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In memory of Mic Christopher
In memory of Mic Christopher 1969-2001
Peter Murphy, 14 Dec 2001
It was the afters of my wedding and I was dancing with my wife of eight hours. The Mary Janes were playing ‘Friends’, Mic Christopher’s awesome voice ringing out over Simon and Karl’s guitar and bass lines: “You’ve seen me die/But you’ve helped me to rise up again/’Cause you are my friend…”
Now it’s eight years later, and I’m listening to that same song in very different circumstances. Mic Christopher has passed away after spending over a week in a coma in a Dutch hospital, the result of a bad fall. He was on tour as special guest to The Waterboys, a band that inspired a whole brotherhood of players who came of age on the streets of Dublin at the turn of the last decade, a community that birthed not just The Mary Janes but also The Frames, Kila and scores more. They were all – and still are – kinsmen, and Mic’s passing will send terrible tremors through that network, throwing a shadow on the innocence of that lunatic summer of 1989.
I first met Mic on South Anne Street around that time. He was just back from London, a street urchin with an impish grin, deadpan delivery and cherub’s curls – all the girls were cracked about him.
A whole bunch of us played on the same bills together over the next five or six years, sharing vans, management, rehearsal rooms, roadies, instruments, spliffs and sometimes bedding. If you were in a band like Peach or The Tulips or The Castanedas, you went on after the Mary Janes at your peril. Even as an acoustic entity they could blow just about anybody else off the stage, but you couldn’t hold it against them: as champions like Bill Graham and Maria McKee testified, they were just too good. Years before Starsailor and Coldplay and Muse and even Jeff Buckley, they went deep into Tim Buckley’s dreamtime and merged those spells with the rock dynamics of a Led Zeppelin or Jane’s Addiction.
The band made two fine albums, played everywhere from New York to Glastonbury to Bosnia and then split in 1999. This autumn Mic, having recovered from a bad motorbike accident, released his own Heyday EP. There was plenty more to come, and the Waterboys tour made it seem like the whole thing had come full circle. And then, this.
Mic Christopher wasn’t the kind of guy you usually find in rock‘n’roll. He exuded integrity, he was funny, moral, gentle, sardonic and in a way, protective. A couple of years ago he rang me up out of the blue after a Mary Janes gig to tell me that if I ever needed an ear, he was there. I hadn’t spoken to him in a long time. I think that was the last time we talked, and I can scarce believe that now, especially when I hear his voice coming from the speakers:
“And we’ve been so lost/But when we get back together/It will all seem worth the cost/That we lost/Oh ’cause we are friends”.
Our hearts go out to Mic’s family and extended clan.