Mikey Welsh

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Mikey Welsh
MikeyWelshWinter2010.jpg
Welsh in front of his artwork in winter 2010
Background information
Birth name Michael Edward Welsh[1]
Born (1971-04-20)April 20, 1971, Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Died October 8, 2011(2011-10-08) (aged 40)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, Emo
Occupations Musician, artist
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Years active

1984–2011

Zoë, Zoë Records, Bar/None Records
Labels Geffen, Fenway Recordings, CherryDisc Records,
Associated acts Weezer, The Special Goodness, Verbena, Juliana Hatfield, The Kickovers, Jocobono, Heretix, Slower, Left Nut

Michael Edward "Mikey" Welsh (April 20, 1971 – October 8, 2011) was an American artist and musician, best known as the former bassist of Weezer. He played with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo during Cuomo's time in Boston during the hiatus in the band Homie. Following original bassist Matt Sharp's decision to leave Weezer to focus on his group, The Rentals, Welsh was chosen to take over for him. Welsh played with Weezer from the time that they regrouped in 2000 until August 2001, when he suffered a mental breakdown. Shortly afterwards, he retired from music to focus on his art career.[2] Welsh died on October 8, 2011.[3]

Biography[edit]

Early musical career and joining Weezer[edit]

Welsh was born April 20, 1971 in Syracuse, New York. He began his career as a Boston-area musician, playing in bands such as Heretix, Chevy Heston, Jocobono, Left Nut, and Slower.[4][5][6][7] He was a touring bassist for Juliana Hatfield and Verbena.[8] In 1997 he joined the first incarnation of The Rivers Cuomo Band, the side-project of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.[7][8]

He joined Weezer following the departure of Matt Sharp in 1998.[4][9] During Weezer's hiatus he played with Verbena and the first incarnation of Patrick Wilson's band The Special Goodness. He wrote a large number of bass lines in this period, recorded them and sent them to Rivers Cuomo for writing inspiration.,[10] although Cuomo never used any of them.

Instead, he contributed four of these to Juliana Hatfield's 2000 album Juliana's Pony: Total System Failure.[11] Welsh was given a co-writing credit for four songs.[12]

He toured with the band from their resurgence in the summer of 2000 and most of the way through tours supporting The Green Album, the only Weezer album he would ever appear on. He would also appear on their limited edition Christmas EP (re-released in 2005 as Winter Weezerland) and on a number of b-sides and unreleased songs. He also played on the road and in the studio with Patrick Wilson's band The Special Goodness.[13]

Mental breakdown and exit from Weezer[edit]

Mikey Welsh left Weezer in 2001 for reasons that were left unclear to the public for several years after it happened. It was eventually revealed that he did in fact have a nervous breakdown due to drug use, undiagnosed mental conditions, and the constant wear of touring. The combination of these factors ultimately led Welsh to attempt suicide via drug overdose.[3] He was checked into a psychiatric hospital sometime during August 2001.[14] He later spoke about the ordeal in an interview with the website Rock Salt Plum:

Basically, a lifetime of doing drugs and being undiagnosed as having bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder finally caught up with me when I was 30 years old. At the beginning of a 3-month European tour with Weezer, I started slowly falling apart. Without getting too graphic, by the time the tour was winding up, my weight had gone down to about 140lbs (I'm 6'2") [63,5 kg – 1,88 m] and mentally completely wiped out. When I returned to the States, my family had made plans for me to see a psychiatrist in Boston. First though, we had to play a few dates around the U.S., and perform on The Tonite (sic) Show (which ended up being my last performance with Weezer). By the time I got to Boston, I was having a complete nervous breakdown. It ended with a severe suicide attempt (an overdose). I was found and rushed to the hospital where I had come to within minutes of my heart completely stopping. I was in a coma for a few days, and woke up in a lockdown psychiatric ward.

—Mikey Welsh, Feb. 2007 Rock Salt Plum Interview[3]

Weezer shot a new version of the video for their song, "Island in the Sun" to exclude Welsh.[15][16] In the fall of 2001, the band hired Scott Shriner to fill Welsh's place in the band.[17]

Retirement from music[edit]

In late 2001/2002, Welsh returned to the Boston music scene by temporarily joining Nate Albert's (guitarist for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) band, The Kickovers.[2] In an interview, he expressed his distaste for the corporate music process, stating that, "It’s actually fun to just be playing in the studio without some major-label idiot standing over your shoulder."[18]

Soon after, he retired from music to become a full-time artist.[2] He, his wife and their two sons lived in Vermont.[9][19]

Welsh attended a Weezer show on July 12, 2005 in Lewiston, Maine. Cuomo dedicated "Hash Pipe" to him, the very mention of his name drawing forth cheers from the crowd. Welsh also got to meet current Weezer bassist Scott Shriner.[20]

On September 2, 2010, he played bass on the song "Hash Pipe" with Weezer at a show in Essex Junction, Vermont.

On July 29, 2011, Welsh played guitar on the song "Undone" with Weezer and Flaming Lips at a show in New York.

Art career[edit]

Welsh became an artist. As of August 2008, he had 13 exhibitions of his artwork.[21] He was a member of Outsider Art.[22]

A quote from Welsh's official website explains his methods of creating his art:

Welsh attacks his canvases with pure spontaneity and aggression, almost never using a brush and preferring to work only with his hands and fingers. This technique gives him the opportunity to get as close and "inside" to his paintings as he needs to be. For him, this is a necessity. Welsh also works in sculpture, working with found objects. Constructing creatures out of broken and dismantled chairs and furniture, to vacuum hoses, tupperware, wire, and rope. All painted with his usual explosion of color.[21]

His artwork is featured on a Burton snowboard, in a line of snowboards titled "The Farm".[23] He recently designed and painted the album cover for Twin Berlin's debut album.[24]

Death[edit]

On October 8, 2011, Welsh's Facebook page announced that he had "passed away unexpectedly", with a memorial image attached. It was later announced that Welsh had been found dead in a hotel room in Chicago, from a suspected drug overdose leading to a heart attack.[25][26][27] He predicted his own death when he posted on Twitter on September 26, 2011, "dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today"[28] followed by "correction – the weekend after next".[29]

Discography[edit]

With Weezer
With Jocobono
  • 1995 – Jocobono
With Juliana Hatfield
With The Kickovers
With Heretix
  • 1993 – The Adventures of Superdevil
With Left Nut
  • 1990 - Bad Attitude No Apologies

References[edit]

  1. ^ Profile at Allmusic.com
  2. ^ a b c Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 366
  3. ^ a b c "2011/10/09 our friend Mikey Welsh 1971–2011 R.I.P.". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  4. ^ a b Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 259
  5. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 260
  6. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 261
  7. ^ a b Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 262
  8. ^ a b Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 264
  9. ^ a b "Weezer Biographies". Weezer.com. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  10. ^ "The Weezer Recording History: pg. 11". Weezer.com. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  11. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004, pg. 279
  12. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Juliana's Pony: Total System Failure". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  13. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 278
  14. ^ Heller, Greg. "Weezer to Redo "Island"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  15. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 362
  16. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 363
  17. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 372
  18. ^ "Different Strokes". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  19. ^ "Mikey Welsh Biography". MikeyWelsh.com. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  20. ^ "Dybbik, Schmybbik, I Said More Ham". Weezer.com. July 12, 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  21. ^ a b Danielle J. DeMarse-Welsh. "Mikey Welsh". Mikey Welsh. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  22. ^ "Who We Are". Outsiderart.info. December 9, 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "Twin Berlin". Twin Berlin. July 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  25. ^ Johnson, Luke. "Weezer Bassist Predicts His Own Death on Twitter". mysendoff.com website. mysendoff.com. Retrieved October 19, 2011. 
  26. ^ Nickeas, Peter (October 9, 2011). "Drug overdose suspected in death of former Weezer bass player". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  27. ^ Halperin, Shirley (October 8, 2011). "Mikey Welsh, Former Weezer Bassist, Dies at 40". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  28. ^ http://twitter.com/#!/MikeyWelsh71/status/118305899923259392
  29. ^ https://twitter.com/#!/MikeyWelsh71/status/118318253276798976

External links[edit]