In case you live under a rock or have awful taste in music, you know who EYEHATEGOD are. If you do, you also know who Mike IX is. The front man of EYEHATEGOD known for his life of addiction, pain, and hardship that he turned into the cornerstone of the Southern sludge sound that is what EYEHATEGOD is.
Roughly two years ago, I stood drunkenly in a green room in Austin, Texas with Mike and we talked over some beers.
It’s hard to describe what EYEHATEGOD means and has meant to me and few words seem to do justice to the experience of seeing them live for the second time.
The music is angry and it marks a time in my life where I was that reflection of that music. Rage filled and booze hungry, and looking to nihilism as a life goal.
Though when I met Mike for the first time, I had long since abandoned my commitment to nihilism, there was something so vital about meeting this person, this junkie poet, this high-brow low-life. The hard years of his life are written on his face, and written indelibly into his music and writing.
I was once told that trauma fosters resilience and not pathology in most people.
This is something I have ruminated on for a long time because I don’t always agree. Trauma does foster resiliency, and Mike is a perfect example of this.
Stubborn, and proud of it.
But Mike is not without his own pathology.
For those who may not know, Mike has been suffering ill health the last few years, and this can be attested by the strings of cancelled tours and show dates leaving many fans cranky online.
When I last saw Mike in 2014, he was sick. He looked tired and he seemed diminished, like a ghost.
Recently, Mike was hospitalized and this time, the consequences were more severe.
In so many words, he required a liver transplant due to cirrhosis of the liver which has led to liver failure.
NOW.. BEFORE THE EDGELORDS START BEING EDGY…
I’ve got a few things to say and I implore you to listen.
Liver failure sucks.
It is, by far, and in short, one of the worst and most horrifying things that can physiologically happen to a human being. It’s painful, and it’s exhausting.
….and it has to with alcoholism/drug addiction.. right?
I’ve seen a lot of shit being slung online about people who are ill informed and making hurtful comments about the state of Mike’s health and here I implore those impassioned keyboard warriors to give pause.
You aren’t Mike’s physician.
Granted, neither am I. But you don’t know the whole story.
From a strictly science based perspective, I wish to offer some thoughts.
Chronic failure of the liver can be caused by many things – long term use of a variety of drugs that can be as simple as Acetaminophen and NSAIDs like ibuprofen, chronic alcoholism, the hepatitis B or C viruses, the Epstein-Barr virus, cancer, and anatomical deformities of the liver and sometimes a combination of all or some of these factors
There exists a lot of stigma surrounding liver disease. Mention it at a party and someone will inevitably go off about alcoholism and drug addiction.
I’m not Mike’s doctor and I don’t have his medical charts in order to tell you the exact physiologic causes of his current health condition (and I wouldn’t/couldn’t even if I was), but I really hope that those folks out there who are making shitty comments online take a moment and think.
Would you still make the shitty comment about Mike, if you knew his condition was caused by Hepatitis B or C?
Did you know you can get Hepatitis B and C entirely by accident? Did you know you can get it through blood transfusions, tattoo needles, through sex and from your mother if she happened to be positive for the virus(es)?
Would the comments still be made online if this was the case?
Possibly, because of course, there’s always someone out there with something unkind to say.
A lot of stigma exists around drug addiction and alcoholism, partially because we haven’t as a society understood yet the reasoning behind addiction and in many ways, addicts are still seen as subhumans – people who electively opt out of life, live on handouts and spend their days partying on someone else’s dollar.
And this isn’t really true either. Addiction IS a disease and addicts are people just like you or I.
I know that for me personally, one simple misstep in the wrong direction and I could have ended up in a very different position than the one I have in life and beyond all of this, I really urge everyone to stop and think for a moment.
Yes – these people, people like Mike, may be your favourite singers or musicians, but the thing is that they don’t really owe you anything. I always see a ton of butthurt online over cancelled shows, and this goes for any artist. Yeah, it sucks, but you know what, sometimes life happens and the whole thing about the show must go on.. not always true.
With all this said, Mike was lucky enough to be able to receive a liver transplant and seems to be on the mend health wise. He’s the same stubborn son of a bitch we all know and love and this is really good.
EYEHATEGOD and family hosted a benefit for Mike called HELP IX LIVE IX LIVES, BENEFIT FOR THE SICK, and it apparently did really well. I know a lot can be said about metal heads online, but that’s what family does, and that’s what love does. Mike, whether he likes to admit it or not, is loved by many.
If you can, please donate.
So what am I trying to say here? I’m not really sure. I think it sucks to watch someone in a bad position get kicked when they’re down. But keyboard edge lords aside, a lot of great love and positivity came from this and in a way it made me rethink how I feel about people.
Say what you want about metal, but we take care of our own.
Get well, my friend.
Love to Mike, his family, his friends, and the wonderful cats over at Earsplit PR/Housecore Records for always being dope as fuck.