Monday, 26 October 2009

Mike Alexander R.I.P.

Mike Alexander R.I.P.
I’d got an email from Lucy saying Evile were leaving the Amon Amarth tour whilst I was in the hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. I thought to myself “Shit what bad luck have the guys got into now? I hope Ol’s been eating right and not breaking his jaw, I hope they’ve managed to get the ferry, I hope none of them have got ill” I was frustrated, thinking about Ol’s bad feeling about the tour before they started thinking “Come on guys whatever it is you’ve got to stick it out” So I wrote back to Lucy from Kathmandu saying “Tell me what’s going on”

I didn’t get a reply until I reached Tibet and my Blackberry started working. The first thing I read upon arrival. Mike’s dead.

Evile didn’t want to tell me, they didn’t want to spoil my holiday, but they were worried I would see it on Facebook and not hear it from them.

I’d just landed in a really surreal place and I was getting really surreal news.

I still don’t think it’s sunk in for me. I still don’t know what to write.

Mike was a very private person. I only found out that he had a daughter about 6 months ago. I’d been drinking with him enough, I’d laughed with him enough, but his private life was his private life, and in some ways Mike was the quiet one in Evile. Until you went out on the piss with him. Or until you had one of those natural moments of hilarity with Mike where his easy going sense of humour caught the room.

Mike was a giggler. He didn’t have a big booming laugh, he giggled. Please note this example when we were in the woods doing the Evile photoshoot for Infected Nations. I’d told the boys this story about Mad Bess. (Just like my guide leader had told me the story about Mad Bess when I was a girl guide) and whilst we were waiting to take photos (it was fucking pissing it down) we did this YouTube clip. Mike’s trying to hold himself together and not dissolve into laughter. I’m trying to hold it together and not dissolve in to laughter from looking at Mike (although you can still hear me giggle behind the camera)

Mike wasn’t the guy I would contact to get press done with Evile; he certainly wasn’t the guy who would respond to emails quickest if ever. He never had a facebook; he didn’t really like his mobile phone. He always wore headphones. He wasn’t really one to take the lead or to be confrontational. He was a King Diamond virgin until Louise and I initiated him to the King in the car from Bloodstock to a Supermarket one hungry morning at the festival. Louise and I tortured him without mercy by singing Madonna classics at him all the way home from Bloodstock. But he actually didn’t seem to mind, said it reminded him of his sisters. He was the guy everyone wanted to hang out with especially when press were in town, he was the guy everyone wanted to be around because he was so easy going. It was never any fuss or stress with him. Everything was done with no bother; anything you did for him was always received so gratefully and humbly. He was never one of those guys to be disappointed with a rider at a show, he was always grateful there was anything at all. He was never the one to be in bed early, he was the one who used to like to party, in his own understated hilarious way.

I feel bad I didn’t get to know him better, to make the most of his fun loving, no hassle personality. I always loved the way his eyes lit up mischievously when he would witness something cheeky. Those eyes gave away so much.

He was the first Evile member to dress up in stupid masks with me at Bloodstock. He danced Reggae with me outside some market stall. He was a really good guy. He was a really solid guy.

All that without even mentioning what a talented bass player he was.

I can’t imagine how hard it is for his brothers in Evile. Ben, I know you’ll make it through this ok, Ol you’re so brave, and Matt I’m glad you’ve all got each other. I know you’ll be back on stage soon enough, as I’m sure Mike would never have wanted you to stop, and I know that nothing and no one will be able to replace him, as he was so special, but I also know that everything Mike gave to the band will carry on with you, and his sound will carry on when you play the tracks he wrote with you and when you get on stage and see the fans that were fans of him too, and love you all still. The support Evile have from fans has always been huge because they are such genuine nice guys. Thankful and grateful and sweet, and enjoying every minute of their career with the band. And you guys will enjoy it again, even though Mike will be no longer with you physically, you know he’ll be there every time you play in your heads and hearts and in the minds and hearts of the fans too.

I’m writing this on the train, and we’re just going through Market Harborough near where Evile recorded the album Infected Nations. Near where this video happened where Mike pops through looking cheeky.
Near where he tasted a chilli in the Indian restaurant by the recording studio (on the Evile DVD)

Something about him was so magic, he had a self-awareness and comic timing in everything, whilst still in many ways being the “quiet one”. I hope that his work lives on in his music and his kids. Having met Tom at the weekend, I know his sense of humour lives on, and I see with Tom and Matt both that his love of metal will continue. My heart goes out to his family, to his Mum and Hayley and his Lumpy Georgie, I hope you can take solace in how much he was loved all over the world and that his memory will live on in his music and with his fans.

It’s still so hard to believe no one will hear his giggle ever again.

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