As Blabbermouth.net reported yesterday, Benjamin Scott McMillan, legendary vocalist for Gruntruck and Skin Yard, died in his hometown of Seattle, Washington at age 47 after an eight-year battle with diabetes.
Roadrunner Records released two albums from Seattle-based Gruntruck: 1991's Inside Yours and their 1992 follow up Push. The latter was, up to that point, Roadrunner's highest-selling non-metal album due to the track "Crazy Love" being featured on MTV's Beavis & Butthead.
Roadrunner's Monte Conner (A&R) and Kathie Merritt (Sales) had the following to say in response to Ben's passing.
All of us here at Roadrunner are very saddened to learn of Ben McMillan's passing. Gruntruck's second album "Push" is still one of my all-time favorite Roadrunner releases, and it still sounds as great today as it did back in 1992. Songs like the swaggerig riff-fest 'Tribe," "Crazy Love" (a Beavis and Butthead mainstay back in 1993) and the epic "Above Me" (which really featured Ben's unique voice) are three of the strongest songs Ben and the band ever wrote. "Push" was quite a trailblazing record for Roadrunner as it was our biggest selling non-metal record to date in 1993. This is not to say that Gruntruck didn't haul a very large amount of ass, but they were one of our first forays into something more mainstream. Let's all crank this ass-kicking MP3 of "Tribe" while we remember Ben McMillan and the great music he made.
It's sad to hear that Ben McMillan has passed away. During his Gruntruck days at Roadrunner , Ben was a breath of fresh air, a guy who seemed to handle himself well with the industry folks, but never seemed to really enjoy the Industry part of the Music Industry. I recall after a day of running him & Tommy around a music convention in LA what a pleasure it was to work with them, they had both been through the ropes , so they handled the media very well. But both seemed much happier at the end of the day to be hanging in the bar with other band guys, just talking music. During a time when everyone in Seattle was painting themselves "Pearl Jam plaid" and going grunge, Gruntruck bucked the trend and made more punk edged music with a groove. "Beavis and Butthead" brought the band's music to the MTV audience and that opened up the music to radio, they will forever be remembered as part of that marketing phenomenon. But Ben's music with SkinYard and Gruntruck will always have a place in the history of the Seattle music scene, that guy could rock. And "Above Me" was such a cool tune....RIP Ben.
A pair of photos from the convention Kathie mentions are located here.