High on Fire drops off (escapes?) the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Tour

Turn it up, man: Jeff Matz, Matt Pike, and Des Kensel.
Photo by Tom Couture

Disappointing news for High on Fire fans today — a press release from the veteran Oakland metal trio's PR firm announces that the band will be dropping out of this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

Here's the deets from the release:

"High on Fire has announced that it will be forced to miss this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as front man and guitarist Matt Pike enters treatment for alcohol rehabilitation.  The award winning power trio (also featuring drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz) will put its scheduled touring plans on hold indefinitely as Pike takes the necessary steps towards regaining his health."

And remarks from the band, also from the release:

"High on Fire would like to thank everyone involved with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for the opportunity to be a part of this year's tour," said the band in a statement. "We regretfully will have to bow out as our friend and bandmate begins his recovery, but very much appreciate having been asked to be a part of this summer's festival run."

It's good to hear Pike, a thunderous presence beloved not just for HOF but also his role in stoner-metal titans Sleep (which just played Oakland Tues/5), is tending to his health. And in a sense, this break — though it comes soon after the April release of De Vermis Mysteriis, the band's, pardon me, fucking awesome new album — could be the best thing in the long run. Think about it: without the lure of HOF pounding off riffs old and new, the Mayhem fest has just a handful of acts worth a trip all the way to Mountain View (July 1) to see. Slayer, yes. Motorhead, yes. Anthrax...ok, sure.

But as these sprawling mega-concerts tend to go, the rest of the lineup — with Slipknot at the top of the bill — is honestly one bit of bad news (The Devil Wears Prada; for hilarious guffaws, check out the Wikipedia entry explaining, oh-so-earnestly, how the band came by its oddly familiar name) after another (never heard of "I the Breather" until moments ago, but "I the making a value judgment based on the name and the crap YouTube vid I just watched").

Anyway, my point is, once Pike recovers and is back in brutal-rock-god mode, maybe High on Fire will play some headlining gigs (yay!) in non-suburban settings (double-yay!) without bands like I the Breather crapping breakdowns all over the lawn. Get well soon, Matt Pike: heshers of the world need you more than ever these days.

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