The Texas metal community lost a major creative force over the weekend when Ministry/Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia passed away in Ft. Worth. He was 47.
Scaccia collapsed onstage at Metroplex metal haunt the Rail Club early Saturday morning, where he was performing as part of a 50th birthday celebration for Rigor Mortis singer Bruce Corbitt. According to The Dallas Morning News, Scaccia was rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The influential guitar player died of a sudden heart attack brought on by a heart disease, according to the medical examiner's report. Officials have ruled it a natural death.
Still, there's nothing natural about losing a revered musician in the middle of a performance. Scaccia had a busy 2013 planned, including the release of a new Rigor Mortis album, Slaves to the Grave. Scaccia helped found the quintessential Texas death-thrash outfit in 1983.
Bruce Corbitt will be in Houston next month opening for Down with his other band, Warbeast. He took to Facebook over the weekend to show some love to his departed partner.
"My brother is gone!" he wrote. "The only reason I am who I am is because of this man. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't even be in a band. RIP Mike Scaccia! The greatest guitar player I ever knew!"
Those outside of the Texas metal underground knew Scaccia best for his work with Ministry, especially the group's genre-defining industrial album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Scaccia's steely thrash riffing helped to create a sound that was often imitated, but never replicated. He was on tour with Ministry for the band's memorable stint on Lollapalooza '92 and also helped out with Al Jourgensen side projects such as Revolting Cocks and Lard.
Most recently, Scaccia played on Ministry's Relapse album, released this year. Jourgensen, too paid online tribute to his friend this weekend.
"I just lost my lil' brother and my best friend -- the 13th planet compound is devastated, completely in shock and shattered," Jourgensen wrote on Facebook. "Mikey was not only the best guitar player in the history of music, but he was a close, close, close part of our family -- and I just lost a huge chunk of my heart today.
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"Our lives are forever changed," he continued. "Life without Mikey is like orange juice without pulp -- kind of bland. I have no words to express what this guy meant to me, my family, my career... Everything!"