Mike Mahaffey (1967–2005) was a founding member of the power-pop band Self. Founded with his brother, Matt Mahaffey, in the early 1990s, Self released two major-label albums and various independent and Internet-only albums. A multi-talented performer, Mike played lead guitar, keyboards, and bass for the band on various occasions. Before joining Self, Mike played in several bands, the most successful of which was the Southern Rock band Blackfish. Mike played lead guitar in the band, but contributed little to the songwriting. Blackfish released one major-label album in 1992 before disbanding. The other members of Blackfish were Steve Ballard (guitar & vocals), Chris Reublin (bass guitar) and Andy Howard (drums). His last recorded work was on Self's Ornament & Crime, an album that is unlikely to see an official release due to legal issues but was recorded in 2003 and 2004.
Mike died in his sleep in May 2005. He is survived by a wife, an ex-wife, and three children. There were several tribute shows in Mike's honor held at the Exit/In in Nashville, Tennessee, with proceeds going towards a college education fund for his children. The first show featured Spongebath alumni The Katies, Fluid Ounces, and The Features, and took place on August 19, 2005. A second show on September 10, 2005, was headlined by a reunited version of Self and also featured The Privates and SJ and the Props. A third show on December 3, 2005, featured John Cowan and various musicians close to Mike. In addition, wristbands were made available for purchase and bore one of Mike's favorite phrases, "It's all good."
Annual Mike Mahaffey Tribute Show
A group of Mike's friends have continued the tradition started with the December 3, 2005 fundraiser. The Annual Mike Mahaffey Tribute Show is held every first Saturday after Thanksgiving in Johnson City, Tennessee, at Capone's (formerly known as Gatsby's). Mike grew up in nearby Colonial Heights, Tenn., and later lived and played music in Johnson City. All proceeds from these shows go to an education fund for Mike's children.