Pagans Singer Mike Hudson Embraced a Punk Ethos Until the End

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COURTESY OF MIKE HUDSON
  • Courtesy of Mike Hudson
Singer Mike Hudson formed the Pagans, one of Cleveland’s truly great punk bands, in the mid-1970s. As it’s put in a recent press release announcing the Pagans’ last album, 2015’s Hollywood High, “their patchwork discography is a protracted howl of discontent, of frustration, of strangled romance set against Cleveland's jagged skyline, a single flame burning bright in the night.” It's an apt description of the band's impact.

Hudson, who died last week from sepsis at the age of 61, embraced a punk ethos up until the very end. He lived in the Los Angeles area.



The Pagans released four singles between 1977 and 1979, delivering snarling punk anthems such as "Dead-End America" and "What's This Shit Called Love." After a good run with the Pagans, a band that Hudson maintained never got its due from the local media outlets in Northeast Ohio, Hudson, who documented the Pagans’ trials and tribulations in his memoir, Diary of a Punk, left Cleveland and moved to rural Pennsylvania and then New York. He moved to Niagara Falls in 1998 and in 2000 founded the Niagara Falls Reporter. He writes about that experience in his book Niagara Falls Confidential.

He then headed to L.A. where he assembled a new incarnation of the Pagans and released Hollywood High. The album closes with a spirited rendition of latter-day Pagans classic "(Us and) All of Our Friends are So Messed Up." “We are fortunate to have people like Mike Hudson — hardscrabble folk who have made it through the darkness, and come back to tell us what they have learned,” reads the press release that accompanied its release.



Hudson was active until the very end. He still performed with the Pagans, who last played here at Now that’s Class in 2015. And he continued to write for the Niagara Falls Reporter. A recent New York Times article about the alleged torture and sexual exploitation of women in a cult even relied on some of his reporting.

An avid animal lover, Hudson also regularly rescued dogs and advocated for their humane treatment.

Many musicians and artists embrace a punk rock ethos but abandon the principles later in life. Hudson held onto it until the very end. You can read a variety of heartfelt tributes that fans and friends have posted on his Facebook page.

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