* featured photo by Ross Hostage
It is with very heavy hearts that we report that Mike Herrerra, member of One Dying Wish, The Blackout Pact, Sleeperhorse, Gentlemen Crow and Tin Horn Prayer, passed away last night at the age of 33.
As I write this, I can’t help but think back on my own path in the Colorado music scene and how, thoughout the years, Mike has been intertwined throughout. From my early days of booking One Dying Wish at Cake Studios (a dance studio in Boulder that, inexplicably, let me throw shows in the early 00’s), to my ska band getting heckled by Blackout Pact fans at The Climax Lounge during a shared bill (Mike always had amazingly kind words for us even though the music we each played couldn’t be farther apart), to Tin Horn Prayer becoming one of my favorite bands to ever come out of Denver, to my current band playing The Blackout Pact’s final show this January, I’ve known Mike about as long as I’ve known Colorado.
Herrera’s bands, from beginning to end, always felt local even when I’d hear about people all over the country exalting their influence. Sure, we’d loan it out elsewhere, but that music was OURS. Whether as a singer or player, Mike had an ability to engage and move far beyond his seemingly small stature. Maybe that’s why it seemed he lived so big. I’d hear him sing and wish that I could bring through as much passion or that my throat could hold up to that kind of abuse. When Tin Horn Prayer emerged, I was amazed to find that one of my punk rock peers became a multi-instrumentalist and was incredibly impressed to find out he played them all really well.
Mike and I weren’t buds that hung around much outside of music. That being said, I always knew that on the occasions I’d see him that I could count on his signature grin and a firm hug that I can almost feel as I type this. Currently spinning on my turntable is THP’s Get Busy Dying. Their dark songs about death and pain that always seemed so rebellious, revelrous and cathartic in the midst of a raucous singalong crowd feel way too somber today and only tragically highlight the demons that lived within my kind-hearted and talented friend.
I’ll always remember the shows we played, the drinks we knocked back, and the good hangs that were all too infrequent. The lights are dull tonight. RIP Mikey.
A Gofundme page has been started to raise money to cover the costs of Mike Herrara’s funeral service. Please donate HERE.