Earlier this week, the metal world was crushed to hear that Mike Howe, former vocalist of Metal Church, was dead at 55. Now, Mike’s cause of death has been revealed via statements from the local police.
According to TMZ, Howe died from asphyxia due to hanging. A spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department said that authorities are calling it a suicide.
Police received a call Monday morning (July 26) just after 10 a.m. in Eureka, California reporting an unexpected death at a residence. By the time deputies arrived on the scene, the 55-year-old singer was dead.
Police have stated that drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the death. No controlled substances or paraphernalia were located at the scene.
Howe began his career in Detroit with the band Hellion, eventually moving on to the band Heretic. Heretic released a single album, Breaking Point, in 1986 on Metal Blade, before Howe joined Metal Church and the band broke up. With Howe at the forefront, Metal Church began to explore topics like political unrest and ongoing social issues, which connected with audiences in the late ’80s looking for something a little more substantial than tracks about girls and the Devil.
Howe did two runs with Metal Church — in the ’80s, where he appeared on 1989’s Blessing In Disguise, 1991’s The Human Factor, and 1993’s Hanging In The Balance; and in the late 2010s, when Howe appeared on 2016’s XI and 2018’s Damned If You Do. After the former stint, the band broke up; Howe provided guest vocals on such albums as Hall Aflame’s 1991 album Guaranteed Forever and Megora’s 1997 EP Illusions, but didn’t record for another band full-time.
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Mike’s family, friends, fans and collaborators during this difficult time.
Words by Chris Krovatin