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METAL CHURCH vocalist Mike Howe passes away

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 7:28 AM (PST)

photo by Morgan Y. Evans at The Chance in Poughkeepsie

We are very sad to convey that the energetic, funny and incredible Mike Howe of METAL CHURCH has died.

The band posted the following yesterday: “It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music. Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.”

Mike Howe was Metal Church‘s vocalist between 1988 and 1995, and then again between 2015 and present day.

Our resident biggest Metal Church fanatic Andrew Johann Datoush (‘Drewdas Priest’), who covered the band for us a few times over the last decade, has some touching words about Mike:

I am absolutely devastated right now and I can’t believe that I’m actually having to write this. This sucks so much. The metal world lost a true giant today. An incredible front man with a voice unlike any others. I’ve said it many times over the years that METAL CHURCH was always a top favorite band, even with all their singer changes over the years, I always remained a hardcore fan. The Mike Howe albums were especially instrumental in converting me to the ‘Church’ when I picked up my first album of theirs on a whim at our local FYE Store. That first album for me was Blessing In Disguise , and that opening track “Fake Healer” immediately smacked me in the face and hit like no other band I was listening to at the time ever had before.

I recall getting it shortly after I had entered the 8th grade. I remember that well because it was Mrs. Cooke, my 8th grade science teacher, who started writing me up for listening to music in class rather than listening to her go on about whatever the hell she was talking about. From there, I got every album I could get my hands on, which at the time weren’t very many. A couple with David Wayne singing, but the Mike Howe albums were the ones that really did it for me at the time, and those were sadly limited to only a few albums. (We didn’t start getting METAL CHURCH albums again til the mid 2000s, but nothing involving Mike’s voice again til 2016!).

I was fortunate to meet Mike Howe a few times over the years, and he was always a pleasure to be around. Always willing to stop and shoot the shit with fans, take pictures, and even be accepting of that overgrown starstruck fanboy who went right in for the hug immediately upon meeting him. I had no idea I was even doing it until we were right in the midst of it, and he laughed it off, patted me on the back and joked “so this is how we’re doing this, huh?” Really funny moment for me that made my awkwardness in meeting him ok.

The next time I met him, it was the Nuddy in Poughkeepsie. They were having a pre-show meal. I was finishing up and paying my bill when I saw them, and walked past just saying hello, and when Mike looked up, I jokingly said “I’ll get you on that repeat hug later”, which he laughed at, and he mentioned it to me again later after the show when I went up to get some merch signed. “I guess you’re here for that hug, right?” So, I guess that kinda sums up my personal relationship with Mike. Grow up idolizing his band, eventually see him when he comes back to the scene, make an awkward but hilarious first impression, meet him every time he’s in town since, and have a series of jokes about an awkward hug every time we met since. While I am deeply saddened that the party is over, I’m overly thankful to at least have been accepted into the party at all. Mike Howe was a tremendous talent that leaves behind a hell of a legacy. – AJD 7/26/21

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