Flat Duo Jets’ Dex Romweber Dead At 57

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Dexter Romweber, one-half of the Carrboro rockabilly duo Flat Duo Jets, has died. He is believed to have passed from natural causes, though a medical exam is pending. He was 57.

The news broke on his official Facebook page. Read the tribute below.

It is our sad duty to inform the world that our beloved youngest brother John Michael Romweber II – you know him as Dexter — died at home on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. He was 57 years old, and found by his sister Monica. It is believed he died of natural causes; a medical exam is pending.

Singer, guitarist, artist and bon vivant, Dexter Romweber was one of the most acclaimed artists of the roots-rock underground, going back to his time with the Kamikazes. But the band that put him on the map was Flat Duo Jets, the guitar/drums duo he started in 1983 with Chris “Crow” Smith (and later with Tony Mayer on bass). While the Jets never broke through commercially, their fiery sturm and twang was a major influence on artists including the White Stripes, X, Cat Power and Neko Case.

After the Jets broke up in the late 1990s, Dexter played in a variety of acts including The New Romans and Dex Romweber Duo with his sister Sara. He released more than a dozen group and solo albums over the years, playing everything from wild-eyed rockabilly to Rachmaninoff-styled classical piano. His most recent album was “Good Thing Goin’,” released in 2023.

Romweber was preceded in death by his sister Sara; brothers Joe and Luke; and most recently his mother Sara.

We will have more to say soon, but ask for privacy at this time.

Romweber was born in Batesville, Indiana. His mother was a pianist who encouraged his musical pursuits. He formed his first band with classmate Hunter Landon. It was called Gary and the Resistors, and began in his family’s cellar. His next band was Crash Landon and The Kamikazes, with bassist Tony Mayer and Hunter Landon on drums.

Flat Duo Jets came to life in 1983 in Carrboro, with Dexter Romweber on guitar and Chris “Crow” Smith on drums. Both were 17. Tone Mayer joined on bass in 1988. At the start, they played songs they learned from the Romweber family’s collection of 1950s records. They became known for their eccentric performances around Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Athens. They appeared in the 1987 film Athens, Ga. Inside/Out.