May 4, 2009

 Mike Kirsch, the man, the myth, the legend… the dude has undiluted hardcore coarsing through his veins. From FUEL through to BAADER BRAINS his earnest style has helped redefine & influence contemporary hardcore for the past 20 years (thst’s proper hardcore by the way, the D.I.Y. shit).  There has been plenty mentioned on other blogs regarding his assorted bands, so if you don’t know by now you never will. I thought this would be an opportunity to post some stuff that doesn’t seem as readily available. First off here’s a link to a live radio set by JOHN HENRY WEST on WUSB from 1993:

JOHN HENRY WEST-live-on-wusb-1993

 I actually got this around 2003 in a trade I made with the Unearthly Trance bass player (he got the GORE Peel session). Fuck knows its origins but great that someone took care of business cos this shit SMOKES! Here’s hoping Kent McClard drops this on the proposed JOHN HENRY WEST discography record? The photo at the top of the page is of 16 BULLETS and was taken from an old HaC, as far as I’m aware this band was basically a TORCHES TO ROME precursor but there’s really no information to support this.

 Now, FUEL were one of the first bands (after Rorschach) that opened my eyes to hardcore as a ‘revolutionary force’, the music and lyrics were very exacting and this directness was appealing to my uncompromising 16 year old self. I got the feeling from hearing that discography CD that I’d missed out on something pretty crucial. Luckily, word was out of a new band named TORCHES TO ROME, I literally pissed my pants in anticipation of the For Want of.. 2×7″ comp. I lost count of how many times I spun ‘Torches to Rome’, and each time it sounded better and better (still does). I got the feeling that finally this was my ‘punk rock’ , even from the opening feedback I was in complete allegiance with anything this band had to say. So, check out below this excellent 3 page interview from MRR circa 1997, I’m guessing this interview is from the year before cos they split in 1996. As far as I’m aware there are no other TTR interviews out there so study it like an ancient manuscript! Like many Kirsch bands the recordings are made while the band is in full flight but then they remain unmixed for a year, then it’s another year until these records see the light of day… this just built the anticipation!

  Seems like everyone loves to post about MOSS ICON but they usually forget to include the SILVER BEARING side of that split. Heralded as one of the holy grails of hardcore by record collectors this split was released in 1991 on Vermin Scum in a reported pressing of 400 copies. I was recently informed that there is also a bootleg in circulation, either way this fucker fetches a pretty penny on the open market (as the recent ebay auction below demonstrates). By way of comparisons I’d say Silver Bearing has a sound that predates the chaotic punk of YAH MOS or avant hardcore of GUYVER ONE, in basic terms it sounds like a Californian take on Vermin Scum art punk with Kirsch on vocals.


silver-bearing -01-arizona

silver-bearing -02-wheat-conduct-her

silver-bearing -03-jazz-hole

silver-bearing -04-hollerin-like-a-metal-god

silver-bearing -05-polka-of-lust

silver-bearing -06-audra-country

silver-bearing -07-drop-it


Sadly Sarah (Mike) Kirsch passed away December 5th 2012 after being diagnosed with a rare type of cancer last year. Age 16 Fuel were my heroes, Kirsch’s guitar playing in various bands over the years was nothing short of an inspiration. A truly righteous individual and a sad loss to this world. I blasted the new BAADER BRAINS record yesterday, so should you.

Links to eulogies:





8 Responses to “MIKE KIRSCH”

  1. As for 16 Bullets goes, that photo was from a show at the Bixby Street house in Santa Cruz in either late 1993 or early 1994. I think they only played that one show, and Jason White who had been in Chino Horde played with Mike but didn’t like all the talking between the songs which eventually led to their undoing. Around that same time Mike was jamming or kind-of practicing with Donna Dresch which would have been a hell of an outfit had it come together.

    Anyhow, I don’t have any Torches to Rome photos but I saw nearly each of their NorCal shows for the time they were together. I did, though, get to spend some time with Bread and Circuits when they were together. Check out ‘Drink Deep’ for some stuff I wrote about that time: http://abovethesubtext.blogspot.com/search/label/Bread%20and%20Circuits

  2. Christian Matheus said

    thanks a lot for this entry. Please, I dunno if someone can help me
    to get the lyrics of Fuel’s Monuments to excess.
    I’ll appreciate it.

  3. Mike B said

    Christian, have you though about buying it? It comes with lyrics on the CD reissues.

  4. Christian Matheus said

    Thankfully around 2 months ago i found a friend who was selling his cd and i bought it. Then, the next day i went to a gig and searching in the merch tables i found the LP version, so i bought it too. Lucky me.

  5. killingtechnology said

    Good news Christian

  6. Oli said

    A 16 Bullets gig was recorded – I guess it’s a different one to the one you referred to. Anyway, here it is! http://www.mediafire.com/?u5mymwozymg

  7. Rob said

    i remeber the Bixby house…I shared a couch with a dog named riker there for a few months…those were the days…..

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