Mitch Lucker: 1984-2012

Suicide Silence seemingly started playing shows out of the blue, and quickly ascended to headliner status and gigantic tours. In 2007, I saw them lugging gear outside of a small club as they prepared to open early in the evening for Nile. In 2009, they had moved up the ladder and were second on the bill at the Carcass reunion gig. Many of the younger fans went batshit crazy when Lucker took the stage. Things never slowed down. In 2011, I interviewed Lucker for another outlet as the band was cusped on mainstream success with their album The Black Crown. It almost cracked Billboard's Top 25 the week it was released. We talked about his struggles with an anxiety disorder, getting a million fans on Facebook (they’ve since added a million more and change) and critics of the band. He was frequently distracted by his unruly dog. He’d been on the road since 2003, and you could tell that it wasn’t always the easiest life, even if you’d grown up on the bus.

Lucker died Thursday morning after a motorcycle accident on Halloween. He was only 28 and a young father. He doubtless had many more tour miles and records in his future.

Metal fans tend to segregate into fiefdoms and tribes. We’re picky and opinionated, and often don't know what to do when a band becomes a household name. But a loss in the extended family is still a loss. While I never got into Suicide Silence’s music, I will always give it up for someone willing to give up stability and--in many cases--their health to go on the road and entertain fans of often marginalized music. Lucker banged his head and whirled his neck so much that he was in chronic pain and frequently referred to surgeons. That's commitment.

I talked to a friend once after a death, and he relayed a story he heard from Buddhist teachings. The essence: a student asks his teacher what he wishes for him and the teacher replies: “Parents die. You die. Your children die.” When the student seems aghast, the teacher reminds him that if these things happen, it means life has progressed as it should. Lucker’s passing leaves a young daughter without a father, parents without a son. All the best to his family and friends in these challenging times ahead. Rest in peace and safe travels, Mitch.

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*photo by Jeremy Saffer