R.I.P. WILL MECUM, KARMA TO BURN FOUNDER AND RIFFMEISTER
Plenty of musicians pass away and we can’t comment on them all, nor should we even try. But this one? Karma to Burn have featured a few times in this blog so yes, we’re doing it.
Will Mecum died of a head injury after a fall at the end of April. He was 48. Weirdly, four months later, that’s pretty much still all we know.
It feels like small media noise for a band who, if you got them in your life, seemed like a pretty big name. You felt they were known to everyone in the rock-metal-stoner scene, not least because of their pretty unique format and on-off links to John Garcia. But maybe they weren’t. Maybe they really were still cult.
They were definitely a conundrum. Sometimes you’d play their albums and revel in the greatest of no-bullshit rock sounds, that instrumental riff metal thing that took its cues from the AC/DC, Ramones or Motorhead school of Ain’t Broke No Fix and just rocks like a bastard. Sometimes that’s all you need: pure rock, no solos, no art, no words. The subversive power of guitar-bass-drums amplification.
At other times, you’d get a bit bored by the one-trick repetition and lack of adventure (never the debut though – always killer, that one).
Similar thing live, depending on which incarnation you caught. Last time I saw Karma to Burn was 2018 and it was a good gig but didn’t quite fly for a band you want to be totally smoked by. But Audioscope 2011 – man, that was something. Three badass road dogs and plentee amps upstairs in a pub made for a shit-kicking headliner set. Mecum was into it yet anonymous next to his more animated bandmates, the genial Rich Mullins on low-hung bass and the wildman-unkempt Rob Oswald on drums.
Watch a clip from that very gig. This is the Karma to Burn and Will Mecum that lives on.
Wild, Wonderful Purgatory rocking hard while writing this. It sounds better than ever. And now that K2B have joined the departed, it probably always will.
So long, guys. And eternal thanks for the live introduction to Desert Storm.