Original Umphrey’s McGee drummer Mike Mirro passed away today, the band announced via their blog. Mirro, who got his start as a part of local South Bend outfit Stomper Bob, started the band initially in 1997 alongside Brendan Bayliss, Ryan Stasik and keyboardist (and fellow Stomper Bob bandmate) Joel Cummins in South Bend, Indiana. The group released their first record, Greatest Hits Volume III which includes still poignant live staples “Divisions,” “Phil’s Farm,” “All in Time” and “August.”
Mirro’s last project with the group came in the form of Local Band Does OK, which coincidentally was the first to feature guitarist Jake Cinninger and percussionist Andy Farag. Following the 2002 tour, Mirro announced his departure from the band to attend medical school. Umphrey’s then called on Kick the Cat drummer Kris Myers, who currently serves as drummer.
In 2011, Mirro joined the band during their annual UMBowl event in Chicago to reprise performances of “Much Obliged” as well as “In Violation of Yes.” Guitarist Jake Cinninger has also said in an interview that Mirro is the inspiration for the song title “Plunger,” remarking, “In the corner of every bathroom, we’d write ‘Mirro’s Plunger’ with a Sharpie, in every backstage bathroom where the plunger would be. So in every bathroom the plunger was Mirro’s Plunger. That’s kind of where it comes from, a bathroom joke (laughs).”
In a post on the Umphrey’s McGee blog, Kevin Browning wrote the following:
It is with heavy hearts that we have learned of our good friend & former drummer Mike Mirro’s passing. As many of you know, Mike’s love for music & unique sense of humor are still present today in the music that we create. Umphrey’s McGee wouldn’t be who we are without all of the passion & musicality Mike added to the music for the first 5 years of our career.
There are no words that can convey the feeling of loss we are collectively feeling, we have lost a friend, a brother & a man without whom there would be no Umphrey’s McGee. Mikey, we’ll always love you for the amazing person that you were and we’ll carry your spirit with us through the music.
We’ll miss you.