Mike Hudson’s Memorial At Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Saturday November 18th 2017
Early Saturday afternoon, Hollywood Forever Cemetery was hosting a memorial ceremony for Mike Hudson who passed away a few weeks ago. Rock stars tend to die on my birthday, Lou Reed died on October 27th 2013 and Mike Hudson died very suddenly on October 27th 2017.
According to his last girlfriend, Martie Hatcher, who spoke at the memorial, he suddenly got abdominal pain, was told he had a sepsis, and that he would not survive more than 24 hours if he hadn’t surgery immediately. However, when the doctors discovered he had advanced colon cancer and might have a couple of months to live, Mike refused the surgery and decided to go home. The doctors gave him some options, but he said no, and came back home surrounded by his ‘babies’, his beloved dogs… this is how he wanted to die. ‘He knew he was going to die’, told us Martie Hatcher who was with him during his final hours, but he also knew he has had a full life and he was ready. He told the doctors he has had ‘more lives than they will ever have in 20 years’, he has had a life lived to the fullest with ‘heartbreaking love and friendship love’. ‘I have been on stage in front of 10,000 people and performed to 10 people’, he told Martie before dying. According to all his friends and family who spoke during the brief memorial inside the chapel, Hudson was the no-hesitation, let’s-do-it type, he had no time for fear and he decided to die the way he had lived his life.
Mike Hudson was the frontman, founder and singer of the Pagans, an influential and legendary punk band from Cleveland, but he was also a writer, an amazing and visceral one, which won him comparisons with Bukowski, Hunter Thompson or William Burroughs. A Thompson quote was actually featured on the flyer of the memorial: ‘Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?’
This illustrates Mike Hudson’s life to perfection, he knew where to find happiness, and was aware of his luck, ‘I am a lucky man’ he was saying toward the end of his life which made his friends picked Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s ‘Lucky Man’ as the soundtrack for the pictures presented at the memorial.
He was a complicated man, who used to say to his girlfriend ‘why do you hang out with me? I am an asshole!’ and he was also someone who already had a few close calls with death, including a recent car accident which almost killed him. In a very Mike Hudson style, he cynically told his friend Richard Duguay who was visiting him at the hospital, ‘It’s rock ‘n’ roll’. Duguay, who recently recorded the 6-song EP ‘Big in Cleveland’ with Mike, talked with emotion about his friend, ‘the most divisive character I have ever known’, but also a man who changed his life, made him do the best work he had ever done, even mentioning a ‘spiritual connection for lack of better words’.
Many people talked about Mike Hudson’s charisma, intelligence, creativity, and the strong impression he made on many people, but they also laughed at his ‘rollercoaster’ nature. With him you would get the whole package, ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’, said someone. ‘Be careful, because one day you may end up just like me,’ said bandmate Eric Schrader, mentioning a conversation with Mike. Of course he knew it wasn’t possible because this guy was truly an original.
Beyond the writer, the rock ‘n’ roller, the musician, there was also a brother, a husband, a father, and his sister-in-law read a few lines that his family wanted to share with everyone. They wanted to let us know that Mike was a good man, fully devoted to his family, ‘He would die for you,’ she said, ‘yes, there was a time, he saved my life, he was a hero!’… explaining that he was a truly good man before ‘alcohol rearranged his mind’ and ‘put a toll on him’. Despite health problems, Mike continued to work till the end, he had even written an article for the Niagara Falls Reporter just a day before he died. ‘Work is the most important thing,’ he once wrote. ‘People can break your heart or take your money, but nothing can take away the work you’ve done.’
The ceremony was short and honest, it was the portrait of an ‘influential bastard’ who touched many lives. ‘There are no happy endings’, he also wrote, ‘the only thing you learn from suffering is that you are capable of suffering.’ Mike Hudson certainly suffered, but he was a fighter, he was even wearing a military outfit on stage! However on October 27th, he decided that the fight was over.
After the ceremony, his ashes were scattered into the Pacific at low tide (approximately 3:15 pm) according to his written wishes.