METAL CHURCH has amended its previously released statement regarding the passing of singer Mike Howe.
Howe was found dead at his home in Eureka, California on Monday, July 26. According to TMZ, Howe's official cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to hanging. A spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept. told the site authorities are calling it a suicide.
Earlier today, the surviving members of METAL CHURCH shared a statement on social media in which they blamed Howe's death on the fact that he "was victimized by a failing health-care system and subsequently poisoned by the venom of Big Pharma," a term which refers collectively to the global pharmaceutical industry. "In short and in essence, he fell prey to the real 'Fake Healer'."
METAL CHURCH's statement was quickly met with criticism from some of the band's fans who felt that the long-running metal act was using Howe's death as a platform to assert its political views. As a result, METAL CHUCH pulled its original post from social media and replaced it with a revised version, which follows below.
"Concerning our recently deleted post addressing the news that Mike's passing was a suicide, we wanted to dispel any misconceptions that might have arisen from certain media reports," METAL CHURCH wrote in its latest post. "In our efforts to do that, our attempts at honesty created a narrative that fell outside our purest of intentions. We were in no way, shape or form referring to anything in relation to vaccinations, COVID or politics. We were saying our brother was hurting and while he was seeking medical care for it, the treatments he was utilizing did not protect him. Otherwise, he would still be with us today.
"If you knew Mike Howe, then you knew he was a truly good human being who loved his friends, his family and his many fans around the world. He would always go the extra mile to make someone feel good and he would always give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. We ask that you remember Mike in that way and for the amazing metal music he created.
"This is an extremely difficult time for everyone who knew Mike personally and those that knew him through the music. We are all still processing the loss of our brother. We apologize that the original statement was misunderstood or created an incorrect dialog. We ask that you please stop attacking each other in relation to Mike's passing and METAL CHURCH. We ask that you take that energy and use it to keep Mike's memory alive by sharing the music he created while he was with us. We want METAL CHURCH music to bring people together as it has over the years and not be divisive.
"Godspeed Mike Howe, WE LOVE YOU!!!"
TMZ previously stated that cops in Eureka got a call just after 10 a.m. on Monday reporting an unexpected death at a home. By the time deputies arrived, they found the 55-year-old dead at the scene.
According to police, drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the death and no controlled substances or paraphernalia were located at the scene.
Howe, who fronted METAL CHURCH from 1988 until 1994, officially rejoined the band in April 2015.
Prior to joining METAL CHURCH more than three decades ago, Howe spent two years fronting California metal act HERETIC.
The reunion between Mike and METAL CHURCH was put in motion in July of 2014 when Mike started working with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof on a side project Kurdt was forming with Nigel Glockler from SAXON. Through these initial conversations, Kurdt convinced Mike to ultimately return to METAL CHURCH. The idea was to see if they could recapture some of the magic from the three albums METAL CHURCH released in the late '80s: "The Human Factor", "Blessing In Disguise" and "Hanging In The Balance". Out of those sessions, 2016's "XI" was born and captured the sound that made the band fan favorites in the '80s and mixed it with a new, invigorated sound.
METAL CHURCH's latest release was "From The Vault", which arrived in April 2020 via Rat Pak Records. The effort was a special-edition compilation album that featured 14 previously unreleased songs from the Howe era, including four newly recorded studio tracks, among them a redux of the band's fan favorite classic "Conductor".
Howe is not the first singer of METAL CHURCH to die. David Wayne passed away in May 2005 from complications following a car crash. He was 47 years old.
Wayne sang on METAL CHURCH's first two classic offerings (1984's "Metal Church" and 1986's "The Dark") before leaving the group and being replaced by Howe.