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Rain When I Die
March 10, 2011 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Alice In Chains' bass player Mike Starr has passed away. They said it; we die young.
posted by rainperimeter (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by clavdivs at 8:19 PM on March 10, 2011


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posted by Mblue at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the great things about celebrity rehab is that it shows how decent people can be without drugs, and how fucked up life was for many drug users. I was really rooting for Starr, this is really sad.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 8:29 PM on March 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've been surprised by the "news" surrounding this. Not that anyone's death is insignificant, but its not like he was a great bass player and his departure from the band was hardly noticeable. Layne Staley's loss? Far more significant.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:32 PM on March 10, 2011


Friends don't let friends get friends haircuts.
posted by Eideteker at 8:44 PM on March 10, 2011


"Legendary"? I suppose he is now, but really? "Legendary"? He wasn't Dick Dale or Dizzy Gillespie...
posted by CarlRossi at 8:45 PM on March 10, 2011


Who's Laney Staley?
posted by timsteil at 8:45 PM on March 10, 2011


There's a show called Celebrity Rehab? I hate the whole fucking world.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Wow. Is he the first to die from Celebrity Rehab? He seemed less fucked up than some of them.
posted by Melismata at 8:50 PM on March 10, 2011


Yeah, anyone who saw his appearances on Celeb Rehab kinda saw this coming.
posted by klangklangston at 9:01 PM on March 10, 2011 [4 favorites]



Yeah, anyone who saw his appearances on Celeb Rehab kinda saw this coming.


Sadly.
posted by Mblue at 9:06 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Winter, 1992. I acquired a bass guitar for Christmas.

I played that sumbitch day in and day out for months until I taught myself the bassline to every song on Dirt.

I, of course, started with "Would".
posted by The Giant Squid at 9:06 PM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


timsteil: "Who's Laney Staley?"

Layne Staley. Here you go.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:51 PM on March 10, 2011


"You think it's funny, well you're drowning in it too."
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 PM on March 10, 2011


Legal drugs claim another persons life. *Sigh*
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:23 PM on March 10, 2011


Ah, I just realized that Starr had left the band prior to recording that song I linked.

Anyway, it seems like all he wanted was a bit of weed, which probably would've done him a lot better than the mixture he ended up popping. I'm personally a teetotaler, but would much rather see people be able toke up to curb their anxiety rather than be forced into some kind of weird sanctioned addiction like this.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember I went to a concert circa 1991 or so.

The bill was :

MEGADETH
SLAYER
ANTHRAX

special guest
Alice in Chains


I hadn't heard of AiC at all, not really being into the grunge thing too much by that point.

I hated to admit it at the time, being right after Metallica's Black Album - which marked the death of 80s heavy metal - that AiC was way better than the other 4. They totally stole the show.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:07 PM on March 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still remember the first time I heard AiC's "Man in The Box." It was the first bolt of pure terror I had heard in heavy metal music since Celtic Frost's To Mega Therion album.
posted by KingEdRa at 1:28 AM on March 11, 2011


that AiC was way better than the other 4. They totally stole the show.

I went to a festival concert in 1994. Metallica was the headliner. It was the last of six times I saw Metallica live, and the only time they didn't play Last Caress. A hugely and always anticipated staple of their encore up until that point. (Which might not have killed 80's metal for me, but sure told me Metallica was dead.)

I was really excited that Alice in Chains was also on the bill, because they were the only grunge act I liked.

AiC pulled out at the last minute. Rehab issues.
posted by Cyrano at 4:41 AM on March 11, 2011


Layne Staley. Here you go.

Wow…
In an interview on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with McCallum, former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr said that he spent time with Staley the day before he died as Starr's birthday was April 4. Starr claims that Staley was very sick but would not call 911. The two ex-bandmates briefly argued, which ended with Starr storming out. Starr stated that Staley called after him as he left "Not like this, don't leave like this".
Hope he found some peace.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:00 AM on March 11, 2011


For anyone who doesn't watch Celebrity Rehab, I can totally understand how it must seem horrifically exploitive on face value. To be fair, it can be at times, and while I think Dr. Drew's motives are ultimately good ones, he's not helping his case with the increasing volume of media appearances he's been making (I can't rationalize how much of a talking head he's become in response to the Sheen debacle.)

Still: Celebrity Rehab has been one of the most eye-opening non-scripted things I've ever seen. As mentioned above, it really sheds a light on how damaged most people suffering from drug abuse truly are, and, through treatment, how brightly their true selves can shine through. Tom Sizemore was probably the most striking example of this. The guy was in the throes of horrific drug addiction, and was demonized in the press, but once he'd gotten cleaned up, it was unbelievable to see what a warm person he was capable of being. Like all addicts, he had immense personal issues he needed to work through after getting clean, including one incredibly frightening encounter with Mike Starr. (Sizemore was frothing at the mouth in Mike's face, and it was amazing to watch Mike take inventory of the situation, fight the urge to respond in kind, and say "No, Tom, I know you don't really feel that way. This isn't you. You don't want to fight me. We're friends.")

So yes: Mike Starr. Mike came in addicted both to opiates and cocaine (which he routinely freebased with his father) and still, 20-odd years later, carrying immense grief from Staley's death, which he clearly felt responsible for. There was an amazingly touching scene later in the season where he spoke with Staley's mother, who he'd been quite close with, but, if memory serves, hadn't seen since Layne's death. She emphatically told him how much Layne had loved him, and how she didn't blame Mike for his death, and the sense of relief this brought Mike was palpable.

Mike's detox was frightening to watch, and at times resulted in him wandering around in a furious state, completely unresponsive to anyone trying to help him calm himself. Still, as the season went on, his condition improved, and he really started to open up to those around him. In this period, it became clear that prior to his addictions, he was funny, genial, and filled with empathy. Any time another patient needed to pour their heart out about something, you could pretty much guarantee that Mike would be the one they were were speaking with.

Mike also appeared on the "sequel" to Celebrity Rehab entitled "Sober House", which follows the patients after they get out of treatment and enter a sober living environment. Once he'd been clean for a few months, it was clear that Mike had a lot of pain to work through as a result of getting kicked out of AiC right before they started to break out in a major way. Because he'd been on drugs the whole time, he'd never really formed an identity outside of the band, and as he came to terms with the fact that this identity no longer existed, he had some very dark moments. The show ended without him having relapsed, but I definitely worried about his ongoing sobriety.

This made it all the more heartening when he appeared as a guest speaker toward the end of the most recent season of CR. He admitted that he had relapsed shortly after Sober House ended, but had been clean since, going on five months or so. He looked healthy and happy, and I was thrilled to see that things seemed to be on the up and up for him.

I hadn't heard about his recent arrest until news of his death. He was still so young, and was such an incredibly sweet person battling unimaginable demons. I really hoped he would be able to find peace in this world.

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posted by SpiffyRob at 6:52 AM on March 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


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posted by heatvision at 7:23 AM on March 11, 2011


Hi, my name is DrLith, and I'm addicted to Celebrity Rehab (because Drew Pinksky is one of my Sekrit TV Boyfriends).

On the show, Starr was like a rollercoaster, careening from unsufferable, assholish douchebaggery to being a really very sweet, caring--almost child-like--individual. I believe very early on in his run on Celebrity Rehab they showed him living in some run-down hovel with his dad, basically both of them passing their time just getting high. What a mess.
posted by drlith at 7:29 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by sswiller at 7:54 AM on March 11, 2011


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posted by w0mbat at 8:33 AM on March 11, 2011


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I really hate addiction. It's diminished and destroyed too many people I care about.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:52 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the perspective, SpiffyRob. You're right, my knee-jerk reaction was "that sounds horribly exploitive", but I think anything that helps humanize addiction to people who haven't seen it first hand is probably good.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:41 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


still, 20-odd years later, carrying immense grief from Staley's death, which he clearly felt responsible for.

Umm - Layne Staley only died in 2002.
posted by antifuse at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2011


Sorry, yes, my mistake. I was conflating the timeline of his departure from the band with that of Layne's death.

It's definitely a grey area, neromodulator. While not taking any potshots at any of the patients, one of the things that has helped keep it on the good side of the equation is that the level of "celebrity" in question has been relatively low. I think that if a Lohan, Hilton, Sheen, etc, were to be included, it could easily poison the well. Because the patients have been, by and large, people whose fame is on the wane, it allows the viewer to shake the novelty of "Hey I remember you from MALLRATS!" and really start seeing them as normal people.

Conversely: Fame is often a huge, huge part of the underlying problem, both because celebrity often provides easy access to drugs and an environment where their use is allowed, if not actively encouraged, and because the loss of that fame can be really damaging.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:17 AM on March 11, 2011


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posted by snsranch at 12:10 PM on March 11, 2011


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posted by nimsey lou at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2011


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