Johnny Rowan, who drummed for ’90s alt rockers Urge Overkill under the name Blackie Onassis, has died at age 57, the band announced Wednesday (June 14).
“Urge Overkill is saddened to report that Blackie has passed away,” read a post on the band’s social media accounts. “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.” In a second post, the band thanked fans for their “love and support” following the news and shared a recent photo of Rowan with actor/musician Jack Black. “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.”
Rowan — who joined the band in 1991, ahead of the band’s major-label signing to Geffen — drummed on Urge Overkill’s best-known hit: their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack in 1994. The song was the Chicago band’s lone Billboard Hot 100 entry, peaking at No. 59. It topped out at No. 11 on the Alternative Airplay chart, and the song’s music video was nominated for best video from a film at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. The Pulp Fiction soundtrack peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and spent a hefty 107 weeks on the chart.
Urge Overkill also had a top 10 rock and alternative hit in “Sister Havana” from Saturation, their first album for Geffen in 1993. “Sister Havana” peaked at No. 6 on Alternative Airplay and No. 10 on Modern Rock Airplay.
Exit the Dragon, the band’s second and final album for Geffen in 1995, was also the last UO album for Rowan, who didn’t rejoin the group when it re-formed in 2004. Onassis did, however, team with Urge Overkill frontman Nash Kato to co-write six songs on his 2000 solo debut Debutante.