Mimi Parker, Vocalist and Drummer of Low, Dies at 55

Mimi Parker, vocalist and drummer of the acclaimed indie rock band Low, died Saturday following a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 55.

The band’s management confirmed Parker’s death to Variety.

Low shared the news of Parker’s death on its official Twitter account early Sunday morning writing: “Friends, it’s hard to put the universe into language and into a short message, but she passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours. Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”

Parker and her husband, Alan Sparhawk, formed Low in 1993. The two would be consistent members of the band, although additional players were exchanged throughout the years.

Low worked with numerous celebrated producers in its long history, including Steve Albini, Dave Fridmann and Kramer, who produced the band’s beloved debut record “I Could Live In Hope” in 1994. In 2004, Low released “The Great Destroyer,” their first record under Sub Pop, which has remained their home label to date. In 2021, Parker and Sparhawk released their first album as a sole duo titled “Hey What,” produced by BJ Burton, who also handled the band’s well-loved 2018 record “Double Negative.”

Following her ovarian cancer diagnosis in Dec. 2020, Parker began treatment in 2021 and revealed her health troubles to the public in a 2022 interview. Earlier this October, Low canceled the remainder of their 2022 tour dates as Parker continued treatment.

“There have been difficult days, but your love has sustained us and will continue to lift us through this time,” Sparhawk said in a statement shared via Instagram. “Our hearts go out immediately to others in similar situations but who don’t have as many people sending such love and healing wishes. Find someone who is alone who needs a chat and give them your time and love. With tears, we say thank you and hope to see you soon.”

Low had a North American headline tour scheduled for March 2023.

The band’s inception can be traced to Sparhawk’s first band, a stripped-down project (inspired by Jane’s Addiction and R.E.M., according to a 2007 Face Clash interview) called Zen Identity. Parker joined as a drummer alongside bassist John Nichols, which then morphed into Low by 1993. Nichols was later replaced by Zak Sally, who spent 12 years with the band.

Low’s music and the band’s legacy are often tied to the birth of “slowcore,” a rock sub-genre characterized by minimalist rhythmic patterns and sluggish tempos. The band would grow more experimental over time, adding glitchy elements of electronica on new releases, but remained grounded in their fundamentalist approach. The combination of Parker and Sparhawk’s vocals, with their chilling harmonies and grunge-oriented instrumentals, remained at the core of the band.

Born in 1967, Parker grew up in a small town near Bemidji, Minn.. Her start with music came at a young age, singing alongside her sister, who played guitar and also sang lead vocals. The duo played country and gospel songs, inspired by what they grew up listening to at home. She was also a percussionist in a concert band and a marching band at her high school. Parker met Sparhawk during her time at primary school and the pair began dating in high school.

Low has put out 13 full-length studio albums during its 29-year history. The couple would go on to shock fans and spectators alike when they confirmed their religious affiliations with the Mormon church, although they kept their beliefs at bay when it came to their public personas and sonic identities.

Parker is survived by her husband, Sparhawk, as well as their two children, Hollis and Cyrus.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.