Revered Local Musician & Ex-Drones Drummer Mike Noga Passes Away

27 August 2020 | 5:20 pm | Neil GriffithsMark NeilsenJessica Dale

"We miss you and love you so much, Mike."

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Beloved Australian artist and former The Drones drummer Mike Noga is confirmed to have passed away. 

The news was confirmed by his sister Ali Noga in a statement released today.

"We are absolutely devastated to inform you of the passing of our beloved brother, son, uncle and dearest friend Mike," the statement reads.

"We know how much he and his music meant to so many of you and there's nothing we can say to make this hurt any less.

"We miss you and love you so much, Mike."

Noga joined Perth outfit The Drones in 2004, before departing in 2014 to focus on his solo career, with the last album he worked on with the band being 2013's I See Seaweed.

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"I totally needed a break and, after The Drones stuff, I just felt like getting outta here for a bit," Noga told The Music in 2016 to promote his third solo studio album, King, a dark, psychedelic concept album loosely based on George Büchner's famous 1830's play Woyzeck. It was a change from his previous two albums as Noga admitted in 2012 he was "getting a bit sick of the stripped-back, folky thing".

"[Leaving The Drones] was a pretty radical change in my life and it was my decision... but that's not to say it still wasn't sad or hard.

"It felt like a big risk 'cause being in that band for ten years was... it was amazing and I miss it, I really do, but it's like a musical safety net in the sense that I was relevant or, you know, I was in the scene."

It was a risk that paid off, with reviews of his live shows following the release of King saying he produced a "visceral, enlightening performance from an entertainer and songwriter that deserves accolades for creating a piece of music that, in itself, narrates a gripping and compelling tale" and where the audience was "fully enthralled with Noga and the music". His solo career also took him to some amazing places, recounting to The Music in 2012 how on a solo tour of Guatemala in 2007 locals built a stage for him on the side of a volcano "out of bamboo overlooking the lake and lugged a PA and a generator up through the jungle for me to play through".

Just last month, the Melbourne songwriter announced his forthcoming album, Open Fire, was to be released with new label Part Time Records. The album was intended have been released already, however Noga announced in May the release would be delayed.

"It's been a long time in the making but I couldn't be prouder of this one," Noga said in July.