Mike Mirro in the back behind Pony (photo by Brian Spady)

Just learned the news that Mike Mirro, the original drummer for Umphrey’s McGee, has passed away. The band just posted the news on their website with this message:

R.I.P. Mikey
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 and 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, and a man without whom there would be no Umphrey’s McGee. Mikey, we will 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.

Personally speaking, my love for Umphrey’s McGee absolutely started with the drumming behind the kit from Mike Mirro. He is one of the few drummers I was listening to at the time as I was playing drums and finishing up college at Illinois State University, so UM was like our local jamband heroes at the time. And Mirro’s drumming was pivotal in the band staying tight under their early compositions like “Get in the Van”, “White Man’s Moccasins” or “Der Bluten Kat”. The fast changes, the awesome technical usage of every part of his drums, and just awesomely unique style at the time that other drummers weren’t able to match — it all made for the Umphrey’s McGee that we know today. I remember thinking that it was going to impossible for the band to keep going after he announced he’d be leaving the band because his style was so synonymous with their sound.

Umphrey's McGee - Get In the Van - 06-07-2002

Our hearts are with the band tonight and Mike Mirro’s family, friends and loved ones. Life is too short sometimes. :(