Mike E. Cline was a really smart, generous and dynamic person. He had a way of making everyone feel good around him, or trying to. He could be incredibly respectful and polite … and rowdy and fun. Like a lot of people in our scene, he loved music—but Mike was really passionate about music, which made him so much fun to go to shows with. Riding in a car, he didn’t just listen to music in the background, he played it loud and sang along!
Two separate times, he gave me a music player of some sort so I’d have something to listen to as I went about my day when he knew I’d be otherwise without. I didn’t ask, he was just that kind of cat that knew and had it ready for me. He knew I lived for listening to music too—we shared that same passion. I usually wrote to Mike about music, and that’s usually what we talked about.
One of my all-time favorite shows—X at the DV8 in SLC—Mike and James (Jimi) Germ were there, dancing in the pit—that was a truly great show we all enjoyed. After a recent show, Germ and I were catching the FrontRunner back home when Mike called and said he’d been looking for us for half an hour (at the venue) before he saw a missed call from us. I told him that we’d seen we had time to catch the train, so we ran over. Mike said, “I was in the bar—I’d never leave you guys hanging. I’d get you home, I’d never leave you guys.” I said, “I know”… Mike left us all way too soon.
Mike, you’ll never know how much your words of encouragement meant to me as a young musician, 20-odd years ago. You were already rocking—you were so cool. I still remember you coming up to me and telling me I sounded like the guy in Nirvana. I valued your opinion so much. Your praise meant so much. I know you had the same impact on so many others, brother. Thank you.
I first met Mike Cline in 1985 while catching a ride with Jamie Goble. I handed Mike a few pills from my pilfered stash recently liberated from various medicine cabinets thanks to all of the Ogden punk rock kids’ parents. We drove to SLC to Jamie’s apartment up by the Capitol. I never ended up going in with them because I asked to be dropped off at Raunch at its first location on 4th St. I heard later that Cline blew some wicked nasty chunks all over Jamie’s living room floor—greenish puke. Punk as fuck. Mike Cline became a life-long friend, until his untimely and sad departure from this journey called life.
Mike Cline got me a job in the state pen back in the old days. The job was working at the prison’s printing company. We had access to a computer, had a printing press, and with a little help from our friend, Mr. Brian Mehr, we managed to smuggle our shit out of prison, not INTO prison. It was a real fuckin’ blast while it lasted. After covertly getting our zine IN STRUGGLE [felonious punk zine] out of the slammer along with a disc, we were toasting to a job well done. Next thing you know, Cline and I were escorted by the man-in-blue goon squad back to our cells, as was everyone else who was “employed” at the joint’s slave-wage printing sweat shop.
Slammed down, locked-up in our concrete boxes, we said “fuck ’em if they can’t take a little recreational zine creating.” Twenty-seven years later, Mike Cline ends a grueling five-and-a-half-year stint in one of Amerikkka’s most brutal and shankiest of United States prisons, the ugly and sordid Florence, Colo. facility. Cline gets a good job, plays in two great punk rock bands, and then becomes another casualty of the All Mighty Dragon. This is all too fuckin’ lame, and all too real to lose another brother to the heroin. “Them bone crushers be poppin’ vicious with a capital ‘V.’ I DON’T WANNA BE A CAPITALIST CASUALTY.” –Michael Ernesto Cline, 2011.
Jimi Germ signing off for now. Gotta give a raised fist salute to all of the SLC PUNX and peeps out there. In Struggle,
A benefit show for Mike’s family featuring Avon Calling and Victims Willing is happening at Liquid Joe’s on Sept. 7. Donations can be made at any Mountain America Credit Union, Michael E. Cline Donation Account #9472146. Mike’s band, Salt Lake Spitfires, recently released their first CD. Pick up a copy at Raunch.