Alice in Chains’ Founding Bassist, Mike Starr, Found Dead in Salt Lake City
The founding and former bassist of Alice in Chains — Mike Starr — has been found dead in a home in Salt Lake City, according to a report first filed by TMZ.com. Police were called to the house at 1:42PM on Tuesday and found controlled substances including Xanax and the painkiller Opana, along with the dead body.
In 1987, Starr was friends with guitarist Jerry Cantrell. Starr agreed to join Cantrell’s new project with vocalist Layne Staley and drummer Sean Kinney under the name Alice in Chains. The Seattle-based band was signed to Columbia Records two years later, in 1989. The group cashed in on the Seattle grunge movement when it broke in the early ’90s, following Nirvana‘s unexpected massive success. Suddenly, Alice in Chains were branded as an alternative rock band, instead of the heavy metal machine they first imagined themselves to be. The group scored a hit with the song ‘Would?,’ which was featured on the soundtrack to the generation-defining film ‘Singles.’
Starr left the band in 1993. The official reason for his departure was a lifestyle change. On the record, Starr stated that he wanted to spend more time with his family and less time on the road, and that the split was amicable. Years later, Starr publicly said that in reality, he was kicked out due to his drug use, which was spiraling out of control.
In 2010, Starr joined the cast of VH1’s reality television series ‘Celebrity Rehab’ for its third season. The show documented his recovery from heroin addiction. Starr returned to the series the following season as a special guest, appearing as something of a mentor to that season’s recovering addicts.
Last month, on February 18, Starr was arrested in Utah on suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance. Noisecreep will post updates this tragic story as it develops.