Nektar Founding Member, Ron Howden, Dies

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Nektar (with Albrighton second from L), pictured at BB King's Blues Club & Grill in NYC in 2013, via their Facebook page

Nektar (with Ron Howden second from R), pictured at BB King’s Blues Club & Grill in NYC in 2013 (Photo via their Facebook page)

Ron Howden, the drummer and founding member for 1970s-era progressive rock band Nektar, died September 29, 2023. His death, at age 78, was confirmed by the band’s co-founder and bass player, Derek “Mo” Moore, on his Facebook page:

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that my friend and rhythm section partner for 60 years, Ron Howden, has passed on to the great gig in the sky. He was with us on Sunday when we jammed on new music at Ryche’s house and we had a great day with him. Plans were made for the future, record the new music, get it out and maybe a short tour in the spring to support it. Don’t know where that stands now he is gone but I know he was a big part of it on Sunday. Frankly I am heartbroken, I cannot imagine a world without Ron in it.

“He has been battling different health problems including Cancer since 2016 and beat it all back and survived each occurrence. Chemotherapy knocked him out but he played through it all.”

Howden was born in Sheffield, U.K., on January 5, 1945. Moore noted that they performed together since they were in their late teens, beginning in December 1964 on U.S. Army bases in a band called the Upsetters. “I knew him well from the Sheffield scene. We swapped drummers that night and our lifetime trip together started.”

Howden was still performing earlier this year.

Nektar formed in Hamburg, Germany, in 1969 during the wave of popularity for progressive rock bands, and they released a new studio album each year from 1971-1975. Besides Moore and Howden, the other original members were Roye Albrighton, the lead singer and guitarist, Allan Freeman on keyboards, as well as Mick Brockett on lights and special effects. Some of their first releases were concept albums and 1973’s Remember the Future reached #19 on the U.S. albums chart.

Albrighton died on July 27, 2016, after a long illness.

Listen to the title track from 1972’s A Tab in the Ocean

Albrighton left the band in the mid-1970s and Nektar disbanded after the release of their 1980 album Man in the Moon only to re-form in 2002 with original members Albrighton and Howden. Their final album was 2013’s Time Machine.

Related: Musicians we’ve lost in 2023

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  1. Concertrader3
    #1 Concertrader3 30 September, 2023, 08:24

    Earlier this year I caught the current version of Nektar at Daryl’s House. Ron Howden and the band were great. They played the entire Remember The Future. The band chatted with fans afterwards and I talked to Ron about a 1970s Nektar show in the Bronx with openers Roy Buchanan and The Dictators. What a nice guy. RIP

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