Former Running Wild Guitarist Michael Kupper Has Died at 65, Fans Mourn Legend
Guitarist Michael “Majk Moti” Kupper, who played with German heavy metal act Running Wild between 1985 and 1990, has died at 65, former bassist Jens Becker and former drummer Stefan Schwarzmann confirmed via social media this past Friday (Feb. 17). No cause of death has been given at this point.
In his Facebook post, Becker (who was with Running Wild from 1987 – 1992) wrote: “RIP my old friend. Have a safe trip dear Majk.” Similarly, Schwarzmann stated, “Very sad news I received today. R.I.P. Majk Moti,” while the band’s official Instagram page posted the following yesterday (Feb. 18): “R.I.P. brother (Majk Moti 29th August, 1957 — 16th February, 2023).”
Running Wild formed in 1976 (as Granite Heart) and were considered among the most significant German power metal groups of the early to mid-1980s. They changed their name to Running Wild in 1979 (after hearing the Judas Priest song), and while their first two records favored satanic imagery and lyricism, they quickly shifted to focusing on pirates, war and other historical concepts. They continued to release music through the years (their last studio LP was 2021’s Blood on Blood), but the Kupper era was easily their best.
Kupper took over for Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke in 1985, and he made his studio debut on their sophomore LP, Branded and Exiled, the same year. Over the next five years, he appeared on three more studio albums (including two with Becker and one with Schwarzmann), with his last one being 1989’s Death or Glory. He also recorded two live collections with the group before being replaced by Axel Morgan in 1990.
From there – and as Blabbermouth confirms – Kupper “reportedly worked for more than 15 years as a computer programmer. He later worked at a digital advertising company.” In 2008, he started his own band, D’Orca, with wife Melanie “Mel” Dorca-Ruiz. He’s also played with Random, Gate, Wild Knight and Metallian, as well as appeared in Orden Ogan’s music video for “We Are Pirates!”
Naturally, many fans have also taken to social media to share their appreciation for the late musicians. Specifically, one Twitter user stated: “RIP Michael ‘Majk Moti’ Kupper … part of Running Wild’s best era.” Likewise, someone replied to Becker’s announcement, “May he sail forever free on the seas of fate. He penned the soundtrack of our youth. Terribly sorry for his loss. RIP.”
You can view Becker, Schwarzmann and Running Wild’s posts below, as well as view more reactions. Also, you can scroll down to hear some of his work with Running Wild.
Of course, Loudwire extends our deepest condolences to Kupper’s bandmates, friends, and family.
Bandmates and Fans Mourn the Death of Running Wild’s Michael “Majk Moti” Kupper
Running Wild, “Branded & Exiled” on Swiss TV in 1985
Running Wild, “Under Jolly Roger”
Running Wild, “Port Royal”
Running Wild, “Riding the Storm” Live in Germany 1989