RIP Buster Stiggs

It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the death of our friend and bandmate, Buster Stiggs.

Earlier today, Sean wrote:

“Buster was the sweetest guy one could meet, seeing him go through such an ordeal was truly heart-breaking.

He was incredibly supportive of his friends, and a delight to be around or catch up with, even though he was managing his personal battles with his health. His good humour remained with him right ’til the end, his only wish was for some peace so to do some painting and shoot the breeze, whilst watching his adored son Ash grow to be a man.

Our condolences go out to Ash, and Buster’s family, and to all his friends and colleagues who are no doubt devastated to hear that he’s gone.”

Buster joined the band in 1981, fresh from his New Zealand compatriot’s group, The Swingers, and following the enormous success of their single, Counting the Beat, co-written by Buster. The Australia-wide tour with The Police, secured Models a record deal with A&M Records, Europe.

Our subsequent trip to England was the first time overseas for us, and in recent discussions with Buster, was a high point of his life. Ours too.

It was the year of the marriage of Charles and Diana, and of riots at the Nottinghill Carnival – a study in contrasts.

Buster was a natural fit in London, ever stylish, and promptly, the best dressed guy in the band. Gregarious, he ingratiated himself with the Jamaican community, and we gained entrance to hitherto inaccessible clubs and parties.

We mixed it with label mates, The Police, Squeeze, Midnight Oil, Split Enz, and Joan Armatrading; went to gigs by The Jam, Kraftwerk, and The Cramps. We watched The Birthday Party tear up the room at the Africa Club. We sat and played the rough mixes of our album to Nico at Branson’s Manor Studios.

Buster played and contributed to the records, Cut Lunch and Local and/or General, still thought by many to be the finest work by the band.

Over the last several years, we’d see Buster whenever we came to Perth, either collectively with Models, or individually with Rockwiz, or Absolutely Eighties. We were aware of his diminishing health, but Buster was resolutely cheerful. His talk was always of the great love and pride he had in his son, Ash.

This photo of Andrew, Buster, Mark and Sean was taken backstage at the Myer Music Bowl in 1981. Hopefully, we’ll turn up some better quality photos in days to come.

RIP Buster. Thanks for the great work.

With love, Sean, Andrew & Mark.