R.I.P. Buster Stiggs (The Swingers)

We are sad to report that Mark Hough aka Buster Stiggs has passed away. He was the drummer for The Suburban Reptiles who eventually morphed into The Swingers.

The Swingers, also featuring Phil Judd and Bones Hillman (later of Midnight Oil), scored with the iconic Kiwi hit Counting The Beat.

Bones Hillman has posted this moving tribute to his former bandmate on his Facebook page. Here it is:

Poroporoaki – Farewell and Rest In Peace my dearest friend.

I awoke this morning with a mist surrounding the LA Hills and as the sun began to break through revealing the city, I sadly got word that Buster Stiggs / Mark Hough had finally passed away after a long battle with health issues and over 20 operations during the last 7 years.

We all lose people in our lives its a sad reality, but this bugger was a seminal part of the journey which has lead me to where I am today. We first met in 1977 he was a dashing art student and I was a pimply faced western suburbs teenager with a burning desire to be a musician. I was in a band called the Masochists and he played drums in The Suburban Reptiles, The Masochists had a rehearsal space on K rd and our own gear and the Reptiles had the look the press and no gear. We caught a glimpse of them lurking on the street listening to the awkward out of tune covers and original songs we were trying to master.
On mass we all ran down the stairs yelling fuck off and chased them down the road, like a protective gang trying to own a turf.

As time went by we all became friends as there were only a handful of musicians in those days playing loud fast and dirty, it was the dawning of a new age the 70’s hippy bands were now becoming dinosaurs and a new new breed of angry young men and woman from the suburbs were emerging, but sadly the 70’s drugs still remained and took a toll on a lot of young Kiwis.

None of us really played live much maybe 4 times a year and it was all image and bullshit to a degree, and just mimicking what was coming out of the UK at the time.
One Night the Masochists were due to open for the Reptiles at Disco Dora, alas I was the only member of my band to actually turn up and whom ever was playing bass for the Reptiles failed to appear so I joined the band on the spot, rather easy really what key is it in ? the answer was always E and its fast, I think I played the same bass line 20 times that night. I spent a short stint in the Reptiles and then went back to another incarnation of my old band mates.

A couple of years passed and in !979 Buster and myself joined forces with Phil Judd and formed The Swingers, from the get go our musical DNA clicked and we spent 6 months locked away in a room working on a repertoire of over 30 original songs.
It was a unique magical time we found our wings and recorded songs that actually charted and sold records, one in particular sold a shit load and sat at number one on the charts for nearly two months in two countries.

I will always cherish those times we spent deep in seclusion working on our craft.
In 1981 we fired Buster from the band, not due to any musical issue but because Phil and I were living in a flat in Melbourne burning our furniture to keep warm, and Buster was living in a house with carpet and Sunday roasts, once again the gang mentality prevailed.
We continued on for another couple of years without him but the magic had vanished and we became known as one hit wonders.

I made my peace with Buster around 1985 and we remained good friends, and saw each other frequently until he moved to Perth. He was a ladies man for sure and had some interesting relationships, one we named the Stack Hat as she would always fall down the stairs to the dressing rooms after a show. I would always see him when the Oils toured there but that wasn’t on a yearly basis.

In October 2017 he attended our show at Perth Arena in a wheelchair, and i knew it would be the last time I would see him, I was told earlier in the year that he probably wouldn’t be around by October, but he held on long enough to see me one more time against the odds.

I would like to thank my brothers in the Oils and our crew they were all so accommodating and caring, we bought him and his loved ones backstage and had a special spot held for him in the arena. And all my loves goes out to Donna, Ash and Simone.

I miss you brother and today I feel extra vulnerable, love you always.