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High On Fire Pull Out of Mayhem Festival

In Music

Matt Pike (right) of High on Fire has checked into rehab.

Matt Pike, the South Bay metal legend who played guitar in San Jose’s pioneering stoner band Sleep before starting High on Fire, has checked into rehab for alcohol addiction, forcing his band to pull out of the Mayhem Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 1.

As part of Sleep, Pike set the bar for stoner rock with hallucinogenic doom metal so sludgy it sometimes out-Sabbathed Sabbath. After their break-up in the ’90s and throughout their sporadic reunions, they’ve become almost more a legend than a band. That legend continues to grow, thanks to war stories like the time in 1995 that record execs refused to release their third album, Dopesmoker, because it was one hour-long song. Under the pressure of endless label blowback, the band split into Om and High on Fire.

Just last week, Sleep headlined at the Scion A/V Rock Fest in Tampa, where cake was brought onstage at the end of the set to celebrate Pike’s birthday.

It’s now been 14 years since Pike formed High on Fire in Oakland. They just released their latest album, De Vermis Mysteriis, in spring. That it debuted at #61 on the Billboard charts despite the fact that HOF’s music is even harder than Sleep’s ever was is a testament to the fact that it is also hookier and simply undeniable. What Pike has created with the band represents nothing less than the future of metal.

The band’s other two members, drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz, released a statement saying “High on Fire would like to thank everyone involved with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s tour. We regretfully will have to bow out as our friend and bandmate begins his recovery, but very much appreciate having been asked to be a part of this summer’s festival run.”

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