Dexter Romweber Cause of Death: A Tribute to the Rockabilly Legend

Photo of author
Written By Drew Gomez






Dexter Romweber, the founder and frontman of the influential rockabilly duo Flat Duo Jets, passed away on February 16, 2024, at the age of 57. His family announced his death on Facebook, stating that he died of natural causes.

Romweber was a pioneer of the roots rock genre, blending elements of blues, rock and roll, country, and surf music. He inspired countless musicians, such as Jack White, Cat Power, and The Black Keys, with his raw and energetic guitar playing and his charismatic stage presence. Here is a look at his life, career, and legacy.

Early Life and Background

Romweber was born on June 18, 1966, in Batesville, Indiana, the youngest of seven children. His father was from a prominent furniture family, and his mother was a pianist who encouraged his musical talent.

He moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1977, where he formed his first band, Gary and the Resistors, at the age of 10, with his sister Sara on drums. He later played in other bands, such as Crash Landon and The Kamikazes, and The Remains, before meeting Chris “Crow” Smith, with whom he formed Flat Duo Jets in 1983.

Romweber was influenced by the music of the 1950s, especially by artists such as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley, and Link Wray.

He also had a fascination with horror and sci-fi movies, which he incorporated into his style and imagery. He decorated his garage, where he practiced and recorded, with posters and memorabilia from films such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. He called his garage the Moz, short for mausoleum.

Career and Achievements

Flat Duo Jets was a guitar-and-drums duo that played a stripped-down and lo-fi version of rockabilly, with Romweber on vocals and guitar, and Smith on drums. They recorded their first album, In Stereo, in 1985, and released it on cassette. They gained exposure through their appearance on MTV’s The Cutting Edge, and their performance in the documentary film Athens, GA: Inside Out, which featured other bands from the Athens, Georgia, music scene, such as R.E.M. and The B-52’s.

The duo’s self-titled debut LP was released in 1990, and was followed by several other albums, such as Go Go Harlem Baby, White Trees, and Lucky Eye. They toured extensively, opening for bands such as The Cramps, The Ramones, and The Violent Femmes.

They also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, where they played a cover of Benny Joy’s “Wild Wild Lover”. Romweber’s guitar playing was praised by critics and fans alike, who admired his versatility, intensity, and originality. He was able to switch from fast and furious riffs to slow and soulful melodies, using various techniques and effects, such as tremolo, reverb, distortion, and feedback.

Flat Duo Jets disbanded in 1999, but Romweber continued to make music as a solo artist and with other collaborators. He released several solo albums, such as Chased by Martians, Blues That Defy My Soul, and Piano.

He also formed the Dex Romweber Duo with his sister Sara, who played drums. They released four albums, such as Ruins of Berlin, Is That You in the Blue?, Images 13, and Good Thing Goin’. The duo featured guest appearances by artists such as Jack White, Neko Case, and Exene Cervenka.

Romweber also worked as a producer and writer for various projects, such as Más Mejor, a digital comedy studio for Latinx voices, and the 2019 CBS Diversity Showcase, a talent showcase for diverse actors and comedians. He also acted in some films, such as Two-Headed Cow, a documentary about his life and career, and Lake City, a drama starring Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity.

Death and Legacy

Romweber died on February 16, 2024, at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His family did not disclose the cause of his death, but said that he died of natural causes. He had suffered from several health issues in the past, such as diabetes, kidney failure, and a heart attack. He had also lost three of his siblings, including Sara, and his mother, in 2019.

Romweber’s death was mourned by many fans and fellow musicians, who paid tribute to him on social media and in the press. Jack White, who had recorded a single with Romweber in 2009, called him “one of the best kept secrets of the rock ‘n’ roll underground” and “a huge inspiration to me”. Cat Power, who had covered Romweber’s song “Love Letters” on her album

The Covers Record, said that he was “a true original” and “a legend”. The Black Keys, who had cited Romweber as an influence on their sound, said that he was “a rock ‘n’ roll hero” and “a genius”. Other artists who expressed their admiration and condolences included Dan Auerbach, Neko Case, Exene Cervenka, JD McPherson, and Reverend Horton Heat.

Romweber was widely regarded as a pioneer and innovator of the roots rock genre, and as one of the most influential guitarists of his generation.

He was praised for his authenticity, creativity, and passion, and for his ability to blend and transcend various musical styles and influences. He was also admired for his charisma, humor, and generosity, and for his dedication to his craft and his fans. He left behind a rich and diverse body of work, which continues to inspire and entertain listeners around the world.


Dexter Romweber was a rockabilly legend, who left a lasting mark on the music scene and culture. He was a master of the guitar, a captivating performer, and a prolific artist. He was also a kind and humble person, who loved his family and friends. He died at the age of 57, but his music and spirit live on. He was rock ‘n’ roll inside and out.

Leave a Comment