A few weeks ago, I was shocked to hear that Mikey Welsh had passed away. It was very unexpected, I was blown away. He and I had just become friends online, interacting through Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, just a few weeks ago I was talking to this man and then all of a sudden… he was gone. He may not have been a huge celebrity or household name, but I admired and respected him greatly.
For those that don’t know, Mikey used to play bass in Weezer, and was featured on 2001’s Weezer (The Green Album.) At my first Weezer show I ever attended, I got to meet him. He was a friendly guy and talked to my friends and I for a long time. Being a teenager and a huge Weezer fanatic, I was excited beyond belief and the experience made my first Weezer show that much more memorable. I didn’t even care that I wasn’t allowed into the show until I sneaked in during the encore (it was a 21+ venue.)
The very next year, Mikey had a mental breakdown, and left the band for personal reasons. I was shocked back then too, he had just joined the band, Weezer was moving forward and suddenly they lost their bass player… again. At the time he left, nothing was explained (most likely due to the nature of his leaving) and Mikey seemed to have vanished into thin air. Weezer got yet another bass player shortly thereafter and people seemed to forget about Mikey ever being in the band. It was almost like he was Judy from Family Matters or something.
Earlier this year, I randomly thought about Mikey and decided to look him up. I was pleased to see that he was doing well, working as an artist and being very open with people about what happened to him during his experiences with Weezer and his subsequent mental breakdown. I was impressed, it takes balls to admit that you struggled heavily with drugs and mental health issues, tried to kill yourself, and were in a lockdown psychiatric ward. The best part though, was that he was a happy and successful artist despite all of that.
A few months ago, I noticed that Mikey was sharing stories about his time in Weezer via Facebook. It was pretty cool seeing those updates every few days, getting to read behind the scenes stories about one of my favorite bands (that story about him clogging up Gwen Stefani’s toilet was pretty great.) Eventually those updates slowly revealed more and more that Mikey was still struggling with his issues. It was a little surprising, but also relieving because he mentioned that sharing his stories, art, and interacting with fans brought him so much happiness, and helped him through his problems. He really loved his fans:
“i don’t know, man. i was sparring with this chick down there a while ago. she seemed to think it was strange that i did’nt get any negative feedback from all of my journal entries. only the positive. is there something wrong with that? if i can post these really personal/emotional writings, and people are responding to it with such passion, is’nt that a good thing? if it helps someone to relate, maybe, to something i have gone through? this is’nt just about showing everyone my paintings anymore, it’s a deep-emotional bond we all share… so fuck anyone who dos’nt dig it… you know? i won’t let anyone come in here and fuck up our communitiy…ever. and i hope your with me, lovelies. just want you to know that i’ve got yr back…. love— mikey”
He kept posting updates until the night before his death. I really admired him for that, for sharing so much about himself, and being so brave and open about everything he struggled with. He was a great bassist, an amazing artist, and a wonderful human being. Without a doubt, this week’s COTW is dedicated to Mikey Welsh. So long pal, you will be missed.
To anyone out there struggling with any of the same stuff that Mikey did, don’t let go.