Former Head East guitarist Mike Somerville died after a period of illness, his ex colleagues announced.
His age and cause of death has not been confirmed.
He’d been instrumental in securing the band’s record deal with A&M after he helped record and self-release their debut album Flat as a Pancake in 1974. As a result of airplay from copies sent to radio stations, they secured a contract; and their first two singles, “Never Been Any Reason” and “Love Me Tonight,” were Somerville’s compositions.
He remained part of Head East for their next four studio albums, until 1979’s A Different Kind of Crazy. In 1980 the lineup split by previous agreement following a final show, and Somerville was one of those to depart. In 1994 he returned for a second stint and remained until 2003.
“While Head East is on the Rock Legends cruise we learned of the death of our own legend Mike Somerville,” founding keyboardist Roger Boyd said via Facebook. “He was a part of the classic band that brought Flat as a Pancake to the world. Mike has been ill since last September. The world was definitely a better place for Mike’s presence. He gave us ‘Never Been Any Reason’ and ‘Love Me Tonight.’ We feel so blessed having been able to play again with Mike this last year for our 50th anniversary. Please say a special prayer for Mike’s Mary and all of Mike’s family.” He concluded: “We love you Mike and you will always be a part of us.”
Somerville is said to have written “Never Been Any Reason” after the experience of coming home from tour and trying to deal with the tension it placed on a relationship. The band described the song as “a staple of classic rock radio and… one of the most frequently played classic rock anthems in many parts of the country.”
Head East – ‘Never Been Any Reason’