Brad Houser, Bass Player and Co-Founder of New Bohemians, Dead at 62

Staff Writer on July 25, 2023
Brad Houser, Bass Player and Co-Founder of New Bohemians, Dead at 62

Photo via Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ Facebook

Brad Houser, the multi-instrumentalist and renowned Dallas-area musician, has passed away. The artist died yesterday, Monday, July 24, after suffering from a stroke on July 17, resulting in hospitalization and initial critical condition status. Houser was 62.

Houser was a founding member of New Bohemians, later dubbed Edie Brickell & New Bohemians–known for their hit 1988 number, “What I Am,” which appeared on the ensemble’s debut set, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. Houser also co-founded Seattle-bred band Critters Buggin with fellow Bohemian bandmate Matt Chamberlain, in addition to membership in The Dead Kenny G’s. 

On July 19, following Houser’s medical emergency, Brickell and her New Bohemian band members wrote a message to fans and followers across their social media platforms. It read: “It’s with a heavy heart that we ask for prayers and energy for our good friend, brother and bandmate, Brad Houser. Brad suffered a major stroke on Monday and is currently in the hospital in critical condition. We want to say thank you to the many friends and family that have reached out in support of Brad and his wife Kiri. We love you all, and we are truly grateful.”

The musician was born John Bradley Houser on Sept. 7, 1960, and was known for his instrumentation on bass guitar, baritone saxophone, and bass clarinet. In addition to performing, Houser was a known writer for Bass Musician magazine and worked alongside Reverend Guitars to develop a pair of axes, one of which was dubbed “Basshouser.” 

Most recently, he worked at the Austin, Texas located, New School of Music, an organization focused on jazz instruction for those who could not afford music lessons by offering free classes to underserved students and providing instruments that could be taken home and used for practice. In addition to his goodwill approach, Houser advocated for animals and rescue organizations. 

Following the artist’s passing, Brickell shared words of remembrance; “Just spent 6 weeks playing and recording with my friends, New Bohemians. It was our final day recording and Brad was about to take off for a gig when I said, ‘Aw, come on! One more jam, Brad. You start it.’ He nodded and played this great part and I started singing about him to him with the biggest smile on my face just having fun. I was celebrating his generosity to stay and play one last song with me. But I never thought it would be our final song together. Our band’s very last jam was a playful song about Brad. I loved him. He taught me a lot.”

Houser is survived by his wife, Kirilola Onokoro, musician and former bassist in the Japanese group Ex-Girl.