Drummer found dead

Purple Church drummer Prince (second from left) found dead — cause unknown at press time.
  • Purple Church drummer Prince (second from left) found dead — cause unknown at press time.

Purple Church is on a bit of a hiatus. The band is by no means obsolete.”

That’s how the band described its status on a recent Facebook posting. Borrowing the nickname of a local strip club, the three-year-old Oceanside-based “sleaze metal” band is inspired by the look, sound, and attitude of the hair-metal bands of the ’80s Sunset Strip scene that produced W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns.

“We want to bring Mötley Crüe back,” said drummer Michael Prince in a 2011 interview.

Prince, 25, was born after that glam era had come and gone. He was found dead on Monday, July 29.

A source close to the deceased’s family said Prince had met a girl at a local bar on Sunday night and that his body was discovered at another person’s home on Monday morning.

Oceanside’s TriCity Medical Center would release no information about Prince. The medical examiner’s office said unless foul play was suspected, they would probably not be in the loop and offered no information. A lieutenant Cosby with the Oceanside police said he knew nothing about the deceased.

In my interview with Prince from two years ago, the drummer said the biggest problem facing Purple Church wasn’t getting people to come to their shows but finding compatible bands to share a bill with.

“There are no bands around here who are doing what we’re doing. There’s nothing like us even in L.A.

“When I go to a show, I’m trying to listen to music and scam on chicks and not get hit in the nose,” said Prince.

In April this year, Purple Church opened for Gypsyhawk at the Griffin in Bay Park. A bar employee mistakenly gave Purple Church the $300 cash that was intended for Gypsyhawk. Purple Church eventually gave the headliner its pay.

“Michael was the one guy who helped clear up that mess,” says Gypsyhawk guitarist Erik Kluiber. “I just sent him an email telling him thank you for clearing it up.... This is a tragedy.”

“It’s tough to see anyone that young and talented go like that,” says Doug Walker, drummer for fellow Oceanside band the Embalmers. “It just proves you need to appreciate everyone while they’re here. You never know when they’re going to be gone.”

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This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Let me start off by saying I am livid about this article and how Michael was portrayed. He had a good heart and didn't deserve to be remembered by this disrespectful article. Ken deserves to lose his job after this stunt. Show some sensitivity and respect! I can't believe this article got approved yet alone is still up. Even the title is disrespectful and insensitive. If the San Diego Reader has any respect for it's locals and readers they should take the appropriate actions against Ken and take this article down. If anybody else agrees please comment.

This is no way shape or form a tribute of any sort. What was the meaning behind this? To get a quick dollar? Or to make up for the last negative (false accusation) article on his band? Either way, it's complete disrespect and should not exist. Very unprofessional on Mr Leighton's part and corrective action should be performed immediately. The guy already has a following of locals who disagree with him prior to these events and I'm certain that group will triple in size after this. Hey Ken, get a real job, close your sorry excuse of a bar, get sober, and put this money toward Michael's memorial service if you have any ounce of decency in you!

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

I didn't know Michael Personally or Ken either I just read the article because my news feed on IG and FB is blowing up about this but to be completely honest .. and I don't mean to hurt or disrespect anyone I really don't see anything disrespectful about this. I also gathered from reading the article that Michael was a nice man with a level head especially in clearing up the dispute over the $300 - he sounded responsible and not at all immature or anything of that nature I will say that I didn't learn anything about his death or what happened to him so this is definitely un informative and I don't understand the point of it - please excuse my cluelessness just trying to shed some light on the situation... and how did he pass does anyone know?

How he passed isn't any of your business! You are absolutely right that this article is uninformative and pointless. The only reason why Ken wrote this was to make money. It certainly isn't a tribute to the amazing life that Michael lived. It's disrespectful in the fact that Ken asked those of us who were close to Michael if he could write an article about this, and we said NO, yet he chose to anyway to make a quick dollar. It's disrespectful in the fact that it should be up to Michael's family to decide to announce his death in the paper. It's disrespectful in the fact that after years of dealing with Ken and his bullshit, neither Michael nor any of us who know him have a single good experience with him. And of all people to write about this, Ken is the absolute worst possible option.

Wow why are these people getting so worked up. The guy wanted to get a quote from some people and they didn't want to give a quote. But so what? That doesn't mean that this isn't a story or that he shouldn't write it. The guy is dead. The only negative part in the article was that the guy died. I don't know for sure but I don't think the writer caused the death. He is just reporting it. He apparently wrote about his band in 2011, then he dies at 25. So why shouldn't he do the story in a respectful way. It really is awful but why all the outrage. This was a legitimate news story about the san diego music scene. From what I can tell this is what this section is. Attacking the writer will not bring him back. News is news. This wasn't supposed to be a tribute. Its a news story. I don't see the disrespect.

He shouldn't have done the story because the family and friends of Michael Prince asked him not to, and he did it anyway so he could make money.

whatever dude. I'm pretty sure the writer didn't make extra money for writing an article. I am truly sorry for your loss, it is difficult to lose someone, no matter their age.

I didn't know Michael Prince, but I have seen innumerable photos of him being shared among those who did and how these same people are not just mourning his death, but celebrating it as well. A photo is a thousand words, and the photos of Michael depict him as foundation to many peoples lives. From hearing personal stories about Michael, he was inspirational, talented, and loved by many... a person I would want in my life. So a part of me feels as though I did know him. If I had not known about Michael Prince and solely based my conclusions by this article Ken Leighton wrote... I would have not seen the true side of Michael. What this article tells me is that he was in a "sleaze metal" band and that his band "eventually" returned $300 back to the headliner. What does that tell the average person who doesn't him? Ken is not just reporting on the death of a drummer, but subtly tarnishing his name with pointless fillers that give this article really no justice. There is more to this story and Ken knows it...

"Sleaze metal" is how the band described themselves. It would be good to know how long it took the band to return the $300. I guess that Gypsy Hawk band would know. Maybe they will say. But it doesn't look like Purple Church even needed to return it. It was given to them. It was the bar's fault not Purple Church's. I don't think Purple Church should get any grief for that.

Having worked in the music industry for 10 years, I do know the term "sleaze metal," but the average reader who doesn't know that term would get a negative reaction from it. Hopefully, people are smart enough to research the term.

Dude, that is how they wanted to portray themselves. They used that term to describe their genre just like trash metal or speed metal. There is no conspiracy here. Youre suggesting that if a band calls themselves speed metal they do speed. Come on man. You seem a little sensitive.

I am not in the music industry and I realized what the term "sleaze metal" meant especially because the writer paired it with the "hair" band description, I think you are looking too far into it I never once got a bad impression of the band or Michael from the article. I am with Sageofsantee on this one... also categorizing yourself in a musical genre doesn't make me judge the persons character .... I think people who think this article is bad or slandering his character , are just viewing it negatively and being judgmental since that's not the type of person I am I just don't see Michael Prince as a bad person at all nor do I after reading the article. I will say it was a poorly written article... I would like some information usually when you write NEWS about someone's death ... there is some sort of speculation on what happened I will say the people trying to avoid saying how he passed " it's none of your business" and trying to keep it all hush... they are making it seem like something bad... like a drug over dose or suicide - I gather all this from the reaction not saying its true and even if it were I still wouldn't have a bad opinion of the man I don't doubt at all that he was a good person.... just saying

totallyneutral #sageofsanteeseemssmart!

Exactly! That was the problem. This article is incomplete. What the hell happened?

The problem is not that the story is incomplete, but that it is a private matter, we are mourning the loss of our friend and we told Ken to NOT write anything, yet he chose to anyway so he could make money.

There are no negative reactions based on the way his band portrayed their genre despite anyone's musical background. What's wrong here is that Michael and ken were never on good terms before this happened and ken isn't admitting that to the reader. Only Oceanside locals know that. Oceanside locals know how illogical and absurd leighton is. Of course it's going to seem the writer had good intentions. It's obvious this is no tribute. What's with the quotes? What do they suggest? Guess you'd understand better if you've ever ran into ken. Michaels family repeatedly asked him not to mention anything here. Everyone did. Why do you think he doesn't know the cause of death? No one gave him any info cuz he's a kook. It's personal.

Neither the headline nor the article content seems inaccurate. As someone above said, Blurt is a local music news column, not a tribute blog. This was news, it got reported - one can quibble about HOW it was reported, but most commentators insisting the article shouldn't even exist reveal a specious bias against either the reporter or the paper. Especially the ones whose very screen names reference the reporter...

I'd also point out that, just because contactees are said to have asked (or told) the reporter NOT to write this story, it's ridiculous to think that should have somehow negated the Reader's right to report it. If every potential news story were killed just because someone didn't want it written, there wouldn't be much news now, would there?

I understand it was disrespectful as he was asked not to write the column I get that now and I am glad that was made clear... but in all honesty I don't know Michael Prince but I promise that from reading the article I didn't get a bad impression of him . The out poor of love and grief over his passing made me think he was really well liked and to be honest in Ken's article (by the way I don't know Ken either scouts honor) he made Michael Prince seem level headed, honest, kind, and responsible... If someone handed me $300 on accident I would get ghost and not give the money back because hey the struggle is real right now! So I thought that was a pretty stand up thing to do (and I am not a bad person I could just use the money and I would chalk it up to your bad for giving me the money) anyways I understand that he went against the wishes of his loved ones and it was yes disrespectful in that light but unfortunately our constitution doesn't have a rule against reporting info (in this case a lack there of) that simply was not wanted printed. It's like the paparazzi they publish article and pics I am sure tons of stars don't want aired out there but this article definitely doesn't slander the mans character - I am deeply sorry for your loss and I can see your sadness through your anger in your comments and I wish you peace and for the pain in your heart to lessen but this will not bring your friend back and this man isn't going to lose his job because of this article although it was unwanted and maybe a little immoral it isn't illegal or slander or even grounds for termination. His motives of course are a bit questionable but this is the world we live today. Condolences to you, your friend and his family.

also... sleaze metal? hair metal sucked when it was happening, no need for a rebirth of that...

The bad blood referenced refers to true fact that I wrote an article in April about how Purple Church took off with $300 that was intended for headliner Gypsyhawk at a Griffin show. Sorry, but it was a funny, good story. I was called with the tip. I didn't go looking for it. It is my understanding that Prince and the rest of the band hated me for that article because, I am told, it didn't make them look good to other bands. They initially indicated they were not going to pay it back. I think if I had ill will, I would not have reached out to Gypsyhawk to see if the matter was cleared up (it was and I reported it so). Sorry, but I just don't think any reasonable person can find any ill will in this article. If you want to say I'm a bad guy for even doing the article at all, tell that to every reporter. Somebody who I had written about twice before died at age 25. Jay Allen Sanford pretty well described that above.

Unless Purple Church is a complete flop, and has no fans, they have no right to privacy in this matter. My sympathy for your loss, and may those who care most learn first from their friends, but musicians owe their fans the full story at these times.

I was wondering about all the hate in the earlier posts so I did some research.I asked other bands about Purple Church. I found out that Michael Prince was a much loved, stand up guy, but that the guys he played with are known as scum cockroaches by other bands.

Scum Cockroaches does seem like a better band name. Purple Church suggests they might point their index finger at the sky instead of the proper rock middle finger.

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