News December 18, 2020

Flatheads’ bassist Nigel Spencer passes away

Flatheads’ bassist Nigel Spencer passes away

Nigel Spencer passed away in the US, aged about 68, apparently from complications from the coronavirus.

The guitarist, synth player and bassist had by age 16 established himself as a hotshot guitarist on Victoria’s surfside Mornington Peninsula.

He attended school with Flatheads’ drummer Bill McDonough and guitarist Guy McDonough. When he joined, he decided to switch from lead guitar to bass.

Bill McDonough recalled: “He was one of the most exciting bass players it was my pleasure to play with as a drummer. His style was so different, because coming from being a lead player, he approached the bass guitar differently to any other player I’d encountered.”

The Flatheads included synthesiser player Sean Higgins who helped the McDonoughs write ‘Downhearted’ and ‘Things Don’t Seem’ which became hits for Australian Crawl, and Robert Walker who is currently CEO of the Australian Music Association.

After The Flatheads’ split, Spencer moved to the US and based himself in Ventura, in California. There he earned a reputation in tech circles, initially for his Facebook forum Synthzone that kept abreast of the technical data and innovation in the synthesiser industry.

He then became an IT programmer for video games companies, writing the gaming software and contributing to their soundtracks.

Twenty years ago, Spencer survived a massive brain haemorrhage.

He also played on the 1985 posthumous Guy McDonough tribute LP My Place produced by his brother Bill.

Next year, My Place will be reissued with remastered tracks and Flatheads demos on McDonough’s UMGA label.

Also coming out in 2021 McDonough’s book Sons Of Beaches: The Adventures of Bill And Guy McDonough.

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