Another founding member of Alice in Chains has lost his years-long battle with drugs. Mike Starr, original bassist for Alice in Chains, was found dead of unknown causes in Salt Lake City yesterday. He was 44.
Lead singer Layne Staley was also found dead of an overdose in 2002.
Starr was arrested just last month for felony possession of a controlled substance after being caught with unauthorized prescription drugs. He recently appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab, where he addressed his decades-long addiction problems. He confessed on the show that he was the last person to see Layne Staley alive, saying, "I wish I hadn't been high on benzodiazepine [that night]. I wouldn't have just walked out the door."
Alice in Chains came together in Seattle in the late '80s, becoming one of the pioneers of what would be known as grunge music. Starr played with the band on their first four studio LPs before leaving the band in 1993. He later claimed his drug problems led to him being fired.
I used to love Alice in Chains, along with other Seattle-born bands like Soundgarden and Mudhoney. I remember bringing the Alice in Chains album Dirt on a trip to Hawaii years ago and playing it nonstop from the speakers of my rented convertible. Man, good memories.
The acoustic version of their song "Heaven Beside You" is one of my favorites. While Starr left Alice in Chains before this MTV Unplugged show took place, it still seems like a fitting homage to these once-amazing musicians. Have a listen:
R.I.P. Mike Starr, and condolences to his family. In the midst of one celebrity's media blitz and declarations of curing brains with a blink, Starr's death is a sad reminder that addiction cannot be dealt with that easily.
Image via YouTube