In Remembrance of Mike Starr
4 April, 1966 ~ 8 March, 2011
Honolulu, HI, United States
Mike Starr (musician)
Michael Christopher "Mike" Starr (April 4, 1966 March 8, 2011) was an American musician, best known as the original bassist in Alice in Chains... Read more >
Mike Starr (musician)
Michael Christopher "Mike" Starr (April 4, 1966 March 8, 2011) was an American musician, best known as the original bassist in Alice in Chains, who he played with from the band's formation in 1987 until 1993.
In the mid 1980s Jerry Cantrell began a band called Diamond Lie which included drummer Sean Kinney and Starr on bass. Cantrell's roommate, singer Layne Staley, also agreed to join while having Cantrell join his funk project which ended shortly thereafter.
Diamond Lie gained attention in the Seattle area and eventually took the name of Alice in Chains. The band was later signed to a record deal with Columbia Records and enjoyed extensive success via record sales and radio play in the grunge rock movement of the early 1990s. Starr was with the group for the Facelift and Dirt albums and the Sap EP. He was most often seen playing several variations of a Spector NS-2 bass guitar through an Ampeg SVT all-tube head and Ampeg 8x10" speaker cabinets.
Starr departed the group while it was touring behind the album Dirt.
According to former singer Layne Staley, in a Rolling Stone article from February 1994, Starr's departure from Alice in Chains stemmed from "just a difference in priorities. We wanted to continue intense touring and press, Mike was ready to go home." Starr, however, mentioned on an episode of Celebrity Rehab that he was kicked out of the band due to his budding drug addiction - an amazing acheivement, given the amount of drug use in the band. The unreleased track "Misery, Crack Pipes, and Gothic Main Lines" from this time frame makes allusion to Starr's use.
Starr later played bass for the band Sun Red Sun, which featured Ray Gillen and Bobby Rondinelli, both former members of Black Sabbath. The project was cut short by Gillen's death in 1993.
Starr was later featured in the third season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010, which documented his treatment for heroin addiction beginning in August 2009 at the Pasadena Recovery Center. His subsequent stint staying in a sober living environment was then documented on the spinoff Sober House.
He and fellow recovering addicts Mackenzie Phillips and Tom Sizemore appeared in the eighth episode of Celebrity Rehab's fourth season to provide testimonials about their recovery to that season's patients. During this appearance, Starr marked six months and seven days of sobriety.
Both Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney criticized the show Celebrity Rehab, calling it "disgusting". However, they stopped short of criticizing their former bandmate and expressed hope that Starr would turn his life around. Kinney also thanked Starr along with all other members of Alice In Chains both past and present within the liner notes of Alice in Chains' Black Gives Way to Blue album.
"I totally back Mike and I back his efforts to get clean and remain somebody that I and the band really care about hes a friend of ours, you know, and we wish him the best." ~ Jerry Cantrell
"So I don't support that show at all and I think it's pretty disgusting. But Mike getting his life together or anybody doing that, I'll support that." ~ Sean Kinney
On February 18, 2011, Starr was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance (six pills of Oxymorphone, and six pills of Alprazolam) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
On March 8, 2011, Starr was found dead in Salt Lake City. Police told Reuters they were called to Starr's Salt Lake City home at 1:42PM where the musician's body was found; Starr was 44.
Reports later surfaced that Starr's roommate had seen him mixing Methadone and anxiety medication hours before he was found dead.
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