Mat Arluck, RIP | Bleader

Mat Arluck, RIP

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Sweet Cobra, with Arluck at left
  • Ryan Russel
  • Sweet Cobra, with Arluck at right
I just got the news that Mat Arluck, guitarist for the local metal band Sweet Cobra, died yesterday at a treatment center in Seattle his parents' house in Seattle after a stay at a cancer treatment center nearby. His friend Bruce Lamont from Yakuza tells me Arluck had been battling cancer for a while, but that the last time he saw him, at a Mastodon concert, he was in good spirits.

Matt was a good guy and a great musician. Chicago's metal scene will be less fun and less brutal without him.

Sweet Cobra drummer Jason Gagovski says, "We were definitely a lucky bunch of guys to have him join our band." He said the 39 year old was a father figure to the band. "He's one of the most honest and amazing people we've met," he says. "We've learned a lot from him. We're just thankful that we had him for the time that we did.

Gagovski says that Arluck, who also played in Cooler by the Lake and Closing In, was diagnosed about three years ago, but his illness didn't stop him from playing with the band until about a year ago. He decided he wouldn't be able to accompany the band on a tour with Russian Circles but urged the remaining three members to follow it through and to continue playing as a trio. "It's been kinda weird," he says of the change, but adds, "he was sad to see us stopping our momentum. He would've wanted it that way. I know that sounds cheesy as hell."

"He's one of the most honest and amazing people we've met," he continues. "We've learned a lot from him. We're just thankful that we had him for the time that we did."

Ironically Arluck had to drop out of the band at the beginning of their most successful year yet, with tours opening for Russian Circles and Pelican, and word of mouth spreading their name and reputation for punishing, hardcore-inflected metal well outside of Chicago. But he was able to contribute to the group's third LP, Mercy, which is slated to come out on the Black Market Activities label in the spring.

Gogovski says that the band is planning on continuing without Arluck. "He would've smacked us around a bit if we'd pussed out," on their burgeoning success, he says. Sweet Cobra will still play an upcoming show at Lincoln Hall with Russian Circles and Louisville avant-hardcore outfit Young Widows, which Gagovski says will likely serve as an impromptu tribute concert, and he says that there's already talk of more official shows in Arluck's honor.

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