fight and I believe this was a great comfort to him for a time.

What I say about the man is inconsequential. I never knew or even met him, and there are plenty of accolades from those who did on his final article here. But, basically, there have been a few things that have stood out above others in Los Campesinos!’ short history that have made me think “shit, we’re really doing this”, and one of them was the first time I read Steven Wells ranting against us. That we were on his radar, and that he deemed us worthy of his bile was an honour. I think that says a lot for the man and how well respected he is amongst his peers and music fans.

In October last year, Swells wrote:

“I have seen the future. It’s Garry Bushell being kicked senseless by Gareth from Los Campesinos! forever. So it’s not all bad.”

I promise, if I ever get the chance, for the only good thing I can think of to ever come from Swindon, I will do that. Steven Wells, you will be missed.



18 Comments so far
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Wut? No comments? I’m sincerely going to miss being subjected to new rantings by the man (and that final article brought a solitary tear to my eye), so here’s hoping some L*ster B*ngs-style collection – or better still, a reprinting of his novel.


Comment by Alex

[…] Home Society Cultural Snow Los Campesinos! Uncarved Ben Myers, Man Of Letters Last Year’s Girl The Quietus Beard Phawker Happily Stupid […]

Pingback by Steven Wells tributes « Music That I Like

[…] lymphoma. There’s various tributes up around the web but we’re going to link to this one from Los Campesinos!, a band he hated and berated at length on several occasions. It compares […]

Pingback by [News] Steven Wells RIP — The CHURN

I don’t know any of his articles, but I mixed up my The Unfortunates last week and if your comparing then damn… I am for certain I would cry a little

Comment by vanessa

Sad day, and now Michael Jackson too.
What a week.

Comment by Jacob

I think my favourite was Steven trying to start a collection of money to pay you guys not to play Philadelphia. I will sorely miss my many arguments with Steven.

Comment by Brendan

Is that the guy that called LC! a 14 legged abortion? I’m sure that was him.

Anyway, RIP

Comment by Daniel

what a fun guy

Comment by Garrett


Comment by Tim

Los Campesinos! First Against Wall In TWAT! (The War Against Twee) by Steven Wells

Want to Tour America? Please Fill Out My Form

Comment by Julia

He was a fantastic writer (whether you agreed with him or not) and a massive influence personally (I stumbled onto the NME’s website just in time to catch his work when I was a teenager). I’ll miss him a lot more than I’ll miss Michael Jackson, that’s for sure.

Comment by Ian Mathers

Gareth, did you know you guys got a mention in his last published piece of fiction too?

Comment by Alex

I was walking down the street today, and I noticed a graffiti that read LC! inside a heart. I thought it was a mistake, but only a few steps later another graffiti read LOS CAMPESINOS!, and I saw that one over and over again for the following blocks. I just wanted to let you know that from now on you are forever immortalised in the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires and that made my cold winter morning a bit warmer.

Comment by sil

An absolutely class entry. Good for you for appreciating who and what he was.

Comment by Gregg

Paul Rideout, Swindon


Comment by Rob Sell

[…] a band Swells loved to rip to shreds in his print, also posted a truly classy tribute on their blog. And Everett True has compiled a pretty much exhaustive list at his own […]

Pingback by “Crap, horrible week”: RIP Steven Wells, Michael Jackson | Amsterdam Event Guide Amsterdam Events

Andy Partridge and XTC are from Swindon aren’t they. But yeah, I never really knew about him being too young and all but everything Ive heard makes me wish I was born 15-20 years earlier

Comment by innis

XTC is from swindon! remember that!

but this is a good article

Comment by J

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