By chance, I just learned moments ago that Craig Lorentson passed away on June 4th. Craig was the singer for Lowlife, one of my favorite bands of all time. He was 44 years old.
I was introduced to Lowlife in the early ’90s via a mixed tape from my ex. “Permanent Sleep” and “Marjory’s Dream” were the first songs I ever heard, and I was instantly smitten. Craig’s deep, melting voice and Will Heggie’s layered basses (also heard on the brilliant, early releases from the Cocteau Twins) were the stuff of dreams. Half of the time I couldn’t understand what Craig was singing, but no matter. The intensity of emotion in his voice and the dark atmosphere of the music were enough. Learning the correct lyrics years later only cemented my admiration for Craig’s skills as a songwriter and vocalist.
As is the case with many bands who “never obtained mainstream popularity,” the quest to find recordings and news and video—especially pre-internet-as-we-know-it—became obsessive. For years, no trip to a used record store was complete without time spent flipping through the “L”s in search of an elusive album or EP. If I ever happened to chance upon someone who had even heard of Lowlife, it was an exciting day. (I think this happened three times, if that.) Years later, the ex who introduced me to the band became their webmaster.
Lowlife’s relative obscurity has always frustrated me. I wish they would have kept on making music together, kept playing shows all over the world, and become just a little bit more famous. The music industry is not a fair one, though, and massive success was not in the cards for Lowlife. I encourage you to take a little time to seek out their music, though—if you like The Chameleons or The Cure or And Also the Trees or Joy Division/New Order or Interpol or Cocteau Twins or…well, you get the picture…you are likely to fall in love with Lowlife, and with Craig Lorentson’s voice.