Hard rock vocalist Mike Howe, who served two stints in Seattle thrashers Metal Church in the late 1980s and again in the 2000s, has died at age 55. The long-running band announced the news in a Facebook tribute, writing, "It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music. 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."
The singer with a classic, powerful metal wail of a voice did two memorable tours of duty in the long-running band formed by guitarist/songwriter and only consistent member Kurdt Vanderhoof in San Francisco in 1980 under the name Shrapnel. After moving to Aberdeen, Washington, the band became one of the leading lights of the burgeoning thrash metal scene thanks to original vocalist David Wayne and guitarist Craig Wells.