Bassist Casey Orr (MINISTRY, RIGOR MORTIS, GWAR) has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the passing of MINISTRY and RIGOR MORTIS guitarist Mike Scaccia:
“How do I say goodbye to Mike Scaccia? How do I say goodbye to my best friend, my bandmate, my songwriting partner, my mentor, and yes, sometimes my tormentor? How do I say goodbye to such a unique and amazing talent, taken away from us far too soon? How do I say goodbye to someone I loved and admired, who enlightened me and inspired me, and made me believe that anything was possible? How do I say goodbye to my brother? How do I say goodbye to someone like Mike Scaccia?
“I can’t. I won’t. I don’t have to.
“Mike Scaccia will live forever.
“Mike Scaccia lives on through his wonderful children and his beautiful wife, Jenny. He lives on through his family who were always his biggest cheerleaders. He lives on through his bandmates and all the musicians that had the honor of working with him over the years. Those of us who got to experience the full range of his musical capabilities. We, fortunate few, who knew, who REALLY knew, just how truly gifted he was. He lives on through his friends and his fans, and he will live on through the next generation of guitar players who will no doubt discover and be inspired by him and continue to push the boundaries of the instrument that he loved so much. He will live on through each and every one of us that he touched, because he was much more than just a brilliant guitar player. More than the just the coolest motherfucker I ever knew. He was a genuinely good guy. He had a way of making anyone feel like an old friend. He was accessible and would talk to anyone who wanted to talk. Especially if the subject was guitars. We hear story after story from people who met him for the first time after a guitar clinic, saying the same thing: ‘Mike talked to me for 45 minutes after his clinic, talked to me like he knew me, suggested records to listen to or guitar players to study, gave me a fresh pack of strings and told me to go home and practice my ass off.’ He was just a cool dude! And he didn’t have a big ego. He wasn’t a competitive guitar player. He wasn’t out to be the best. Never claimed to be. He just loved the guitar and the guitar loved him right back. He wasn’t flashy. He didn’t showboat. But he didn’t have to. His abilities were the flash and his hands were the show. You could always tell who the guitar players were in the audience, because they were all standing in front of Mike with their jaws on the floor and their eyes glued to his hands. It truly was just that amazing to behold!
“Of course, Mike wasn’t perfect. None of us are. He traveled some dark roads in the past and he went through some dark times. But he never gave up on himself and he came back into the light and continued his journey, wiser and more humble for his experience. He fought his demons and he won. And for the last decade or so, he steadily hiked back up the mountain, concentrating on his family, and really enjoying his work and all of the people he worked with.
“And, most definitely, Mike Scaccia will live on through his music. He left behind some classic records as well as a whole lot of unreleased stuff. Not filler to be included to stretch out some best-of package, but albums worth of incredible music, that I, as a fan, sincerely look forward to being released someday, so the world can finally see the depth of his talent and enjoy the beautiful music he created.
“I am honored to be able to say that I have been Mike Scaccia’s bass player for 30 years. Privileged to get to watch him play the things very few people ever got to see. The little riffs and things he would play at practice or just warming up. STONES, Johnny Cash, DEVO, cartoon songs, ‘Jessie’s Girl’, just whatever. He had a rare gift, in that any tune he could conjure in his head, he could instantly translate to his hands and guitar. No searching for key or the notes. It was effortless. Instinctive. Freakish. It was awesome!
“And I am honored to be able to say that I have been Mike Scaccia’s friend for 30 years. Privileged to share all the things that life throws at you. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. We laughed a lot.
“We had our own language that only a band of brothers could understand. A weird, movie reference twin-speak that would drive our wives or girlfriends crazy, because they had no idea what we were saying or why we were laughing like idiots.
“It’s really hard to say goodbye to Mike Scaccia. It hurts deeply. It’s such an enormous loss to all of us and to the world. Such a tragic and shocking and unexpected passing of a man who was already a living legend. And we’re all so very very sad. We will continue to shed tears for our loss for some time to come, and I for one will not apologize for a single one.
“We lost one of the greats. An unpretentious rock star. An incredible and one-of-a-kind talent. One of, if not the, greatest rock and roll guitar player of our time. And I say that without reservation or hesitation.
“On December 22, 2012, Mike Scaccia died. But he died doing what he loved. He died with his boots on and with his current favorite Les Paul in his hands. He died onstage, playing with his brothers, the guys he started his career with, playing to his hometown crowd, surrounded by the people who loved him most and who he loved. He died with happiness in his life. He died playing the guitar. How rock and roll is that?
“So, yeah, I can’t say goodbye to Mike Scaccia. I’ll just say ‘so long,’ you beautiful motherfucker. We’ll meet again one day on the other side and you can show me that new riff you’re working on.
“I love you, Mike.”