Beachwood Sparks Guitarist Josh Schwartz Dead at 45

Los Angeles guitarist Josh Schwartz, most well-known for his work with Beachwood Sparks and Further in the late 1990s, has passed away at the age of 45. Schwartz was diagnosed with ALS in 2011; in 2014, Ariel Pink, Miranda Lee Richards, John C. Reilly, and others performed at a benefit concert for the guitarist and songwriter to assist his medical costs. Brent Rademaker, who played with Schwartz in both Beachwood Sparks and Further, gave the following statement about his friend and collaborator, via Pitchfork:

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 magic.

Schwartz also released a solo album as Painted Hills in 2010, which you can listen to here.


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