It’s been over a week since Ministry and Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia passed away. And the metal community continues to mourn the loss of a truly talented guitarist, including a few of Scaccia’s well-known friends.
Earlier this morning, Rigor Mortis singer Bruce Corbitt shared a statement from Philip Anselmo. The Pantera/Down frontman (whose relationship with Scaccia went back to Pantera and Rigor Mortis’ early days, as Anselmo recently recalled during our interview with him) had the following to share:
“I have traveled the world playing music, and I’ve been fortunate to play, with extremely talented guitarists, and to have seen living legends right in front of my eyes. But when it came down to extremities, I’ve known since 1987 who the fastest, most precise player on this planet was, and that was the one and only Mike Scaccia. The playing field is now even.
I can’t put into words what it meant for me to be accepted into the Rigor Mortis horde back when I was the new guy in town, and playing in a rival band back in the late 80’s. But we were kindred spirits, and Mike Scaccia’s kindness helped that bonding process which I still cherish today. Underneath Mike’s soft-spoken, quiet demeanor, there lived a monster of mythical size, unbridled passion, and a practitioner of inhuman feats that will never be replicated. We called his picking hand ‘The Hummingbird’ because of its blinding speed and accuracy. But now, ‘The Hummingbird’ has flown.
Let his body of work speak for itself, as a legacy of success not many can achieve. When Mike played, you knew it was him, and with that, he left a mark in music that can’t be touched. The DFW area has lost our era’s two greatest guitarists in Mike Scaccia and Dimebag Darrell Abbott, and that is a terrible blow. But their accomplishments will be considered sacred ground for aeons. When I think of my fallen comrade Dime, I think of him as a star in the cosmos. I will think of Mike in the same way, in honor of his legacy and friendship.
Celebrate this great man’s life. With all my love, sincerely
-Philip H. Anselmo”
This past weekend, GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) also commented on the passing of Scaccia. Brockie, who previously played in GWAR with Rigor Mortis bassist Casey Orr, had the following to say:
“The metal and music world in general lost a true legend this past week after the unexpected death of Ministry and Rigor Mortis guitar player Mike Scaccia. Mike collapsed during a Rigor Mortis gig in Dallas and never regained consciousness. We are stunned by this terrible, gut-wrenching event that unfortunately we are all-too-familiar with, having lost our brother, Cory Smoot a little over a year ago. Our hearts go out to Mike’s family and friends.
Mike was a friend of ours and practically a brother to our long-time bass player, Casey Orr. He had tried to get Mike to play for GWAR a couple of times and Mike was always smart enough to turn him down. I completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to subject themselves to what we go through, but still I always wondered what GWAR would have sounded like with Mike. But then we found Cory…then lost Cory…ain’t life a fucking bitch.
If there is one thing I have realized in this last year it’s that the life we are given is incredibly precious and can be snatched away from us at any moment. You have to savor every drop and get every molecule of sweetness you can…and you have to protect and cherish all of your loved ones with every bit of strength your heart can muster. An easy task? No. But in order to give life meaning it is one we must essay, endure, and triumph over.
I don’t think many would argue that Mike’s trademark guitar sound jump-started Ministry and forged some of the most memorable sounds that legendary band ever created. The hugeness of Ministry made many miss Mike’s ground-breaking work with Rigor Mortis, one of the seminal thrash-metal acts to ever spurn the face of this bloody clod we call Earth. He was, quite simply, a guitar God. The GWAR family grieves deeply with the many friends, fans, and family that Mike left behind.”
Scaccia suffered a heart attack brought on by heart disease while onstage performing with Rigor Mortis. A public memorial service was held in Mansfield, Texas yesterday (December 30). While a benefit show is in the works, an online fundraiser has been launched to help support Scaccia’s family.