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RIP Michael Lee

November 29, 2008
Wolfe, Astbury, Lee, Duffy. I had this poster for years.

Wolfe, Astbury, Lee, Duffy. I had this poster for years, along with many others.

Michael Lee died this week. He was 39.

I first heard of him when he drummed for The Cult in 1991-92 on the Ceremony tour. While he didn’t record with the band (Mickey Curry handled drums for the Ceremony album), Michael and bassist Kinley Wolfe joined singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy for the ensuing tour. Their performance was captured for the Live at the Marquee CD set, which came as a giveaway with the Pure Cult VHS video; you can also see them in the Wild Hearted Son video (although they’re really just miming to Curry and Charley Drayton’s studio work).

The Cult being The Cult, he didn’t stay long, but did have his name added to the Spinal Tapness that is The Cult’s drum roster. But he did okay. He then joined Robert Plant’s band for the Fate of Nations album (you see him in the Calling To You video), and stayed on for some of that Page and Plant stuff in the mid-90s.

He was a solid, non-flashy drummer with huge power. What little I heard, I really, really liked; as a drummer, I have a lot of respect for players who know how to stay at the back of the stage and the back of the song. Lee did that, and did it well.

The sad thing is his age. He was younger than I am. I guess that’s a sign of getting older. But two rock heroes of my youth have died this week, and that makes me stop and contemplate for a moment.

Here’s to you, Michael Lee. Thanks for rocking.

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