If you know the name Paul Hester, chances are good that you know more than one song he played drums on. But if you're not familiar with his name – and you didn't know he was the drummer for Crowded House – then this lovely song is likely what you think of when you think of his music.
Hailing from Australia and New Zealand, Crowded House stormed the charts in 1986 with their gentle ballad… and then, in the eyes of most of the world, dropped out of sight. But to fans of the band, that couldn't be further from the truth. Some of their finest work came after that hit single, and Paul Hester was there for much of it.
Crowded House: Paul Hester, Neil Finn, Nick Seymour (Wikimedia Commons/Andwhatsnext)
As the band made small waves on college radio with their follow-up album, Temple of Low Men, Hester tried his hands at songwriting. One of his compositions is on the band's third – and Hester's last – album, Woodface. "Italian Plastic" was never a single, but it's a fan favorite and it's often played at concerts.
Paul Hester left the band in 1994, overwhelmed with touring and wishing to spend more time with his family. But he couldn't stay away from music. He played as a session drummer and helped publicize the Melbourne music scene… and one of his musical gigs might have made him more recognizable to our kids than to older generations. He played Paul the Cook on The Wiggles – that's him in the middle, in white chef's gear:
In 2005, a long history of depression caught up with Hester, and he committed suicide on March 26. He left his former bandmates devastated, and at the next concert they played, a single snare drum stood at the front of the stage in memory of Hester.
Written by Linnea Crowther