Remembering Mike “Wheelz” Sutton
I fought with myself on whether or not I should publish this as it is very much of a personal nature, however, he deserves every word and more.
There are not enough words in any language dead or alive to explain the pain of losing someone close to you. On May 21, 2020 Michael James “Wheelz” Sutton passed on to whatever lies beyond this life. The world lost a beautiful soul, the music scene lost one of it’s biggest fans, and I lost the person who had been one of my closest friends over thelast couple years.
It may seem strange to some, why be so destroyed over someone you were only close to for a couple of years? You know those people you meet and you just instantly connect with on a deeper level. Like you have been friends for a lifetime because you understand each other on a creepy real level. That is why he’s one of 5 people I have willingly cried in front of and I wont even cry in front of my immediate family willingly. I’ll find a bathroom or go for a walk or some shit normally and ball my eyes out.. but he was the friend I could trust to be vulnerable around. That friend who you share things with that you share with no one else. He was my confidant and I his to some degree.
He was the person I turned to when my day got stressful to bring a smile to my face. He always had the right thing to say. Waiting to hear that “suck it up cunt” in the endearing way he would say it. We would talk shit to each-other just for the fun of seeing other peoples shocked faces. He never let being in that chair bring him down or defeat him. And I know I am not the only person that feels this way. He has touched so many lives on so many levels.
Wheelz loved his cars, he loved his friends and he loved his music. If anyone had asked me who I think is one of the biggest supporters of local music his name would be the first to leave my lips. He would go to every show he could whether it was in Kingman or out here in Las Vegas or even out in Phoenix. Wherever the music took him really if he had a way to get there he would make it his mission to be there.
He had this misfits back patch on his battle vest that used to be a t-shirt he refused to give up and throw away. So he cut it up and made it a patch and even though it was almost in tatters he would keep sewing that fucker back on instead of buying a new one. One of my fondest memories was sitting in our hotel room post Slayer and pre Chaos & Carnage watching Star Wars while bullshitting, day drinking and fixing some of the patches on his vest that had become casualties in pits at recent shows.
His passing came suddenly for all of us. It wasn’t expected and it sent immense shock-waves of grief through the scene. There are a lot of us that would like to say I love you asshole one more time. Tell him how much he meant to us even if we had already said it. How much he meant to the bands that he had literally bled for and supported. One more hug, One more mosh pit. One more time to call each-other names and laugh. One last beer. One last car ride. One last show. Even one last goodbye.
A Community Grieving Together
Shortly after his passing a group of local musicians and friends organized a fundraiser in Metcalf Park in Kingman , AZ that went down on May 31st. Black Bridge Brewery provided beer for the event along with local food vendors. Countless local business to include our site donated merch and certificates to a raffle to raise money during this event. All proceeds were given to his family.
Prior to the event in the park there was a cruise organized for everyone who wished to celebrate his love of cars in addition to his love of music. Local bands 8 Kilo Cat, Evil Empire, The Swillers, Talking Bombs, Tiki Bandits, Gheara, Carver, and Souls Condemned all played their hearts out while sharing fond memories about him in between songs and prize drawings.
There was a moment , during one of the last bands, where his chair was taken from the stage and raised up for one last circle pit. It brought both happiness and the pain rushing right back but this …this would have been exactly what he would have wanted us to do to celebrate his memory.
He always been our biggest supporter. Always up front ready to push any monster in his path. Constantly smiling, laughing and didn’t care as long as he’s having a good time. –Oppressor God