- Daniel Woodward
Sayonara, Samurai Mike...
As is widely known by now, it is confirmed: Mike is out of the band, and was apparently "fired" for as yet unknown reasons.
And with that ends the five year odyssey and coming of age of one Michael Byrne - a talented, young drumming prodigy who was unexpectedly given the gig of his then nineteen year old life.
It was a run fraught with admiration and controversy as fans equally gave him a groundswell of support and criticism at the same time. He had impossible shoes to fill.
Some loved the fact that such a young and inexperienced drummer would be chosen out of the blue. It entertained the idea of "that could be me." And in a way, fans vicariously experienced Mike's journey through his eyes and felt the thrill of his fantasy come true in playing for a legendary rock band. For others, he could never compensate for the loss of one of the greatest drummers of all time. But who could?
Perhaps he was chosen for his youthful energy. Or maybe he was chosen to play his role as a "son" in a song sung for someone like him, dreamed up by a man longing to pass a torch. A temporary proxy for posterity.
Whatever it was, most can seem to agree on a few things: He was given an amazing opportunity and experience that will last him his whole life, there was no way he could drum like someone he wasn't, and although fans appreciate his contributions - his departure leaves the door open for the great, desperate hope that Jimmy Chamberlin will return. But there are no promises and no guarantees.
I'll be honest - the studio drumming on any of the songs from 2009 and on rarely did anything to "wow" me - but when I saw Mike play live, I think he did a great job. And the aura of his personality in the band was definitely felt and added to the experience. And so - a fond farewell for a job well done. Good luck to you, Mike. In time, and in hindsight, you just may be viewed as one of the most beloved of the handful of drummers who have played for this band, not only for how you played, but for what you represented. Drum on!
And now....what embrace will the future hold?
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