Urge Overkill Drummer Blackie Onassis Passes Away

15 June 2023 | 9:25 am | Mary Varvaris

Blackie Onassis joined Urge Overkill as they were recording their third album, 1991’s The Supersonic Storybook.

Blackie Onassis

Blackie Onassis ('Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon' music video via YouTube)

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Urge Overkill drummer Blackie Onassis (real name John Rowan) has passed away at age 57, Pitchfork and Billboard report. At the time of writing, no cause of death has been revealed.

“Urge Overkill is saddened to report that Blackie has passed away,” the band wrote on Facebook four hours ago. “Please respect our privacy at this time. We are sending much love to his family and all his fans. We know he will be missed.”

Rowan joined Urge Overkill as they were recording their third album, 1991’s The Supersonic Storybook. The band even had a shout-out to their new drummer on the album, with the third track, Today Is Blackie's Birthday, directly mentioning him.

It didn’t take long for Rowan to find fame within Urge Overkill. 

After releasing the Stull EP in 1992, which featured their take on Neil Diamond’s classic, Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon, the track was subsequently used during Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction

Urge Overkill became a household name and popularised a 1967 song as John Travolta’s Vincent Vega found Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace suffering a drug overdose.

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Rowan left Urge Overkill in 1996. Earlier this year, the band celebrated the 30th anniversary of 1993’s Saturation. Rowan also played on 1995’s Exit The Dragon, which was the band’s final release for 15 years.

Urge Overkill reformed in 2004, with Nash Kato and Eddie "King" Roeser going on without Rowan. Their most recent release, Oui, was released in January 2022. Rowan lost touch with his bandmates after playing on Kato’s debut solo album, 2000’s Debutante.

In a quote Rowan issued to the Los Angeles Times about his stage name, he said, “I’m not Blackie Onassis because of my personal life, I’m Blackie Onassis because I drum in Urge. I like being Blackie Onassis; it’s like living in a musical wonderland.”

You can view a photo of Rowan with Jack Black below.

Thank you for the love and support today. We wanted to share this photo of Blackie, we hope you like it as much as we do. Photo courtesy of Nash Kato 📸 Jack Black

Posted by Urge Overkill on Wednesday, June 14, 2023