Published Apr 21, 2014Mike Atta, founding guitarist of the seminal California hardcore band the Middle Class, has passed away after a long battle with cancer. He died on Sunday (April 20) and is survived by his wife Pam and son Van.
Forming in Santa Ana in 1977, the Middle Class are considered by many to be one of the most influential punk bands of all time, helping define the sound of early American hardcore. Their 1978 EP Out of Vogue is possibly the first-ever American hardcore record, neck in neck with Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown.
After breaking up in 1982, the band reformed for some live shows earlier this decade.
On their Facebook page, the band shared the following statement:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Mike Atta, guitarist of Middle Class and our brother and friend passed away Sunday at 4pm. It is an end of an era and our world just got a little smaller. Middle Class would like to express our collective thanks to all of you that supported Mike in his illness both financially and spiritually, and our band that Mike loved so much.
Atta was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer in 2010. It spread to his lungs in 2012. In 2013, a number of benefit concerts took place featuring the likes of the Adolescents, Mike Watt, 45 Grave and others.
Last year, Burger Records released What Have We Wrought, a star-studded compilation to raise funds for Atta. The compilation also included the Middle Class's lost track "Body and Soul," which can be streamed below.