Tributes to Mimi Parker, the drummer and vocalist of the pioneering slowcore group Low, came pouring in when her husband and bandmate, Alan Sparhawk, announced her death on Low’s social media Sunday morning (November 6). Parker passed away Saturday night at 55 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
“Friends, it’s hard to put the universe into language and into a short message, but she passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours,” Sparhawk wrote. “Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”
Parker grew up in Bemidji, Minnesota and moved to Duluth for college. She and Sparhawk met in grade school, started dating in high school, and married several years later. They founded Low in the spring of 1993, recording and performing with a rotating cast of bassists throughout their nearly 29 years as a group. In that time, they released 13 studio albums and a number of shorter projects, including a yuletide EP whose opener (“Just Like Chrstmas”) became one of their most popular songs.
Along with Galaxie 500, Low were among the most prominent pioneers of the quiet and minimalist slowcore subgenre of rock, inspiring later acts like Duster and Red House Painters. Within the band, Parker was known for her soft touch — both in her restrained drum lines and aching vocal melodies — a perfect foil for Sparhawk’s droning, often heavy, guitar solos and nasal, often animated, singing style. They continued to explore new forms as a duo all the way to the end, with 2021’s Hey What featuring some of their noisiest, most cathartic music to date.
Below, read remembrances and kind words from the multitude of musicians, critics, and fans who were touched by Parker’s transcendent work.