Mike Hudson Of The Pagans Dead At 61
The last time I talked to Mike Hudson, frontman of the Pagans, he said to me: ‘New single coming out in a couple of weeks. Will you review? I’m labelmates with Snoop Dog now…’ He seemed to be in good spirit but tonight I am in shock as I have just learned he passed away a few hours ago. This is very sad news. He was a controversial character, as after posting the review of their show at the Echoplex just 2 years ago, many people accused me to have written a kiss ass review, saying Mike was drunk on stage. I don’t care, I stand by the review, it was a great night of rock ‘n’roll, raw and even a bit violent, but brilliant with a generous punk heart. Probably just like Mike himself. Should I add he was an amazing writer? You probably already know that if you knew Mike Hudson. I hate the term R.I.P. for some reasons, because, how do we know how we rest, do we even rest? in peace? But this is what we say in this case. Here is my review of the Pagans show:
The Pagans made their big return on the Los Angeles punk rock scene at the Echoplex, one of my favorite places, during their weekly Part Time Punks Sunday night… Obviously, the Pagans are an original punk band, which was very active in the late 70’s, and looking around me, I could tell many people had some vivid memories of their shows as they were here for some real action.
Originally from Cleveland, the Pagans toured with the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Heartbreakers and the B-52’s, and some fellow Northeastern Ohio bands such as the Dead Boys, Devo and Pere Ubu, and with such a history, it’s not difficult to understand that they are the real deal, true punks at heart, real rockers on stage. Frontman Mike Hudson said it was the third time they were about to rock the place, but the first time, he got fired by his band and the second time he got into a terrible accident which put him at the hospital for more than a month. But this time, it was it, the band considered by many as a seminal American punk rock group, was playing the Echoplex in front of diehard fans, who visibly knew what to expect.
First of all, it is very intimidating to write anything about them because Mike Hudson is a writer, and a brilliant one, with several novels (‘Diary of a Punk’, ‘Fame Whore’ among others) under his sleeve and probably more to come. So what the hell could I say? Probably nothing very original to this Hudson character, who seems to have lived nine lives from hell and back, and who visibly has come back to tell us about it… At the top of this, there was also something tragic, in the purest sense of the term, in the way he said that all these songs were about ‘fucking Evita’, his former and forever muse, as she seems to be.
The show was a series of bullet-rocket punk rock songs, reminiscent of the Stooges’ raw power, or the Misfits’ tumult, sung with raucous vocals and a few violent riffs, making the crowd react with a savage shaking of the barricade in front of me, and eventually some brutal moshing after a few songs.The Pagants were running through an explosive set with swagger and style, while Mike was pointing his index straight to the crowd, singling out a few people he was recognizing. Then, there were the quieter songs like ‘Hollywood High’ or ‘Dark Angel’, some unapologetic punk noirs with more delicate guitar melodies, and slower tempos, which were allowing Hudson’s lyrics to shine, as they could have been more in line with Nick Cave or Lou Reed’s works. But soon it was back to punk fury and people attacking the barricade, as they became particularly violent during ‘Real World’.
If several of the songs they played were from the band’s first new album in 24 years, ‘Hollywood High’ (‘I Want a date’, Detention Home’, I Just Got Up’…) many others were older ones, proving that the band still had a powerful stage energy, bringing back the spirit of the punk rock shows of the 70’s, when people were always on the verge of breaking or burning the place down, with a rage fueled by stories about lives too full of love, excess, madness and intoxication.