Friday 18 August 2017, sadly saw the sudden passing of Cleary West, "Warfare Pulse Controller"of the Invercargill death metal band 'Hatred', of which he'd been bashing the drums for since it's formation in 1992.
I've had quite a bit to do with Cleary and his bandmates over the last 20 or so years. Particularly when I was bringing bands to tour NZ and would get Hatred open on the Invercargill or Dunedin dates. These included Brutal Truth, Pungent Stench (twice), Atomizer, Sticky Filth and numerous local bands.
|Hatred in Wellington on their 2014 'Hikoi of Hatred' tour. L to R Robbie, Cleary, Brady and Sam (RIP)|
I, as well as the many who knew him, will miss him for his hardcase personality and hilarious grasp of Southland self-depreciating humour.
My fondest memory of Cleary though, was not so much a funny one, but a more of a heart warming moment. Pungent Stench were playing the first night of their 2003 New Zealand tour in Invercargill at Tillermans. The show was packed with an enthusiastic audience who were stoked that an international underground metal band like them would come to play their town. So much so was the disbelief, that the bar had been receiving calls to ask if it was the real Pungent Stench and not just a tribute band using the same name. Stench blew the roof off that night and after about their second encore, I recall seeing Cleary jump up on the stage, grab the microphone and announce something along the lines of "Hey everyone, these guys have come all the way from the other side of the world to play this kick ass show for us. Let show them a big Invercargill round of appreciation!!!". Which of course it was followed by, leading on to yet another encore and one of the longest (and best) sets Pungent Stench played on that tour. I know that Martin, Alex & Mario from that line up of Pungent Stench, also felt this show to be a special stand out from all their years of touring and will be ensuring they get to read this.
At the time of writing, the remaining members of Hatred, Robbie and Brady (Sadly bass player Sam also passed away from cancer in 2016), are feeling pretty broken up at the loss of their mate and have agreed that yours truly should write the initial version of Cleary's obituary for the New Zealand metal community. As I'm sure many of you who knew Cleary will have lots entertaining stories to tell to about him, I'd like to make this post a live document that can be added to over time as his friends and whanau remember or feel ready to share. If you have something you'd like to add, leave it in the comments or pass it onto me via Brady or Robbie.
Haere ra e hoa, kua haere ki tua o te ārai - Farewell to my friend, he's gone to the other side of the veil
Following is Cleary's death notice as it appeared in the 19 August 2017 edition of the Southland Times:
WEST, Cleary James:
2.3.1972 - 17.8.2017
"Warfare Pulse Controller". It is with a broken heart and a touch of anger that we have to announce the sudden passing of Cleary. Loved son of Westy, brother of Bert, Rhondda, Nikki, Mary, Paul, and Darren. Father of Araya and birth father of Khellsey-Anna, Kaytlin and Shayla Rose, step dad of Zhan'e, Annekea, and Jacob. "A Hatred Mate" of Rob Dog, Brady, and Sam. Loved uncle of Crofty, dear friend of Keita, a lover of all things music and our heart and a laugh for any and all. Funeral arrangements to be announced.
\../ BRUTAL HAILS \../No flowers please but Araya likes chocolate! Messages to 64 Price Street, Invercargill.
Avenal Park Funeral Home, Invercargill
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