Fallen Heroes: Remembering the Rockers We Lost in 2011

With every passing year come awesome albums and badass concerts. But there also inevitably comes the crushing news that more of our rock-and-roll heroes have shed this mortal coil. In 2011, we bid farewell to current and former members of Motörhead, Alice in Chains, Manowar, Gwar, and others; we at Revolver also lost one of our own. So as 2011 draws to a close, we pay our respects to the dearly departed. Rest in peace.

Gary Moore
Thin Lizzy
Died February 6
Guitarist for Irish rockers Thin Lizzy during several periods, Moore is more renowned and revered as a solo blues axman, whose playing reverberates in the six-string work of everyone from Slash to Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett even cites him as one of his top five guitar influences, pointing to the solo in “Master of Puppets” and riffs he wrote for “The Unforgiven” as being inspired by Moore.

Phil Vane
Extreme Noise Terror
Died February 23
Vane made his name as the absolutely ferocious vocalist of pioneering UK crust-punk outfit Extreme Noise Terror, with whom he helped spearhead the late-’80s grindcore movement. He even briefly fronted grindcore originators Napalm Death, switching places with singer Barney Greenway, who appeared on ENT’s Damage 381 before returning to NP.

Mike Starr
Alice in Chains
Died March 8
The original bassist of Alice in Chains, Starr’s tense, throbbing bass lines underpinned classic grunge-metal albums like Facelift and Dirt. After splitting with the band while it was touring in support of the latter album, Starr formed supergroup Sun Red Sun alongside former Black Sabbath members Ray Gillen and Bobby Rondinelli, and later toured with Days of the New.

Scott Columbus
Died April 4
Columbus was the longtime drummer of battle-metal barbarians Manowar, and his playing style was fittingly brutish: The skinsman pounded what he called the “Drums of Doom,” a kit made of stainless steel because his hit so hard that when he used standard kits, they had to be replaced too regularly.

Seth Putnam
Anal Cunt
Died June 11
The sick genius/retard behind Anal Cunt and grindcore micro-blasterpieces including “Women: Nature’s Punching Bag” and “Body by Auschwitz,” Putnam was extreme metal’s shock-rock provocateur bar none. He also famously feuded with Cannibal Corpse/Six Feet Under vocalist Chris Barnes (culminating in the AC tune “Chris Barnes is a Pussy”) and provided backing screams to songs on Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill.

Mario Comesanas
December Aeternalis, Low Road
Sirius-XM Liquid Metal, Revolver magazine
Died June 13
Hired in 2006, Comesanas was Revolver‘s longtime promotions director and our man on the road with Mayhem Fest from 2008 to 2010. A DJ on Sirius-XM’s Liquid Metal channel, he was a diehard champion of heavy music, as well as a musician in his own right, singing for death-metal outfit December Aeternalis and hardcore band Low Road, which was recording its debut with producer Joey Z, of Life of Agony, at the time of Comesanas’ passing.

Michael “Würzel” Burston
Died July 9
Guitarist for the mighty Motörhead from 1984 to 1995, Würzel laid down the licks on rumbling punk-metal landmarks like Orgasmatron and Rock ‘n’ Roll. He got his nickname while in the army, but Lemmy gave him the umlaut. At the time of his death, he was working on an album with his new band, Leader of Down.


Jani Lane
Died August 11
One of the great frontmen of ’80s glam metal, Lane will probably be best remembered for the song and video, “Cherry Pie,” if not for bedding and wedding the clip’s smokin’ starlet, Bobbi Brown. In more recent years, the vocalist had gone solo, appeared on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club 2, and toured with Great White.

Cory “Flattus Maximus” Smoot
Died November 2
Adopting the role of Gwar’s red-faced, white-dreadlocked, dinosaur-shoulder-padded alien guitarist, Flattus Maximus, in 2002, Smoot was considered by fans as the “True Flattus” since he was the longest serving axman to play the character. He was also a major songwriter on the four Gwar albums he played on. After his death, bandleader Oderus Urungus announced that the character Flattus Maximus would be retired.


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  • Vengenz1

    I know most of them, and I’ve cried like a little kid when I heard about their losses. May they rock in eternity.

  • WolfHaley

    my step dad went to school w/ Mike Starr, r.i.p.

  • Craner54

    There is ONE HELL OF A BAND waitin’ for us, thatz what heaven is, a place to enjoy bliss with the ones you luv, Rawkin’ for eternity!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1818522825 Denise Weston

    Phil Kennemore from Y&T passed.

  • me

    should have noted how they each passed

  • TBMetalhead

    Lesser known nationally, but a Tampa Bay Area guitar god, Matt LaPorte of Jon Oliva’s Pain passed away April 20th, 2011.

  • N-eru

    Lynn Strait Snot and Paul Gray Slipknot are in Our hearts Too!

  • Thrasher

    Mike Alexander from Evile, may he rest in peace.

  • AvengedFoREVer<3

    I know he didn’t pass away in 2011 but The Rev will always be in our hearts 2009 28th December:’/ 

  • Rencyhercer99

    I miss them all!

  • Mikejelinek

    Buddy Toth Bass player for Dreamzfate, Guitarist for The Godz…Passed in March we all miss you brother….