Metal Church Lead Singer Mike Howe Dies at 55

by Matthew Wilson

This one hurts, Metal Church fans. Lead singer Mike Howe has passed away. The musician died at his California home on Monday morning (July 26). Howe was 55-years-old.

A cause of death wasn’t announced at this time, but Metal Church’s official Facebook account confirmed the musician’s passing. The band asked for privacy for themselves and Howe’s family to process his passing and to grieve.

“It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music,” the post read. “Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.”

Heavy metal fans know Mike Howe’s contribution to the genre well. He first joined Metal Church back in 1988. By then, the band had been around for eight years, led by Kurdt Vanderhoof. Howe replaced singer David Wayne. Over the band’s span, it released 12 studio albums, including three that rose on the charts. The band also has had over 20 members during its run as well.

Howe and Metal Church first parted ways back in 1996.

Mike Howe On Metal Church

Howe retired from music in the 1990s to pursue carpentry. But in 2015, metal fans finally got the reunion they were waiting for. Howe returned once more to Metal Church to produce new music. During this time, Howe and the band produced two new albums and a collection of songs as well. The experience proved to be therapeutic for Howe.

He admittedly had parted ways with the band on bad terms in the 1990s. Howe said there was a lot of hurt feelings he had to process.

“When Metal Church broke up it was a very sad thing. I loved being in Metal Church and I felt that was my identity,” he told Loudwire. “I left primarily because of the business of music and how difficult it was navigating management, record companies, and outside forces that were ruining the band and my love of music. When I quit Metal Church and went off the road, I felt damaged about music in general that I loved. I felt hurt and angry about it all.”

Fortunately, Howe got to spend his last few years of life doing what he enjoyed the most – playing music for fans and his son.

“It was awesome for me because my oldest son was 18 when I came back to Metal Church and he came to shows,” Howe explained. “I took him on the first Monsters of Rock Cruise that I did and that was the greatest thing for me. I could tell he had a great time and it’s something I’ll never forget.”