1. NIGHTVISION’S DEAN HOCKING
The promising life and career of Nightvision bassist Dean Hocking (pictured at far left above) was tragically cut short after the musician was involved in a fatal car accident on Dec. 27 in Sleaford, England.
The band originally formed in 2003, but their most popular lineup took shape in 2006 when singer Dave McKee joined the group. “We obviously need the time to get this round our heads,” says the band, “but in the meantime … wherever you are … get a drink and raise it high as a toast to a fine, young, talented guy gone too soon. Turn it up to 11 and rumble the heavens our brother. We love you dude and we are gonna miss you like you’ll never know. — Daryl, Dave and Bolda. X.
2. THINNING THE HERD’S RICK CIMATO
Drummer Rick Cimato of up-and-coming metal band Thinning the Herd died in a car crash on the weekend before Christmas. The crash occurred in Connecticut while Cimato was making his way from Maine to New York.
After frontman Gavin Spielman informed fans of Cimato’s death via the band’s Facebook page, adding that he didn’t think he could continue the band after hearing the tragic news, Spielman posted a more in-depth tribute to his friend. “Thank god for this guy, what a gift as a friend, brother and band mate. For anyone who jams with others, anyone who lets another into that higher conscious world – you might understand the depth of how one can integrate and nurture the spirit.”
3. MIKE SCACCIA OF MINISTRY / RIGOR MORTIS
We all lost a massive piece of the metal world on Dec. 23 when Ministry / Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia died onstage at the age of 47. Although the cause of death was uncertain at first, the Fort Worth Telegram reported soon after that Scaccia’s death was from a heart attack brought on by serious heart disease.
The show, which was a celebration of Rigor Mortis vocalist Bruce Corbitt’s 50th birthday, ended suddenly when Scaccia suddenly collapsed while performing. Corbitt has now started a fundraiser for Scaccia’s wife and children and plans to put on a benefit show for the cause.
Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen posted a heartfelt and in-depth memorial of his guitarist and dear friend via Facebook. ” I lost my lil’ brother and my best friend. Mikey was not only the best guitar player in the history of music, but he was a close, close, close part of our family – and I just lost a huge chunk of my heart today.”
4. HOLY TERROR’S KEITH DEEN
On Dec. 15, Holy Terror vocalist Keith Deen passed away from cancer at the age of 56. Deen provided vocals for Holy Terror’s two full-lengths, ‘Terror and Submission’ and ‘Mind Wars.’
Holy Terror guitarist Kurt Cofelt wrote a heartfelt message to Deen after his death. Cofelt writes, “Thank your for Roaring at me. Thank you for Screeching at me. Thank you for Yelling at me. Thank you for Singing to me.”
5. RUINSIDE’S LAURI AITONURMI
Finnish metal bassist Lauri Aitonurmi died on Dec. 14 after a car accident. Aitonurmi manned the bass for thrash metal band Ruinside on their 2009 EP, ‘Rise Up! …to Extermination?’ and the band’s debut full-length, ‘The Hunt.’
Aitonurmi was a musician from the age of 11. After four years of playing the keyboard, Aitonurmi picked up a bass at age 15, maintaining the instrument as his primary tool until his passing. “We will remember him as a very bright person who always shared good spirit around him,” Ruinside wrote in tribute for their fallen bassist. “Ruinside wants to wish strength and hope for Lauri’s family, his wife and little boy. Lauri will live in our hearts and in our music. Rest in peace, friend.”
6. HAWKWIND’S HUW LLOYD-LANGTON
Space rock pioneer and Hawkwind guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton passed away on Dec. 6 at the age of 61. The guitarist succumbed to cancer after battling the disease for two years.
Huw Lloyd-Langton lent his talents to Hawkwind’s 1970 self-titled debut album, which is widely revered as an essential piece of rock history and the very first “space rock” release. Hawkwind released a statement memorializing their former guitarist:
“Huw had been bravely fighting cancer for a couple of years, but was determined not to let the battle affect his day to day life. He continued to play his guitar, laugh, joke and share the great love he had in his heart, with all who knew him.”
7. SUICIDE SILENCE’S MITCH LUCKER
Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker has died at the age of 28 on the morning of Nov. 1 after a motorcycle accident in Huntington Beach, Calif. on Halloween night.
The death of Lucker shook the metal community like few have in the past. As the vocalist of one of deathcore’s leading acts, fans have come out to support the family, friends and bandmates of Lucker with incredible numbers. Lucker’s wife revealed that the vocalist was an alcoholic and drove while under the influence. Lucker’s wife begged him not to leave, but Mitch chose to head out the door, which unfortunately led to his demise.
The surviving members of Suicide Silence released the following statement:
“There’s no easy way to say this. Mitch passed away earlier this morning from injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident. This is completely devastating to all of us and we offer our deepest condolences to his family. He will be forever in our hearts.
R.I.P. Mitchell Adam Lucker. We love you, brother.”
8. SONS OF AZRAEL’S JOE SIRACUSE
New York death metal band Sons of Azrael’s vocalist Joe Siracuse (pictured far right, above) has passed away at the young age of 29. Details regarding the cause of Siracuse’s death have not been made public.
Sons of Azrael posted the simple message, ‘Joseph R. Siracuse 1983-2012,’ on their Facebook page on the night of Oct. 9.
Sadly, this is the second tragedy Sons of Azrael have experienced in less than a year. Guitarist Tony Lorenzo was shot in the back during an armed robbery on Oct. 26, 2011, which paralyzed the musician from the waist down.
9. VANCE BOCKIS OF THE OBSESSED, 9353 + PENTAGRAM
Noted Washington, D.C.-area punk and metal bassist Vance Bockis has died at the age of 50. The musician, who played in such bands as the Obsessed, 9353 and Pentagram, in addition to fronting the Factory, passed away at his home in Fairfax County, Va., on Saturday (Sept. 1) from complications following shoulder surgery.
Bockis had a history of heroin addiction that left him emaciated and contributed to the Factory potentially losing a big break with CBS Records. His recovery was chronicled in the 2010 documentary, ‘Shift.’ “I should be dead or I should be in prison,” stated the rocker in the film.
The bassist’s wife, Linda Leisz Bockis, told the station that the bassist had been clean for six years. He entered the hospital to be treated for rotator cuff surgery and was preparing to play with the re-formed 9353, who recorded new material earlier this year.
10. LETHAL’S ERIC COOK
Eric Cook, co-founder and guitarist for the Kentucky-based metal band Lethal lost his battle with cancer on Aug. 23, causing despair for fans of the former Metal Blade Records act.
After splitting up in 1996, Lethal reformed to play select festivals in 2007 and 2008.
‘Keep it True’ festival organizer Oliver Weinsheimer remembered Cook, while hoping to dedicate the 2014 edition of the festival to the guitarist. “Eric was one of the nicest musicians I ever worked with and a real gentleman. The whole next Keep it True will be dedicated to his honor and we will try to arrange a final farewell/tribute Lethal show for Keep it True 2014. This is something he deserves for all the beautiful music and joy he gave to us. The whole Keep it True family sends their condolences to his family, friends, and his band members, who all go through dark times right now.”
11. KOTTONMOUTH KINGS’ PATRICK ‘PAKELIKA’ COCHRUN
Rap-rock act Kottonmouth Kings are in mourning as former masked member Patrick “Pakelika” Cochrun passed away on Aug. 12 at the age of 34.
Singer Brad “Daddy X” Xavier first posted the news on Facebook that his former hype man was admitted to the hospital due to “serious health issues,” with the announcement of his passing coming an hour later. The official cause of death was listed as cardiac arrest during an asthma attack.
The band paid tribute to their fallen brother in the following post: “We had traveled the world together and played hundreds of shows together. The memories and experiences we had together will live forever in our hearts and souls. We want to thank the underground for the tremendous outpouring of grief and support.Take care of yourselves and spread love and positive vibrations..Rest in peace Big Pak you will be missed!”
12. NO USE FOR A NAME’S TONY SLY
No Use for a Name frontman Tony Sly has passed away at the age of 41. Sly fronted the beloved punk-rock act from 1989 until his death on July 31.
Featured on all nine No Use For A Name albums, Tony Sly possessed a perfect SoCal punk rock voice, which cemented No Use as underground heroes.
Bandmate Matt Riddle posted a casual, yet heart-wrenching statement about his friend. “I’m not sure of all the details yet, and i don’t think that’s really important. what’s important is i lost a great friend and you lost a great songwriter. i’ve been playing with him for 15 years? 16? i haven’t processed it yet. i’ve been on the phone all day with friends and family. i’m not looking forward to it sinking in. i’m worried sick for his wife and kids. i knew tony very well and he would definitely want to thank you for all the love and support for both No Use and his solo career.”
13. DOGBANE’S DAVID ELLENBURG
David Ellenburg, the guitarist for Greensboro, N.C.-based band Dogbane, died of complications due to a stroke. He was just 47.
Ellenburg died Monday, July 30. His passing was peaceful and he was surrounded by his friends and family, which is obviously one of the most comfortable ways to pass from this life to the next. He leaves behind a wife and children, as well.
The band posted a heartfelt eulogy for Ellenburg, which in part states, “Dave was a great many things to a lot of people, a husband, a father, and a creative force behind Dogbane. Most importantly, he was our friend.”
14. DEEP PURPLE’S JON LORD
We lost a true legend this year in Deep Purple keyboardist and founding member Jon Lord. The musician passed away on July 16 at the age of 71 after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Lord was also battling pancreatic cancer at the time of his death.
Lord’s greatest accomplishments include co-writing the classic Deep Purple track ‘Smoke on the Water,’ appearing on six Whitesnake albums and releasing a pair of solo records in the ’80s.
Lord’s website stated that he was “surrounded by his loving family” at the time of his death. He had been planning a comeback show July 12, but had to cancel the performance due to his ailing health. The keyboardist is survived by his wife Vickie and two daughters – Amy and Sara.
15. DRAKAR’S IVAN SEKYRA
Drakar frontman Ivan Sekyra passed away from an undisclosed illness on June 30 at the age of 59. As the mastermind of the Czech heavy metal band, he led Drakar to gather a cult fan base in their home country.
Sekyra was happy to let fans into the depths of his sonic philosophy. “The music of Drakar is deliberately riddled with practices that are banned in classical music,” Sekrya said. “There is important work with rhythms. None of the drummers wanted to play like that because they used to play different from it.”
He also spoke about why he decided to become Drakar’s vocalist. “We could not find right singer, so I started to sing of necessity alone. A few people told me that I have an interesting timbre of voice, and so I tried to take advantage of it. The vocal should sound like when Big Brother speaks to you, a hundred times intensified.”
16. HAWKWIND’S JOHN HARRISON
Hawkwind are underground trailblazers in the world of music, creating the “space rock” sub-genre with their self-titled LP in 1970. John Harrison helped found the band in 1969, and after his departure, a revolving door of bass players were members of Hawkwind, including legendary Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister.
John Harrison passed away peacefully on May 26, at the age of 69 after a long battle with Huntington’s disease. Harrison’s sister Franny sent a detailed and heartfelt message to original and current Hawkwind member Dave Brock and his wife Kris Tait. Here is a small part of that message:
“In the evening, William was attending to John around 7:45pm. John thanked him for looking after him. William looked in on him again around 8pm and found he had passed away. Linda returned to see him, and said his face was so peaceful, and showed no signs that he’d been distressed, which is a great relief to us all, as it was expected that his final time could be quite traumatic.”
17. ROCK CITY ANGELS’ BOBBY DURANGO
Rock City Angels singer and founding member Bobby Durango passed away in early June from causes that have not yet been made public. The band has been around since the ’80s and once included actor Johnny Depp as a guitarist and songwriter.
The band was working on a new album called ‘Devils in the Countryside’ before Durango died, and tweeted out a statement remembering their beloved singer:
“Whether you knew Bobby in the flesh, only knew him online or just listened to his music, all of our lives are emptier today without him. And as for those rumors we talked about earlier, even we don’t know all of the details yet, so out of respect for his family it would be greatly appreciated if we could all refrain from posting any personal theories about the circumstances and instead celebrate the man’s life. He certainly left us an amazing soundtrack.”
18. CRESCENT SHEILD / ONWARD’S MICHAEL GRANT
Michael Grant, vocalist for heavy metal bands Onward and Crescent Shield, died on May 31 at the age of 39. No official information about the singer’s passing has been released, but a post on Crescent Shield’s official website states that the cause of Grant’s death was “a relatively brief but serious illness.”
Beginning in 2000, Grant fronted the Montana-based power metal band Onward. Grant also manned the mic for Crescent Shield, which also began in 2000.
Shortly after Grant’s death, Crescent Shield guitarist posted a heartfelt tribute to his fallen bandmate. “Working with Mike was the most creatively rewarding experience of my life. Although the band has been on hiatus for a while, Mike and I still were writing new material and his voice and creative energies were still in top form. Losing him at such a young age is both shocking and tragic. I will miss my musical companion, my metal brother, and my friend.”
19. GORGUTS / NEGATIVA’S STEEVE HURDLE
Steeve Hurdle, who manned the guitar for legendary death metallers Gorguts and began his own metal project Negativa, passed away on May 20 at the age of 41 from “post-surgical complications.”
After Gorguts called it quits in 1993, the band re-formed in 1998. Hurdle was recruited to shred for Gorguts’ third release, ‘Obscura,’ which received massive acclaim from both critics and fans. ‘Obscura’ signified the next step in the career of Gorguts, providing their fans with a more challenging and twisted assault of brutality.
Hurdle left Gorguts after ‘Obscura’ to focus on his self-incarnated death metal project, Negativa. Although that band was active for 16 years, they only officially released a three-song, self-titled EP.
20. SEBASTIAN BACH DRUMMER MARK ‘BAM BAM’ MCCONNELL
Mark ‘Bam Bam’ McConnell served as Sebastian Bach‘s touring drummer from 1997-2005 and spent 1996-1997 with southern rock band Blackfoot.
Sebastian Bach himself suddenly alerted fans on May 23 that McConnell was in ill health, asking his fans to pray for the stickman. Another McConnell associate had informed fans that the drummer’s liver and kidneys had begun to shut down and that he had suffered partial brain damage. Sadly, these conditions led to the drummer’s death on May 24.
McConnell’s wife Rikki paid tribute to the musician in a Facebook posting. She stated, “My sweet, beautiful best friend and husband. I miss you so much and so do Sara and Patch. I’ll take good care of them. My time with you was way too short, but what an adventure! Wow! I’ll love you always and always! You’ll be in my heart!!! Xoxoxoxox.”
The family of McConnell also shared some heartfelt words after his passing. “To all of us, Mark leaves behind his love and kindness, along with the humor and passion for music that he shared with everyone — family, friends and fans alike. He will never be forgotten.”
21. HEIR APPARENT’S BRYAN HAGAN
Bryan Hagan, who fronted Heir Arrarent from 2002-2003 passed away on May 21 at 39 years of age. The cause of his death has not yet been revealed.
“He was a gentle giant and a great friend,” begins the band’s statement. “Bryan was slated as first choice to replace Paul Davidson for the 2012 reunion shows last January in Greece and Germany, but was unable to make the trip. We are shocked and tremendously saddened by his untimely passing,” the post continues. “You will be greatly missed, my friend.”
Unfortunately, Hagan was unable to perform vocal duties for Heir Apparent’s European shows, where the band achieved much greater success than in the United States.
22. URGEHAL’S TRONDR NEFAS
Black metal frontman Trondr Nefas from the Norwegian band Urgehal has passed away at age 35. After 20 years of making black metal with Urgehal, Nefas suddenly died in a manner which the band described as “peaceful and natural” in an official statement.
Urgehal’s record label, Seasons of Mist, were the first to announce the sad news of Nefas’ passing. “We are deeply sorry to announce that Urgehal guitarist / vocalist Trondr Nefas just passed away. More news and official statement to follow soon. RIP.”
Urgehal released an official statement, mourning the loss of their frontman.
“The greatest is gone. Trondr Nefas, our dearest friend and companion for more than 20 years, suddenly passed away last week. He died a peaceful and natural death at one of his favourite places, surrounded by woods and crystal lakes … Our deepest sympathy goes to Trond’s fiancée Octavia, and both of their families. We appreciate all of the condolences and support given to us after his tragic death.
Sammen var vi dynamitt!!!”
“Sammen var vi dynamitt” is Norwegian for “Together we were dynamite.”
23. ADAM ‘MCA’ YAUCH
In absolutely devastating news, Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, of the legendary group Beastie Boys, passed away from cancer at the age of 47 on May 4.
It was in 2009 when Yauch announced that he had begun treatment for cancer of his parotid gland and one lymph node. The rapper went through surgery and radiation therapy to battle his ailment, delaying the release of ‘Hot Sauce Committee’ and the group’s tour.
The news of Yauch’s death came only weeks after the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Such rockers as Slash, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Disturbed’s David Draiman, Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and more offered their condolences on the very day Yauch passed.
An in-depth eulogy for Yauch was posted on the official website of the Beastie Boys:
“Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys … Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.”
24. ROCKERS WE’VE LOST IN 2012: ROB DOHERTY OF INTO ETERNITY / FINAL DARKNESS
Into Eternity and Final Darkness guitarist Rob Doherty passed away on May 4 at the age of 41. Doherty was known as the ‘Ambassador of Saskatchewan metal’ and gave his talents on the 2004 Into Eternity album, ‘Buried in Oblivion.’ Into Eternity mainman Tim Roth says, “He was a special part of our band. Our condolences go out to all of Rob’s family and friends, and to all those, who Rob’s music touched.”
Doherty was also remembered by his brothers in Final Darkness. “It is with incredible sadness that we must say good bye to our brother Rob – you will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved you.
…thank you for being a part of our lives. May you find peace my friend…”
25. RITCHIE TEETER
Drummer Ritchie Teeter, who played in the Dictators and Twisted Sister, died on April 10, 2012 at the age of 61.
Teeter joined the legendary punk band the Dictators in 1976 and appeared on their albums ‘Manifest Destiny’ (1977) and ‘Bloodbrothers’ (1978) before leaving the group in 1979.
Teeter was also briefly a member of Twisted Sister for a few months in late 1980 and early 1981, but never appeared on a studio album with the band.
26. JIM MARSHALL
Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplifcations and the ‘Father of Loud,’ passed away on April 5 in an English hospital. He was 88-years-old.
After the death of Marshall, a gigantic outpouring of love came from all corners of the music community. Musicians such as Paul McCartney, Slash, Nikki Sixx and many more. (Read rocker’s responses to his death here.) Marshall inspired musicians of all generations to pour their soul into their playing and to turn it up to 11.
Posted on the Marshall amps website, the company shared a long and heartfelt eulogy. “We all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is now in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!”
27. WILL OF MASTIC SCUM
The former vocalist of Mastic Scum, known only as Will, died in a car accident on Friday (March 23).
The band issued a statement on their official Facebook page about the tragic passing of their former bandmate.
“In deep sadness we have to announce that our friend and ex-member Will died by accident on Friday, March 23rd. We are all very shocked about his tragic death. Will joined Mastic Scum in 1993 and left the band in 2008. We had a great time and lot of experiences together. R.I.P. Will – we’ll see us in another life!”
28. RONNIE MONTROSE
The legendary and incredibly influential Montrose founder Ronnie Montrose passed away on March 3 at the age of 64. The heavy metal innovator had numerous battles prostate cancer during his final years and committed suicide after beating the disease, only to have it return.
Ronnie Montrose lent his skills to the 1971 Van Morrison album ‘Tupelo Honey’ and was a member of the Edgar Winter Group before the inception of the band Montrose, which Ronnie formed with Sammy Hagar in the early ’70s.
Soon after his passing, a heartfelt statement was posted on Ronnie Montrose’s personal website. “He passed today. He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we’re glad to have shared with him while we could.”
29. ‘OTUS’ TONMI LILLMAN
Tonmi ‘Otus’ Lillman was the drummer for the incredibly popular Finnish heavy metal band Lordi. Lillman passed away on Feb. 14, 2012 at the age of 38. No cause of death has been revealed as of yet. Lordi posted the following farewell message to Lillman:
Our dear friend and band mate, “Otus” Tonmi Lillman, has sadly passed away.
He will be greatly missed and we send our condolences to his family and friends.
Otus: we thank You from the bottom of our hearts for the short time we got to know you and spend with you together.
Rest in peace, friend.
Lillman also had played drums for a number of other notable outfits, including Sinergy and To/Die/For. He was also part of the heavy metal parody band Kylähullut fronted by Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho.