Guitar legend at funeral of drummer

PAYING RESPECTS: Jimmy Page, right, at Darlington Crematorium yesterday for the funeral of talented  drummer Michael Lee

PAYING RESPECTS: Jimmy Page, right, at Darlington Crematorium yesterday for the funeral of talented drummer Michael Lee Buy this photo

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Business Editor

A ROCK legend was in the North-East yesterday to say farewell to one of the most talented drummers of his generation.

More than 150 mourners, including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, braved the arctic conditions to pay their respects to drummer Michael Lee, who played with bands including the revived Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Darlington-born Mr Lee, 39, who was born Michael Gary Pearson, played with Page when he reunited with Led Zeppelin’s front man Robert Plant.

The funeral was held at Darlington Crematorium.

Mr Lee, who was epileptic, was found dead at his flat on Tuesday last week. A postmortem examination revealed he died of a seizure.

Floral tributes were left by Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, who wrote: “What a waste. Too soon. I’m so sorry, I always enjoyed your enthusiasm and ideas. Robert P”.

Tony Jepson, lead singer of the Little Angels – the Scarborough band Mr Lee started his professional career with – was among mourners who gathered for the service, which was taken by lay preacher Lesley Stegner.

John Sykes, of Thin Lizzy, and rock band the Quireboys also left floral tributes.

At yesterday’s service, Mr Lee’s cousin, 50-year-old Steve Metcalfe, paid tribute to the self-taught drummer.

“He was one of the most determined, ambitious, talented men I have ever known.”

He recalled how, despite playing with some of the world’s most famous rock and roll artists, the Grammyaward winning drummer was just as happy to spend the evening drumming at an open mic night at the Quaker House pub, which Mr Metcalfe runs in Darlington.

“I just hope the good Lord has a decent drum kit for him to play,” he added.

The service, which included prayers and a reading of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, ended with Aerosmith’s Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.

He also leaves a brother, Tony, and a sister, Janet.

Mr Lee is best known for his work with Page and Plant after he landed a gig in Plant’s solo band in the early Nineties and stayed with the singer when he reunited with Page in 1994.

The drummer toured extensively with the Zeppelin duo and was credited on every song on their 1998 Walking into Clarksdale album.

Mr Lee also drummed for the reformed version of Thin Lizzy, The Cult, Little Angels, The Quireboys, Echo and The Bunnymen, and Lenny Kravitz.

After the service, Daniel Stanton, of Coallier Entertainment, a company which worked with Thin Lizzy in the past, said: “Michael will sadly be missed by so many.

“I have received endless calls from fans, friends and family members surrounding Michael’s death.

“The guys in Thin Lizzy are crushed, I have spoken to people in the Robert Plant camp who have also expressed the same. We will all miss him.”

● The Northern Echo was given permission to attend the funeral of Mr Lee

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:45am Fri 5 Dec 08

Colin Wood says...

Read this on myspace last week by Max drummer of Last rough cause

26 Nov 2008 01:54

ive been given the awful news that one of the worlds greatest drummers passed away yesterday. his name is michael lee(lads off his and my council estate know him as michael pearson or "peo"). i feel very lucky to have known mike since he passed me on his way out of tees beat studios with the little angels more than 20 years ago. ever since then i made a point of always talking to him when i seen him, on that same estate, every time i bumped into him just to see who he was on tour with. he drummed with the cult, thin lizzy, echo and the bunny men as well as being with jimmy page and robert plant for a good few years too. he affectionately called the latter 2 heroes pinky and perky. if plant and page didnt know it before, its true but its also true he thought the world of you. i know that becuse he told me less than 2 weeks ago while sat in my car listening to category c and asking what snare i was using as it sounded **** great. he was on his way to his sisters house and before we said our farewells he took my number and said he'd ring for a xmas night of ale and song as he was gonna leave to set up home in scotland in the new year. hope i get to say a proper farewell peo lad.

Read this on myspace last week by Max drummer of Last rough cause 26 Nov 2008 01:54 ive been given the awful news that one of the worlds greatest drummers passed away yesterday. his name is michael lee(lads off his and my council estate know him as michael pearson or "peo"). i feel very lucky to have known mike since he passed me on his way out of tees beat studios with the little angels more than 20 years ago. ever since then i made a point of always talking to him when i seen him, on that same estate, every time i bumped into him just to see who he was on tour with. he drummed with the cult, thin lizzy, echo and the bunny men as well as being with jimmy page and robert plant for a good few years too. he affectionately called the latter 2 heroes pinky and perky. if plant and page didnt know it before, its true but its also true he thought the world of you. i know that becuse he told me less than 2 weeks ago while sat in my car listening to category c and asking what snare i was using as it sounded **** great. he was on his way to his sisters house and before we said our farewells he took my number and said he'd ring for a xmas night of ale and song as he was gonna leave to set up home in scotland in the new year. hope i get to say a proper farewell peo lad. Colin Wood
  • Score: 1
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree