Former Danzig + D Generation Bassist Howie Pyro Has Died at 61
Howie Pyro, the bassist who helped found the glammy New York City punkers D Generation and later played in Danzig, died on Wednesday (May 4). He was 61, as Rolling Stone reported.
Pyro, whose real name was Howard Kusten, died from COVID-19-related pneumonia, as D Generation lead vocalist Jesse Malin confirmed. Pyro had been in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a liver transplant last year after a long battle with liver disease.
Before his time in D Generation, Pyro also played in 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 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 back 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 DGen singer recalled. "We came out of hardcore, so we figured we could take this on and take it into our own hands and actually make something."
Malin and Pyro steered D Generation's first incarnation until 1999. They reformed in 2011 (with original members Richard Bacchus, Danny Sage and Michael Wildwood) but have been inactive for several years.
With Ramone, Pyro contributed to the 2002 holiday effort Christmas Spirit… In My House. With the group Splinter Test, he played on 1997's Electric Newspaper: Issue Four.
Pyro performed on one studio album by Danzig, 2002's Danzig 777: I Luciferi, which features guitar contributions from fellow D Generation alum Todd Youth. Pyro's live playing can be heard on the 2001 Danzig concert album, Live on the Black Hand Side.
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 rock stars.