Passionate singer-songwriter Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit dies at 36

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Frightened Rabbit
Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit performs at The Current in 2013. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit has died at age 36, Scottish authorities have confirmed according to the BBC. Hutchison was missing since Wednesday morning, and his bandmates — including his brother, Grant Hutchison — have been expressing urgent concern about the singer-songwriter, who was reported to be in "a fragile state" when last seen.

"Tragic news about Scott Hutchison," tweeted Stuart Murdoch of Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. "The whole music community in Scotland was praying for a different outcome."

In a statement released today, Hutchison's family wrote that "Scott, like many artists, wore his heart on his sleeve and that was evident in the lyrics of his music and the content of many of his social media posts. He was passionate, articulate and charismatic, as well as being one of the funniest and kindest people we knew. Friends and family would all agree that he had a brilliant sense of humour and was a great person to be around."

The statement went on to say: "Depression is a horrendous illness that does not give you any alert or indication as to when it will take hold of you. Scott battled bravely with his own issues for many years and we are immensely proud of him for being so open with his struggles. His willingness to discuss these matters in the public domain undoubtedly raised awareness of mental health issues and gave others confidence and belief to discuss their own issues."

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One of the most intensely beloved bands of their generation, Frightened Rabbit connected with listeners who appreciated Hutchison's passionate compositions and keenly felt vocal performances — whether on soaring anthems or intimate acoustic songs. Over a 15-year career, Hutchison and his bandmates built a loyal, steadily growing fan base.

Raised in the Scottish Borders town of Selkirk, Hutchison studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art. In 2003, he began performing as Frightened Rabbit, a term his mother used to allude to his shyness. By the time Frightened Rabbit's debut album Sing the Greys (2006) was recorded, the project had grown to include Hutchison's brother Grant.

Frightened Rabbit's sophomore album The Midnight Organ Fight (2008) proved a breakout success, earning critical acclaim and widespread exposure. The band, having grown to a quartet, found further fans when they toured with artists like Death Cab for Cutie.

The band signed to Atlantic in 2010, and ultimately released five studio albums; most recently, 2016's Painting of a Panic Attack, produced by Aaron Dessner of The National. Their discography also includes three EPs and two live albums.

Outside of Frightened Rabbit, Hutchison collaborated with the Fruit Tree Foundation and the Birthday Suit. Just last month, Hutchison released the album Dance Music with Mastersystem, a side project that includes Grant Hutchison and members of other groups. In a four-star review, NME called Dance Music "a scorchingly promising debut."

Frightened Rabbit were touring behind Midnight Organ Fight’s tenth anniversary; scheduled U.K. dates included a May 26 show supporting Father John Misty.

Hutchison was a perennial favorite among The Current's audience. Frightened Rabbit were voted one of our listeners' 893 essential artists, and the band recorded three sessions in our studios.

"When you start a band in little Scotland," Hutchison told Mary Lucia in 2016, "you have a dream of going to the United States and touring." He still got "a special thrill" out of touring, he said — and for untold thousands of fans in America, the U.K., and beyond, the feeling was mutual.

With Hutchison's loss, his fans still have his music, his art, and his incisive lyrics — which often touched on love, mortality, and the thin line between the two. "When my blood stops, someone else's will thaw," Hutchison sang on "Head Rolls Off" (The Midnight Organ Fight). "And while I'm alive, I'll make tiny changes to earth."

Resources


Crisis Text Line offers free help for those who are having a mental health crisis. Text HOME to 741741 (or MN to 741741 in Minnesota). Services are available 24/7. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a toll-free number 800-273-TALK (8255).

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