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Remembering Michael “eyedea” Larsen


I was in San Francisco, hanging out with friends on a cloudy Sunday when I got the news: Michael Larsen, known as Eyedea, songwriter, MC and the other half of Eyedea & Abilities, had passed away. I never knew Michael personally, having only had the one interview with him ealier in the year, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Like one of my friends had died. I immediately contacted another friend of mine Jef Hoskins, who is as much of a fan as I am, and his phone was blowing up. We were stunned.

Music makes such a strong connection with all of us that you can’t help but feel deep pain in your heart when a creator the likes of Michael leaves this world. When I first heard the song “Smile” I couldn’t help but think of the kids from The Youth Connection, a nonprofit one of my close friends started here in Denver. I had to share that song with her, since it is all about continuing to strive no matter the circumstances and having a positive outlook even after being knocked down. It made her cry because of how inspiring it was to those kids who’ve had a rough time with life in a short amount of time. It still makes me cry, but in a good way. That’s what he did, he connected with people through his own experiences and told them through his music that none of us are alone on this journey through life. He left a lasting, deeply emotional impression. 
When I asked Michael about the making of “Smile,” he had this to say:

“Something like ‘Smile’ was to counteract that a little bit and give a little more of a positive twist rather than just being like, ‘The world is so fucking heavy.’ It’s a little more like, if you’ve had those moments of clarity, ‘Well, I actually can deal with this.’ Then taking that passing moment and trying to make it something bigger, making it longer lasting so you actually can live a life of psychological health, to be able to love yourself and the world.”

Thank you Micheal for your brilliance and how you put all your thoughts, passion and insights into song. You are a true individual in every sense of the world and to echo other’s tributes, you will never be forgotten.
We received notice this morning about a number of events planned to celebrate Michael’s life, which also included many tributes from his family and friends, including this one that really struck a chord.  
“This life couldn’t contain my friend and so he’s moved on to his next journey, but I know he’ll forever be in our hearts
and minds pushing us to live life to the fullest, be better and be free.”
-Brent Sayers (aka Siddiq aka Stress)
[Official Press Release]
On Saturday, October 16, 2010, we lost our beloved friend, family member and artist Micheal “eyedea” Larsen at the age of 28.  Eyedea, who was most notably known for his music with Eyedea & Abilities, Oliver Hart, Face Candy and Carbon Carousel, was an artist in its truest form. He will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. In the days to come, we feel the focus should be on Micheal’s life, music and legacy.  Let’s celebrate his life, remember his music and never forget what he has given us all.
We miss you. We love you. And, you will not be forgotten.
Micheal “eyedea” Larsen 11.09.81 – 10.16.10 R.I.P.
All donations can be directed to Micheal’s Mom, Kathy Averill: 
Public Wake:
Micheal “eyedea” Larsen Memorial
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Public: 7:30 – 10:00PM
Location: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront, Minnesota Grand Ballroom
Address: 11 East Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55101
Sending Flowers: If you are interested in sending flowers for the memorial, all deliveries must be made to arrive on Thursday, October 28, 2010. Please make deliveries to arrive prior to 12:00PM CST.
Send to: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront, Minnesota Grand Ballroom, c/o Micheal Larsen Memorial, 11 East Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55101.
A Celebration of the life of Micheal “eyedea” Larsen
Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Location: First Avenue Mainroom, 701 1st Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Doors: 5:00PM
Ages: All Ages
Donation: $20
Tickets will be on sale: Monday, October 25, 2010 at 5:00PM CST
Tickets will be available at Fifth Element, 2411 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405. For those of you that are not in the Twin Cities area; a 
limited amount of tickets will be available online at 
There is no guest list. All donations will go to the family of Micheal “eyedea” Larsen.
RSE Radio Tribute:
Join us this Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 9:00PM – 11:00PM CST on RSE Radio to remember our dear friend and brother Micheal “eyedea” Larsen. We’ll be playing music and sharing memories with some of Mikey’s peers.  We would love to hear from all of you that loved and supported Mikey’s art over the years as well.  If you would like to share a special memory or experience you had please leave them at: or and we will be randomly selecting your comments to read on the air throughout the night.
You can tune into RSE Radio at 90.3FM in Minneapolis, 106.7FM in St. Paul or online at or
Dear Son,
Always remember that where ever you go and what ever you do my love will always be with you.  I knew before you were born that you were going to affect the world. I didn’t know how or with what gift, but now I do.  You have given me the most joy, trouble, happiness, and pain. Now it’s time for the rest of us to step up and be the humans you know we can be.  All my love,
Mike was the closest friend I ever had. He was as caring as he was brilliant and was a true prodigy. I am honored to have been in his life and to have  created with him and help spread his messages. He was a great human being and he will be missed.
-Gregory Keltgen (Dj Abilities)
I met Mikey when he was 14 and he was so full of energy, but so focused for his age. I have always been amazed at his knowledge and thirst for life being so young.  On more than one occasion, I have had to remind myself how young he really was while we were all coming up.  He was such a special individual, he mastered everything he touched and wanted to touch everything.  He was the most free person I have ever known and he approached life like a scientist, wanting to dissect all of her meanings so he could share them with others.  Mikey had an amazing spirit and a truly gifted mind and all of us who were blessed to experience this immediately became better people.  This life couldn’t contain my friend and so he’s moved on to his next journey, but I know he’ll forever be in our hearts and minds pushing us to live life to the fullest, be better and be free. 
-Brent Sayers (aka Siddiq aka Stress)
My friend, my brother. I do not know who I would be without your influence in my life. You challenged me without tearing me down. You pushed and encouraged me to be a better person. You had my back even when I didn’t have my own back. Your words, thoughts, and ideas impacted me in ways that I probably haven’t fully realized yet. You made me laugh and cry. You made me look and question. Thank you for everything. I love you Mikey.
-Sean Daley (Slug)
I traveled many places for the first time with Mikey, and always remember how he would wake up in the van and say, “Man, this looks just like St. Paul.” All those first tours, Mikey was under 21, and the only way I knew it was the “X’s” on his hands each night. He was always older than his age to me. When I moved to Minneapolis to work with Rhymesayers 10 years ago, Mikey had a huge impact on my decision to make that leap of faith. He gave me the courage and a purpose. There were many days away from home that we spent together, and those times have helped define who I am today.  He always inspired me, challenged me and made me laugh. Anytime, I’m on the road and drive into Columbus, St. Louis or Pittsburgh, I’m going to think, man, this looks just like St. Paul.  I will always remember, always love and always miss Mikey.
I never thought that I would become best friends with the person I looked up to the most, but I did.  When I first met Mike, he asked me what I was doing with my life and waited with open ears for my response. Although my answer was unclear and although I was unsure, he wasn’t and he made sure that one-day I would see in myself what he could already see in me.  I vividly recall his rollercoaster metaphor. He always said, “regardless of what labels you use to define yourself and no matter what you do with your time, you will always experience the same ride.” Micheal had more influence on me as a human being than anyone ever has and I assume ever will. He taught me how to listen to myself and to others. He taught me how to acknowledge my true desires and to face my attempts to escape. He taught me how to express myself.  He pushed me, but never too hard; he was a gentle friend.  He was never too busy to just be there with me when I needed him.  Of all the questions I still have for him and for all the unfinished business we will never get to complete together, I know one thing. I know that he wanted everyone to hear his message and I will make sure that that happens. I love you Mike.  May your love live through me. 
-Christopher Keller (Kristoff Krane)
Eyedea – One of the hardest working people I know. From breaking to rapping, playing the piano, guitar or freestyling, it didn’t matter he put his entire 
soul into it. He taught me a lot about being a musician. 
-Felipe Cuauhtli
I started performing with Eyedea & (DJ) Abilities as their ‘hype-man/back-up vocalist’ in 1997 when we were all still in high school. I was hugely influenced by such talented and passionate artists and even back then I knew that Mikey was special and would leave a lasting impact on music or whatever he decided to do with himself. Mikey always pushed the boundaries of what was accepted as truth and commonplace and was always reaching for something greater. He made everyone around him better because he had such a confidence and charisma about him that it was infectious and impossible to ignore. The only comfort I can take in his passing is knowing that where ever he is now, he’s doing just fine because he never had trouble making friends or finding his own path. 
-Alexei “Crescent Moon” Casselle (Kill The Vultures, Roma Di Luna)
Eyedea was a precious soul. We’re better artists for working with him and better people for knowing him. He added so generously to our lives and his passing leaves an empty space in our hearts. His spirit will forever be entwined in our life changing moments. Thank you, Mikey for sharing your light with us. We love you so very much and your music, insight and laughter will never leave us. 
 -Brother Ali
How do you sum up the career and life of a brilliant writer and musician in three sentences. I can do it in one word, Mikey. 
-Casey O’Brien (Bassist in “Carbon Carousel” and “Face Candy.”)
Miss you Mikey like I miss being a kid. You’re one of my favorite people ever and I can’t thank you enough. I promise to hold your brave, humble, searching, empathetic, hilarious spirit infront of me and press it back into my chest when it feels empty. Sleep tight brother.
-Jeremy Ylvisaker
I was always inspired by Mikey’s focus. I always knew he was a true artist, one to be revered. He was constantly pushing boundaries. He was the kind of artist that always made me wonder, what’s he going to come up with next. I will always love and remember Mikey for being my friend. No one made me laugh like he did. I truly enjoyed his presence and I’ll miss him dearly.
Mikey was the 15 year old kid sleeping on my couch at Scribble Jam, slaying MCs 10 yrs older than him. There was nothing anyone could do. I’ve never met a more supportive mother in my life than Kathy. Kathy is the shit.
-Mr. Dibbs
Mike was always himself. He taught me how to be more myself. I’ll always remember him.
-Joe Horton 
Micheal is one of the most supportive, encouraging, and positive people I’ve ever met. He is a creative genius who has accomplished so much in his career; but that is all secondary to the fact that he treated people with such kindness and fun energy. He is an optimist, who lived his life being extremely considerate, thoughtful, and generous to those around him. Micheal will continue to be a roll model to me for those reasons.
-Michael Gaughan
Eyedea was the purest artist I have ever met. An all around amazing human being. Great rapper. And a better friend.
I was able to become good friends with one of my heroes. As the years went by I started to forget him as a famous musician, and grow to love him as my friend. From time to time I was reminded of his impact on the world through him interacting with fans all over the country. A lot of people are going to miss “Eyedea”, one of the most important hip hop musicians ever. I will too. But more than that, I will miss my friend Micheal. 
-Michael Stangler
As only Mikey could, he found a way to burn a candle on three ends. As a friend and as an artist he pushed every boundary he walked, and did not hesitate to show you who he really was underneath his skin. I will sincerely miss him, and would not trade all the riches in the world for all the conversations and experiences I shared with him. Artist and Friend,
-Louis N. LaPierre
I will always remember laughing constantly whenever he was around.  He had a great energy about him that didn’t allow you to take yourself too seriously, ever.  If you were spazzing out about something really minor or trivial, he was the kinda dude that wouldn’t really react to it the same way. He might just start laughing or crack a joke to break the tension and make everybody else laugh.  Then you would see that you were over-reacting and calm down–without him ever really telling you to calm down.  I always admired that quality about him.  He never got caught up in the stream, no matter how powerful it was. He always did his own thing.
Mikey was an artist in constant transition. If you blinked and missed a moment of brilliance he’d be sure to fill you in on what you missed. Now that he
can’t be here to do that we will gladly do it for him. With the heaviest of hearts.
 -Sage Francis
Micheal was sincerely the most inspiring and extraordinary person I have ever met in my life. His fearlessness in expressing himself so authentically in so many different ways has profoundly impacted me as both as an artist and as a person. I will always love you and miss you, Mikey, thank you so much for believing in me.
-Cody Foster (Sadistik)
Eyedea helped me become a better musician and Micheal Larsen helped me become a better person. He will be missed by family, friends, and fans. The beauty of his life is that many of us are all three.
-Cole Policy
Mikey was a challenge. To everyone. And to himself. His challenges seemed to bring him great joy and give his life meaning. If challenge is what life is all about, he lived several full lifetimes in the short while he was here. Mikey certainly challenged me and I’m eternally grateful to him for that. He was one of my favorite people in the world and I’ll miss him very much.
-Rich Terfry (Buck 65)
Lets say you’re standing outside of a bar with a circle of friends having a cigarette before the next band starts.  You might be approached by someone who’s been dealt a difficult hand in this life, and they ask you for change.  Maybe that day, hard as you usually try, you can’t muster the energy to engage with that person, to be present. To my knowledge, Micheal Larsen never had that day.  Maybe he didn’t have change, but he always had an open smile and treated anyone he met, no matter how briefly, like a human being… with as much right to life and basic human respect as he held for himself.  I miss you, Mikey.  I promise I will carry the fire.
-Michael Lewis
Micheal Larsen was the best teacher and friend I’ve ever had.  He was a living muse.  He inspired countless people to become bigger and better individuals.  He is the only person I know that has dozens of people who say he is their best friend and those people went on to create beautiful things hoping to make him proud.  I am proud to call him a best friend and proud to have created art with him and for him.
-Austin Dufault (Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream)
In life we are blessed with opportunities to cross paths with individuals whose souls are greater than what the body can contain. From this body is pure inspiration. The motive to do. The sheer will of desire to get from point A to Z, and all points between. We have lost a great body of being, however, what we had and what has always been is an energy that will live forever.
-Will Jenkins
Eyedea was a brilliant visionary who wore his soul outside of his body and kept his heart on his sleeves at all times. He was on a constant evolutionary quest for truth, justice, love, peace, and the overall existence of life and our roles in it. In the spirit of John Coltrane or Malcolm X he wasn’t afraid to change trajectories mid flight despite what anyone said embracing contradictions and tension like a lost but found soul mate. To him the process and the product was the same, he was creative expression personified. I didn’t always understand him or his vision but I always felt him. He has returned to the essence in a more powerful form helping us think outside of the boxes we place or are placed in front of us. He taught us what freedom really meant and what it looked like in action and for that I am forever grateful.
 -Chaka M’Kali (I Self Devine)
Mikey, thank you for all the help, honesty and insane laughter. I will read every book you told me to. Thank you for the constant inspiration, whether to be the best, or destroy best as a concept. You never stopped progressing. You lived as art. You were a good friend, I miss you.
 -Stef Alexander (P.O.S)
Mikey always struck me as a person that said exactly what he felt like saying in a well thought out way.  Be it in the battle scene, on his albums, or in regular conversation.  He’s one of the few people I saw start a conversation with a stranger on a plane and talk to them comfortably for hours.  He will be extremely missed.
 -Toki Wright
Eyedea was definitely thee MC from the Midwest (other than Juice) who earned our (the West Coast’s) respect for the Midwest indie rap scene thru battling in the underground circuit and shining on countless freestyle sessions heard live on stage, on nationwide radio and in street circles…I witnessed it, having had the pleasure to compete against him in Scribble Jam, watch him slay the HBO Blaze battle, then tour the USA with him on the same bus having freestyle sessions every night with some of the best MCs – his rise was true…his impact on Midwest indie rap was and still is enormous…we all saw him evolve musically from just a dope battle MC to a full fledged heart pouring artist with Abilities at his side; as an artist, i’ll always remember him as having a true passion for exploring the bounds of his creativity; but most of all, as just Mikey – he was a great friend to have, to talk to and chill with, and he always ALWAYS showed mad love, respect & acknowledgment for the Goodlife / Project Blowed family so it’s nothing but eternal love for our friend and brother from another mother…rest well my friend…rest well….
 -Abstract Rude
Anyone who carries leadership qualities always has my utmost respect. I truly feel he was a leader. So many others were so much closer to him to already know this firsthand, but if I could sense it from a distance, it must’ve been so potent to those up-front. In the few days after his passing I can tell what a dent he has left in people’s hearts by the amazing words written to describe his genius ways on & off the mic. I salute you Eyedea.
I first met Eyedea in 1997 when he came through a radio show I was working at. He was just 15 or 16 then, but already seemed more passionate and creatively curious than most.  In the years to come, it was my privilege to call him a friend. Mikey had a great sense of humor, an unshakable confidence in his art, and a mind that was always looking to push forward.  He worked unbelievably hard, constantly trying to find new ways of expressing himself in the most honest and spontaneous way possible.  I’m so proud to have known him, and I’m heartbroken to have to say goodbye so soon
You never expect to hear that a friend has passed. Not someone so young, so talented, an artist at heart. I can still hear the enthusiasm in his voice, the passion for what he was doing. He is a true inspiration to anyone struggling to find their own voice, and then speak.
 -Skye Rossi
To be idle is a short road to death, and Mikey was never idle, so it is with great distress to me that my friend is gone. To think of him as a new ancestor, an old friend and a brilliant artist is appropriate, and that is what I’ll do.
 -Psalm One
He was fearless, groundbreaking, hilarious, and a warm…true friend who I had a GREAT respect for. 1 of the people who paved the way so others could do what 
they do. All love from me to him & K. Can’t say RIP cuz to me he’s still here, just in a higher form.
 -Onry Ozzborn


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