Former Danzig + D Generation Bassist Howie Pyro Has Died at 61
Howie Pyro, the bassist who co-founded glammy New York punk act D Generation and played in Danzig, died on Wednesday (May 4) at 61, Rolling Stone said.
The magazine reported that D Generation vocalist Jesse Malin confirmed that Pyro, whose real name was Howard Kusten, died from COVID-19-related pneumonia. Pyro had been in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a liver transplant after battling liver disease.
Before his time in D Generation, Pyro played in the bands The Blessed and Freaks. After that, he recorded with Ramones singer Joey Ramone, among others. He joined Misfits vocalist Glenn Danzig's namesake metal act, Danzig, for a stint in the early 2000s.
In 2016, Loudwire presented the Oral History of D Generation, as told by the members of the pioneering punk act themselves. In the overview, Malin remembered forming the group with Pyro from the ashes of the early punk rock scene in 1991.
"We wanted to make a band that would be the band that we always dreamed about wanting to go see, a band that really didn't exist anymore," the D Generation singer recalled. "We came out of hardcore, so we figured we could take this on and take it into our own hands."
Malin and Pyro steered D Generation's first outing until 1999. They reformed in 2011 with the classic lineup of Richard Bacchus, Danny Sage and Michael Wildwood, but they have been inactive for several years.
Pyro performs on Danzig Danzig 777: I Luciferi (2002), which features contributions from fellow D Generation alum Todd Youth. Pyro's live playing can be heard on the 2001 Danzig live album, Live on the Black Hand Side.
With Ramone, Pyro contributed to 2002's Christmas Spirit… In My House. With Splinter Test, he played on 1997's Electric Newspaper: Issue Four. Alongside the Misfits' Jerry Only, he was reportedly present the night that Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious died in 1979.
Pyro was also a prolific party DJ and lifelong movie buff, per Rolling Stone. He was born on June 28, 1960, in Queens, New York City, adopting the stage name Howie Pyro by 15, around the same time he relocated to NYC punk's then-epicenter of the Lower East Side.
Loudwire sends its condolences to Pyro's family, friends and fans as the rock and metal community continues to endure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted several other artists.
See Malin's tribute to Pyro below.