Sad news for the metal world today, as Andrew LaBarre, former guitarist for Oakland gore metallers Impaled, has died. He was 43 years old.
The news was broken by the band, who posted the following tribute on Facebook:
“Impaled is saddened to hear that our former guitarist and vocalist Andrew LaBarre has passed away from ALS. He was an incredibly gifted guitarist, composer, and recording engineer, and an all around nice guy. His contributions to Impaled during the Mondo Medicale era of the band were enormous and helped shape what we do musically in ways that have lasted to this day. He will be sorely missed.”
LaBarre also played with bands including Prevail and Impaled-connected horror thrashers Ghoul. According to Impaled/Ghoul guitarist-vocalist Sean McGrath in a profile of LaBarre on Invisible Oranges by Wild Hunt bassist Avinash Mittur:
“He played some solos and did some vocals on that first Ghoul record and I was super impressed with his playing. He just wrote these killer Marty Friedman-esque leads off the top of his head. Extremely catchy and tasteful. When Leon was kicked out of Impaled — sorry, Leon — Andrew was pretty much the only person I had in mind to ask. I don’t know if we even tried anyone else out. When he joined I really thought of him as our secret weapon, because he was not only great at leads but he was a really good songwriter as well, which is not always the case with shredders. The fact that he knew something about recording was a bonus, since the rest of us didn’t have a ton of first-hand sound engineering experience.”
Eventually, however, Andrew’s passion for the genre burned out, while his love of cycling became his primary focus. Here’s what he told Mittur:
“Well, I got super into bicycling…I just got super into competitive bike racing and that’s just how I am. It’s one thing, full focus, and I don’t have a variety of hobbies, it’s just one thing that I do. So with the music… I was just in a weird place where I didn’t know what I wanted to play. I lost some sort of creative spark thing that now just comes randomly. I still come up with riffs but it’s not… I don’t have the edge that I had back then. There was an edge where my whole life was playing guitar and writing music. That’s all I did, really.”
Everyone at MetalSucks sends their heart out to LaBarre’s family, friends, fans and collaborators during this difficult time.