Just a few weeks ago, we found out that Mike Starr, co-founder and former bassist of Alice In Chains, was arrested in Salt Lake City for alleged drug possession. Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse, as today the most unfortunate news has surfaced that Mike has died, at age 44, in Utah.
Mike Starr was a member of Alice In Chains from 1987 to 1993, and left the band during the tour for the album Dirt, considered by many to be the band’s finest record to date. At the time of his departure from the group, the band stated that Mike had to leave because he couldn’t cope with their intensive touring, though other reports point to him being “fired” for his drug abuse. Sadly enough, there’s the fact that Layne Staley, the only other former member of AIC, also died due to complications with drugs, in 2002.
The musician’s father has released a short statement, saying: “It’s a terrible shock and a tragedy.”
Starr’s former band had the following words: “”Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney are mourning the loss of their friend and ask that the media respect their privacy – and the privacy of the Starr family – during this difficult time. Their thoughts and prayers are with the Starr family.”
Former Guns n’Roses drummer Matt Sorum weighed in: “Drugs and alcohol aren’t a joke. Please takes care you yourself and respect yourself. Rest in peace, man.”
Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx adds: “Another soldier fallen to addiction – RIP Mike.”
Dream Theater alum Mike Portnoy says: “I watched his struggle on Celebrity Rehab and had my fingers crossed for his recovery. This disease kills – sad stuff.”
While the general public might be familiar with Mike because of his stint on the TV show Celebrity Rehab (on which he documented his treatment for heroin addiction in 2010), he will always be known to Alice In Chains fans for creating the band’s trademark low-end sound, one of the many characteristics that distinguished them from the rest of the grunge movement. It’s hard to overstate his influence on the band, given that even his replacement, Mike Inez, would remain close to Starr’s style on the AIC records that followed. On choosing a song to represent him here, we first thought of Rain When I Die, the only track he co-wrote on Dirt – but since there’s no live recording of that immediately available, we went with Would?, a song that contains what is arguably one of the most iconic basslines ever.