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Alice In Chains Former Bassist Mike Starr Found Dead

Posted by on March 9, 2011 at 1:18 AM EST

mike-starr-found-deadAlice In Chains founding member and bassist Mike Starr  found dead.

Mike Starr, founding member and bass player of the Seattle band Alice in Chains was found dead Tuesday afternoon. He was 44 years old. The cause of death is still unknown.

Mike Starr, guitarist/singer Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney rose to some local prominence in the Seattle area performing as Diamond Lie in the late 1980’s. They were eventually joined by singer Layne Staley, changed their name to Alice in Chains and recorded their debut album Facelift which didn’t sell well right out the gate, but put the band on the map as one of the founders of the “grunge” sound coming out of the Northwest. Their next few records turned them into superstars, but the band was plagued by infighting and drug problems that seemed to limit its ability to take advantage of the fame their records had built for them.

Mike Starr, meanwhile, was quietly struggling with addictions of his own. He left the band in 1993 and later admitted while on the TV show “Celebrity Rehab” that he left because of his growing addiction to heroin. During his stint on “Celebrity Rehab” Starr seemed focused and desperate to get off the drugs that had destroyed his life. During the following season of the show Starr made a guest appearance and told that year’s cast and the crew/medical team that he was celebrating six months of sobriety. He seemed to be on the path to recovery, but it was not meant to be.

In early February of this year Starr was arrested for possession of narcotics in Salt Lake City. Today he was found dead having lost his long fought battle.

Alice in Chains had never really shied away from the drama that drugs had caused them. The entire Dirt album is about addiction and many of their songs like “Down in a Hole” and “Junkhead” speak directly of the heroin problems that were eating the band alive. Layne Staley’s drug issues were the initial reason for many of their tours to be cut short and for their appearances to be limited. When Alice in Chains took a break in 1995 Staley joined a supergroup made up of well-known Seattle musicians called Mad Season. They had some big success that seemed to help Staley with is addictions and put him and Alice in Chains back on the right path. AIC’s next record was a huge hit. After co-headlining Lollapalooza the band took another break. Staley’s former fiancée Demri Parrott died later that year (1996) from a bacterial infection. Her death sent him into a tailspin he would not pull out of. He became a recluse, fell out of touch with the other members of the band and turned back to drugs. He was found dead on April 20th 2002.



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