Paul Dempsey shares tribute to Mike Noga to mark arrival of posthumous album ‘Open Fire’

The Drones' former drummer passed away last year

Paul Dempsey has shared a tribute to his friend and late drummer for The Drones, Mike Noga, whose posthumous solo album ‘Open Fire’ arrived today (October 8).

Taking to social media, Dempsey shared a photo of the new LP along with a candid picture of Noga posing with an ironing board.

“I remember when Mike returned from making the album in Minnesota, he knew he had given it absolutely everything and he was so excited for everyone to hear it,” Dempsey wrote.

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“Mike’s family, producer Alan Sparhawk, mastering engineer Jake Larson and the good folks at [Part Time Records, who are releasing ‘Open Fire’] have all put so much love and energy into getting this record out into the world for us all to enjoy and it is a truly beautiful piece of work.”

Dempsey’s sentiments were continued in a press release today, where he said: “There was nothing quite like watching Mike unleash his talent and creativity, whether he was brandishing a pair of drumsticks or a guitar or a mic stand, he did it all with total abandon and it was always a total pleasure to get lost in the music with him.

“As a songwriter, Mike was every bit as bold and uncompromising and ‘Open Fire’ is the sound of an artist with no limits to his ambition or scope. It’s a big widescreen album, full of darkness and full of light, and it’s a beautiful thing to get lost in.”

The 10-track record is Noga’s fourth solo album, and was made with producer Alan Sparhawk of Low in 2019, at Sacred Heart Studios in Duluth, Minnesota. It was included in NME‘s recent list of Australian album picks October, with writer David James Young calling it “a testament to his legacy” that “will ensure he’s never forgotten”.

Included in the same press release were thoughts on the album that Noga had written to a friend prior to his passing, saying it “was a long and at times difficult process”.

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“I’m actually just proud of myself for being able to write another album’s worth of material, even if it did take years!” he wrote. “I’m super proud of this album. I think it’s the best I’ve ever done. My global warming, apocalyptic, mid-life crisis album.

“It’s always interesting to me when the album reveals itself and even I realise what the over-arching theme is. The subconscious is a powerful thing.”

Noga died last year at the age of 43, with no cause of death given at the time. It was later attributed to a rare condition that caused a cerebral hemorrhage, a condition exacerbated by alcohol.

Following his death, his family shared a statement on his mental health struggles, saying “our deepest wish for those in the industry and those that love music is that you please be kind and supportive of each other.”

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