Parker created Low in the early 1990s with husband Alan Sparhawk, and their simple alternative to the era’s grunge-heavy music earned them recognition as one of indie-most rock’s creative bands.
Mimi Parker, the drummer, vocalist, and composer for Minnesota indie band Low, has died, according to her husband and bandmate Alan Sparhawk. In December 2020, Parker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The band’s management verified her age as 55.
The news was announced on social media by the band. “Friends, it’s difficult to put the universe into words and a brief message, but She died last night, surrounded by family and affection, including yours.” Keep her name near to your heart and sacrosanct. Share this moment with someone who requires your assistance. The most essential thing.
The announcement comes after a spate of live events were cancelled owing to health concerns for Parker. Parker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2020, underwent treatment in 2021, and publicly announced her health status in a podcast appearance at the start of 2022.
Many of the band’s contemporaries paid homage online. “I heard the news in the most heinous circumstances, surrounded by degenerates, stuck and cursing, in a conference room in Deerfield,” wrote producer Steve Albini, who collaborated with the band on the 1996 Transmission EP as well as the albums Secret Name (1999) and Things We Lost in the Fire (2000). (2001). “I was overcome for a time, the sound of her voice resonating in my recollection, beautiful and tragic.” Mimi Parker, best wishes. Requiescat.
We can’t explain how upset we are by this news,” Beak>, the Bristol trio helmed by Geoff Barrow, also of Portishead, said. Mimi and Alan have made some of the best music of our time, and spending time with them was humbling for us. A lovely pair. Our hearts go out to Alan and his family.
Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai was “extremely saddened” by the news. Parker was also remembered by Cosey Fanni Tutti and Tracey Thorn.
Parker was born in 1967 in a little village outside of Bemidji, Minnesota, and grew up there. She began playing music at an early age, creating harmonies to accompany her sister’s guitar and leads. Their parents had exposed them to old country and gospel songs, which they sung along to.
Parker subsequently told Stereogum that music was “a consolation, a place of escape” for her during this period. In high school, she also participated in a concert band and a marching band.
Parker met future bandmate and spouse Alan Sparhawk in primary school before forming Low with bassist John Nichols in 1993. She began by using brushes instead of drumsticks and a simple drum equipment consisting of a snare, cymbal, and floor tom. I Could Live in Hope, the band’s debut album, was released in 1994 and was subsequently featured in Pitchfork’s 1999 list of the finest albums of the 1990s.
While other members of the band came and went, Parker and Sparhawk stayed at the helm during the band’s almost 30-year existence.
Low are regarded as one of the most creative and proficient names in indie music, thanks to their slow, simple compositions and frequently sombre delivery. The band has been connected with the rock subgenre “slowcore” despite members explicitly disapproving of the name, having created a gentler alternative to the hard, grunge-oriented sounds of the 1990s.
Low have released 13 full-length studio albums in their 29-year existence. While keeping an unique aural identity, the band has incorporated several styles throughout their tenure. Their 1999 EP Christmas is one of the most renowned indie-rock interpretations on holiday music, and it garnered the band even more notoriety when it was featured on a Gap clothes advertisement.
Their two most recent LPs, Double Negative and Hey What, released by Sub Pop in 2018 and 2021, respectively, saw the band make greater dives into electronic music and digital manipulation, something they tried on the 1999 album Secret Name, and were acclaimed as brilliant career reinventions.
Following the resignation of bassist Steve Garrington after 12 years and four studio albums, the band officially became a duo in 2021.
Parker is survived by her two children, Hollis and Cyrus, as well as Sparhawk.