Brad Houser, Dallas native and New Bohemians co-founder, dead at 62

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ Brad Houser (far right).
Photo: Todd Crusham

Dallas music has lost one of its brightest lights.

Brad Houser has died. He was 62 years old.

Houser, an acclaimed bassist, long-time fixture of the Dallas music scene and co-founder of New Bohemians, a group which would catapult to national fame as Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, suffered a stroke on July 17 in Austin, where he lived with his wife, Kirilola Onokoro.

Houser was on life support until the afternoon of July 24, when he was taken off life support, just before 5 PM.

Brickell posted a remembrance on Facebook not long after Houser’s passing.

“[I] just spent six weeks playing and recording with my friends, New Bohemians,” Brickell wrote. “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.”

Indeed, it’s Houser’s elastic, kinetic and singular bass playing which helped propel Brickell and New Bohemians’ 1988 hit single “What I Am.”

The outpouring of emotion at the news of Houser’s passing was evident across social media Monday, with local and national artists alike sharing stories of Houser’s skill, his friendly demeanor, and his influential style.

“So very sorry for your personal loss, the loss for his family and the loss to the bass and music community,” wrote Leland Sklar. “Breaks my heart!”

Born John Bradley Houser, the Dallas native also played the baritone saxophone and bass clarinet. In addition to New Bohemians, Houser co-founded Critters Buggin and the Dead Kenny Gs, and contributed to a slew of recordings, including work from Patrice Pike, Aimee Bobruk, Mastica and many others.

His final New Bohemians studio release was 2021’s Hunter and the Dog Star.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.