Nektar founding member and drummer Ron Howden dead at 78

(Image credit: Press)

Nektar founding member and drummer Ron Howden has died aged 78, it has been confirmed. Fellow band mate and founder, guitarist Derek 'Mo' Moore confirmed the news with a post on social media earlier today.

Howden had endured various health problems in recent years, including battling and beating cancer in 2016.

In his statement, Moore said, "It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that my friend and rhythm section partner for 60 years, Ron Howden, has passed on to the great gig in the sky. He was with us on Sunday when we jammed on new music at Ryche’s house and we had a great day with him. Plans were made for the future, record the new music, get it out and maybe a short tour in the spring to support it. Don’t know where that stands now he is gone but I know he was a big part of it on Sunday. Frankly I am heartbroken, I cannot imagine a world without Ron in it.

"He has been battling different health problems including cancer since 2016 and beat it all back and survived each occurrence. Chemotherapy knocked him out but he played through it all.

"Born in Sheffield, England in January 1945 he is survived by his wife Ann Howden, Ilene howden, his sister Brenda, his daughters, Julie and Tanya and their respective families and the entire Nektar family.

"We played together since we were kids (18 and 19 respectively). I see him now coming up to the front of the stage in Nancy, France and telling me he wanted to play with us. The band was the Upsetters. We were playing US Army bases. I knew him well from the Sheffield scene. We swapped drummers that night and our lifetime trip together started that night. It was December 1964.

"There will be a celebration of life for Ron in the near future."

Howdden and Moore formed Nektar in 1969 with guitarist and vocalist Roye Albrighton, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards and artists Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and "special effects".

The band released a series of acclaimed albums, such as 1971 debut album Journey To The Centre Of The Eye,  A Tab In The Ocean (1972) and Remember The Future (1973), the latter breaking the Top 20 in the US, and despite being British, always found more acclaim in Germany.

Nektar originally disbanded in 1978, with Albrighton briefly resurrecting them in the 1980s. The original line-up reunited to play NEARfest in the USA in 2002 and Howden remained in the band until Albrighton died in 2016, aged 67. Howden and Moore formed a new line-up of the band with guitarist/vocalist Ryche Chlander, bassist Randy Dembo and keyboard player Kendall Scott, with Mick Brockett returning on special effects.

The band released a new studio album The Other Side in 2020.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.