Adam Johnstone, lead guitarist for the Melbourne power-pop grup Romero, has died. Johnstone’s brother and bandmate Dave shared the news in a statement on the band’s Instagram, revealing that Adam passed away last month at 32 after a battle with cancer. Read the post in full below.
Adam and Dave formed Romero in 2019 alongside vocalist Alanna Oliver, bassist Justin Tawil, and guitarist Fergus Sinclair. Adam and Dave had previously played in a band called Summer Blood. “I had known Adam for maybe two weeks or something, I met him through a friend at a bar one night,” Oliver recalled in our Artist Spotlight interview. “We hit it off and were speaking about music, and I went over to Adam’s house and tried singing with him for a bit. Then Dave came along and jammed, and not too long after Murry and Ferg were there, and it was really cool. I was all of a sudden playing with four dudes who I didn’t know a month ago, and I could tell it was something really special.”
“I remember when I met Adam, he swore that he would never play live music again on stage,” she added. “And I was like, ‘What the fuck? Okay. Cool, I’m gonna totally change that.’ It was like my goal was to get this guy out there. It was just so funny. We were all really in just stagnant places. And it’s so great to think, what comes out of just like taking a punt, saying, ‘Yeah, alright, I’ll give it a go.'”
Romero released their debut album, Turn It On!, last spring.
It is with immense sadness that I share the news of our beloved Adam Johnstone, who passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family and friends on October 17.
He was my brother, bandmate and best friend for my whole life, and I am left incomplete now that he is gone, however he has fought so hard over the past 5 years and more than anyone deserves the peaceful rest and eternal sunshine of whatever lies beyond.
Adam had been battling cancer since 2019, but he never let it define him or determine his memory. He recorded the Romero album and 7” while in various stages of treatment, and remained tough (and vegan) until the very end.
It goes without saying that he was an incredibly gifted musician. He knew how to write a fucking riff. I had a front row seat to all of his songwriting, and it always had such a haunting, nostalgic and tortured beauty to it, like he was relaying so much pain through the only way he could communicate it, channeling it through a tunnel of love and letting it bleed through his guitar.
He is survived by his wife Megan, his family, his close friends, all those who had their minds blown by a live performance, and by his recorded music. Please continue to celebrate his life by listening to his amazing songwriting and guitar in Romero, Summer Blood, and his few beautiful solo recordings as Boredwalk.
Let us remember him as the strong, loyal, expressive and unique cowboy he was. In his memory, live with authenticity, justice, honesty and kindness, look out for your friends and family, listen to real music and relish the times with good company and plenty of liquor.
For those interested in coming to his memorial the details will be shared on our facebook.
Long live Adam and long live Romero
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