Joe Maher from Flowered Up RIP

We are sorry to report the death of Joe Maher from Flowered Up. Joe was the younger brother of the late Liam Maher, who was the bands vocalist and was the band's more than adept guitar player. His playing was key to the Flowered Up sound as the band created a wonky, acid house drenched version of Ian Dury and the Blockheads in the middle of the acid house period.

They were a lot more than the press tag of London's answer to the Happy Mondays with a complex and clever music that somehow managed to capture the mayhem of the E soaked inner city estates of that wild and crazy acid house period as well as having a real depth and inteligence a long way from the media perception of them.

Flowered Up left behind some great records that really capture the last time the UK truly partied. Is saw Flowered Up's first overground gig in Camden in a youth centre and it was mayhem as the, then, youthful band played their tripped out mash of rock, funk and acid house, I was also at the legendary gig in the mansion when they had a 48 hour squat party after someone had 'borrowed' the keys to the house- the pay was insane and perhaps the high point to the madness of the time.


Their final single, Weekender, is still really evocative of the period and combined with the video is the true documentary of the period, capturing the euphoric highs and the come downs of the time. This is a song that still deserves to be a massive hit.


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Weekender is a great, great record – sad to read this.

    Flowered Up were a brilliant live band, something they didn’t seem to get much credit for at the time. But I suppose if you give the music press a man dressed as a sunflower to write about instead, what can you expect? (present company excepted, of course!)

    Interested to know what you mean by “the last time the UK truly partied” John. People haven’t stopped partying, you know. Things are much more fragmented, and the parties don’t make it on to the front pages of all of our favourite papers, but they’re still happening. That comment sounds more like the kind of thing that falls all too smugly out of the mouths of the baby boomers, with regard the 60’s.

    • The visual to Weekender provided the backdrop to a generation. I remember going back to Jon Burgess’ flat in Manchester after another ‘Bugged Out’ Friday night and Jon regailing us with this video which we must watch. We did watch it that night, about 10 times. If any readers have never seen this piece of work – direct your browsers at You Tube. The band and director Whizz’s finest hour. As fine a post-humous tribute as there could be.

  2. Even the most basic of obituaries should contain at least two pieces of pertinent information: the age of the deceased, and the cause of death (or, if not yet available, the known circumstances thereof). This contains neither.

    RIP, Joe Maher, however it was that you left us.

  3. RIP Uncle Joe! Words cant describe the sadness your death has left me with. Give my dad a big hug from me ! I love and miss you both so much ! See you when my time comes.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Tao, I’m really sorry about both your dad and uncle. I loved Flowered Up when I was younger and saw them live loads. Even talked to them both in the Leadmill, Sheffield in their very early days! Must be really hard for you. xxx

      • Wow i remember you jane your friend went onto be Joe’s girlfriend
        And me and you spent time after the gig back at the hotel chatting and drinking untill daylight, lol john drummer

  4. Hope you are ok up there Joe, still cant beleive that you are not with us, you are truley missed, just like your antics ;-) in our thoughts xxx

  5. saw flowered up at the CLUB HAVANA in Middlesbrough 1991 and was a great night but short lived, just spoke to des the mamager of flowered up who filled me in on all the details of that night lol rip flowered up.. GREAT LIVE BAND !!!

  6. I’m sure I saw them at Reading 91. Barry dancing away on stage in the heat. Those were the days. Real music. Respect.

  7. Saw Flowered Up at The Tunnel Club in Glasgow, I was about 18 at the time and is still one of my favourite gigs I’ve been to, ended up dancing on the stage with the band, great night and great live band, most importantly seemed really nice people, shame they both died so young.

  8. ‘Weekender’ has been a favourite song since its release – it tells of a journey to me, and the sounds and rhythms along with the production are sublime. I’ve only just learnt of both Maher brothers deaths, and am very sad indeed. Love and peace to the family…x

  9. […] I was sad to read that another member of Flowered Up has died. Jonn Robb reports that Joe Maher the bands guitarist has passed away, his brother and lead vocalist Liam died in […]

  10. Just came across these by mistake. I happened to know both these two brothers very well indeed…having grown up with them and been lucky enough to play the drums in the band.nice words writen by you guys about us..we had some excellent times on the rd.meeting many fantastic people…we played for the fans..its you guts that made us so gd..almost like the 12man.of a fooball blessed to have good memories of times up in the north..also gd write up by john rob..bumped into iohn on the roses come back hadn’t seen him for 20plus yrs,. .top respect to thoses who followed flowered up…

  11. I grew up with all those lads, most of us lived in Munster Sq in Camden.. It’s heartbreaking to hear the loss of so many of the Lads. Rich Boon from LA

  12. Bumped in to jt few weeks bk at work brilliant drummer i knew liam & joe well as said great lads very humble knocked about with there young bruva jimmy not seen him for years , big respect to Cumbo spent my childhood & youth there Best days .


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