Last afternoon former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr was found dead in Salt Lake City, Utah. The founding member of the seminal Seattle band was 44 years old and had struggled with addiction his entire life. In recent years, Starr had become more famous for his stint on “Celebrity Rehab” than he ever was as a musician, but his legacy as a key member of Alice in Chains should not be understated.
AIC’s original bassist, Mike played from the band’s formation in 1987 until 1993. Starr was with the group for the Facelift and Dirt albums and the Sap EP. He was most often seen playing several variations of a Spector NS-2 bass guitar through an Ampeg SVT all-valve head and Ampeg 8×10″ speaker cabinets. He left Alice back in 1992 allegedly over his drug addiction. Current AIC bassist Mike Inez was his replacement.
Starr later played bass for the band Sun Red Sun, which featured Ray Gillen and Bobby Rondinelli, both former members of Black Sabbath. The project was cut short by Gillen’s death in 1993. Starr was later featured in the third season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010, which documented his treatment for heroin addiction beginning in August 2009 at the Pasadena Recovery Center. His subsequent stint staying in a sober living environment was then documented on the spinoff Sober House. On February 18, 2011, Starr was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance in Salt Lake City, Utah. On March 8, 2011, Starr was found dead in Salt Lake City. No details have emerged yet as to the cause of death, but it does not appear to have involved foul play.
Michael Christopher “Mike” Starr (April 4, 1966 – March 8, 2011)