Lead vocalist Gord Kirchin of the Canadian cult metal band PILEDRIVER has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 60 years old.
Gord‘s passing was confirmed by his sister Tina, who took to her social media to write: “Before I got to the hospital he played 2 songs for me on Sirius XM, Home Sweet Home ‘I’m on my way please set me free home sweet home’ and of course KISS, Rock n Roll All Night. I know for a fact he sent me that message. He passed while I was on my way.
“I’m heartbroken, so so heartbroken, but I know he will be playing music with all his Idols over there. Namely Frank Zappa.
“I will miss him immensely, the laughs, his nickname for me, the silliness, his mind blowing musical talent. He called me his mini me.
“A close friend of his made this PILEDRIVER poster. [See below.] So grateful to every one of his friends and fans, you kept him going for as long as he could.
“Rest in power Gordy, Teener will see you again, please give mom and dad a hug and kiss for me”.
Less than three weeks ago, Kirchin took to his social media to say that he had completed the “last round of chemo” following his diagnosis. At the time, he wrote that “it’s been a brutal chemical battle,” adding that “chemo reeeeally sucks.” He said that the plan was to go through “three weeks of horrid yuck from its side effects, then in six weeks we scan to see if we got it all.”
Elaborating on the health issues that he had dealt with as a result of his cancer battle, Gord said: “I’m not without my battle scars to carry for the rest of my days; severe scarring in the lungs from the initial infection on top of the scarring from radiation, and it severely reducing my oxygen uptake leaving me gasping after even light exertion, and the radiation damage to my esophagus, windpipe and throat possibly ending my live singing career… so… gonna have to shift gears and purpose. Anyone need mixing / mastering /turd polishing done? I’m your old school man!” He went on to say: “The crux of the biscuit is I’m alive! I’m still here! I’m vertical and mobile! I still got me some great living to do! Let’s get past the next 8-10 weeks of recovery and get back to living!!! Fuuuuuuuuuuuck cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Since its original release in 1984, PILEDRIVER‘s debut album, “Metal Inquisition”, has found a legion of fans worldwide over successive generations and spanning all stripes of metal.
In an interview with Metallian in 2008, Kirchin spoke about how the idea for PILEDRIVER came about. He said: “Leslie Howe, I played with him in a bar band at some point back in the ’80s. It was called MAINSTREAM and was just a cover band doing bar gigs. I eventually left that band to play in FIST with Ron Chenier, and then I went on to play with Brian Greenway. I was on the road and I got a phone call from Leslie Howe stating that he was working on a heavy metal recording project that would not have a band, but they needed a really heavy voice and he remembered me from being in the band and having the heavy vocals. I said, ‘Yes, as soon as I am off this tour, I would be glad to do it.’ I got home to Ottawa and in two days sang the vocals. It was just to go out there and make a little bit of money for Leslie and this record weasel. What happened was it got huge. They didn’t expect it to get huge.”
The music on “Metal Inquisition” was written by Howe (pseudonym: Bud Slaker) and Reny (pseudonym: Sal Gibson),both of whom would go on to work with a young Alanis Morissette.
“When I came into the project and I heard the quality of these songs, I really put one hundred and ten percent into singing it, because I was young,” Kirchin remembered. “I was 23 years old. It was my first shot and my first chance on being on an album. What did I care if it wasn’t actually gonna be a band or anything? My vocals would be out there, and I thought it would move me on to a more legitimate project like somebody would pluck me if they liked my vocals. But it went out unheralded and accidentally turned into a huge thing basically because of the quality of the music.”
In addition to handling lead vocals on the record, Kirchin became “Pile Driver”, so eloquently depicted on the album’s cover art. PILEDRIVER‘s physicality could be fiercely felt in the searing-buzzsaw guitars and generous bottom end, making the album one of the heaviest of the era. And, of course, the songs: each one’s an anthem, as addicting as the last, with the bangers “Sex With Satan” (later covered by MARDUK),“Pile Driver” and the title track “Metal Inquisition” being stone-cold classics every true metalhead must know.
Milestone day!!!! Last round of chemo!!!
Its been a brutal chemical battle, chemo reeeeally sucks, but we near the end…
Posted by Gord Kirchin on Friday, September 2, 2022
Milestone day!!!! Last radiation treatment done!!!! Just chemo to get through for the next month! Got cancer on the run,…
Posted by Gord Kirchin on Thursday, August 11, 2022
Had meeting with chemo doc this morning. Yeh.
When I was diagnosed with lung cancer I was pretty pissed at cancer and…
Posted by Gord Kirchin on Monday, June 6, 2022
I lost a dear friend today. He was a man of enormous wit and intelligence. He was gifted with an abundance of musical…
Posted by Steven Lederman on Thursday, September 22, 2022