Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Former Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Found Dead

Over the weekend while we were basking in the warm glow of an exciting Hokie victory, I was busy missing the news that former Weezer bassist, artist and generally cool dude Mikey Welsh died in Chicago Saturday at the age of 40.

He was actually in town to see Weezer play. Welsh had finally begun to reconcile with his former band mates and even joined them on stage once again earlier this summer.

While cause of death has yet to be established, anyone who knows anything about Welsh's past has to worry that it was intentional.

Welsh's exit from Weezer was brought about mostly because he had a nervous breakdown hastened by the stresses of touring, an undiagnosed medical condition and heavy drug use.

Despite only recording one album during his time with the band, 2001's eponymous "Green Album", Welsh was there for Weezer's big comeback following the hiatus after the release of 1996's Pinkerton.

After leaving the band, Welsh dedicated himself to another artistic pursuit, painting and carved out a unique niche with his colorful works seen everywhere from Burton snowboards to skate park walls.

Welsh gained success as a painter, and had begun interacting with many fans (including myself) of his art and music, especially over the last few months on Facebook.

He began sharing intimate stories of his time in Weezer and gave some interesting insights into the life of the band during one of its most popular eras like:

so there i was... at a california pizza kitchen with rivers. "so...would you like to be in weezer?" or something along those lines. that was the question that was presented to me by r.c. the one i had been waiting to hear since i arrived in los angeles several days earlier.. "yes. i would", i think i stammered out.. i had been playing with the three members of weezer for a few days or so. but we d...idn’t play any weezer songs.. at least all the songs i knew so well. i had flown out expecting to shred away on "getchoo", or maybe "say it ain't so", or any of the tunes off of blue and pinkerton... but that wasn’t what rivers had in mind.. instead, we ended up jamming out on songs i had been playing with rivers for almost a year... "rosemary", "prettiest girl in the whole wide world"... these were songs i loved dearly... but man, i wanted to play the old stuff.. anyways, I accepted the offer to join the band.

It's a sad loss to be sure, but this is the first "famous" death that has really bothered me. Mikey was the bassist in my favorite band when I "found" them in 2001. He was funny, cool and had the perfect vibe for a decidedly un-cool, awkward band.

Also, he gave the funniest interview I can recall with drummer Pat Wilson. I think I posted it recently but it deserves another look.

Rest well Mikey.

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