Josh Schwartz, the guitarist and songwriter who performed with Beachwood Sparks and Further, has died. His former bandmate Brent Rademaker confirmed to Pitchfork that he passed after a battle with ALS. He was 45. Schwartz joined Rademaker’s band Further in the early ’90s, playing with them until they broke up in 1997. He was part of the original lineup for Beachwood Sparks, which formed that same year. He contributed to their album Desert Skies, which was recorded in the late ’90s but did not see release until 2013.
After leaving the band in 1999, Schwartz worked with artists including Flight of the Conchords, Lou Barlow, and Tift Merritt. In 2010, he released a solo album as Painted Hills. The next year, Schwartz was diagnosed with ALS. In 2014, his friends and family sought funding to help cover the cost of stem cell therapy. Artists including Ariel Pink, John C. Reilly, and Rademaker, performed a benefit concert for him in Los Angeles. Rademaker says Schwartz had “a few unreleased solo things that will blow minds.” Read Rademaker’s tribute to his late bandmate below.
When I met Josh he was 18, still had braces on his teeth and could
play guitar like Neil Young and J Mascis. I started two bands with
him Further and Beachwood Sparks, he was like a brother to us. Anyone
who saw those groups knows that Josh was a supernatural force. An
extraordinary guitar player and gifted songwriter. I urge anyone who
hasn't heard his music to do so.
When Josh was diagnosed with ALS he was so brave, he never complained
he just immersed himself in listening to music and buying records. I
think the best insight into Josh is the fact that just weeks before
going into the hospital for the last time, he was still supporting his
friends and favorite artists, he bought an Eric Gaffney limited
edition signed solo album from Eric's Bandcamp page knowing that Eric
needed the support.
In the last few years Josh was paralyzed by ALS and could only
communicate with his eyes through his computer but still loved to have
company and host parties, listening to records and watching movies It
definitely helped him outlive the doctor’s diagnosed time. They even
took him out see his favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr and Neil.
Personally he was a quiet person but not shy. He was incredibly funny
as well. He had a knack for the kind of sarcasm that made light of any
bad situation. It helped relieve tension on tour or in the studio. He
was one of those rare people that really brought out the best in
others. It was hard to be a jerk when Josh was around. He really was