Mat Arluck (1970–2009): Sweet Cobra Guitarist Passes Away

SWEET COBRA drummer Jason Gagovski made this official statement today about the death of guitarist Mat Arluck:

It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce that Matthew Allen Arluck passed away on November 26, 2009 after a hard fought battle with cancer, surrounded by his loving family at their home near Seattle. He was 39 years old. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. There simply are not words to express the loss we are all feeling during this difficult time. He was a truly inspirational person and his ambition for creating music, even in the face of the obstacles that his illness and treatments brought on, was unparalleled. His passion for writing, recording, and playing shows remained steadfast until the end.

Sweet Cobra was lucky enough to have Mat Arluck join our band as second guitar player after the departure of Neeraj Kane during the recording of “Praise” in late 2003. The plan at that time had originally been to continue on as a trio, but once we jammed with Mat we knew that we had to play music together. There was an instant musical chemistry, and a common love for records, skateboarding, and good times. He joined Sweet Cobra in early 2004 and we began playing shows right away and started working on our second album “Forever”. Mat’s creativity and songwriting was an amazing thing to be a part of and we feel honored to have been able to play with him. He was a great musician and an even better friend.

Unfortunately in late 2004 Mat was first diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer. Over the next few years he continued to battle his illness with a positive outlook and we continued to write music, record and play shows. Even during some of his sickest moments he would be the last one sitting at the soundboard, or loading out gear after a show, or wanting to rehearse– while always having an amazing sense of humor. His tireless work ethic is an inspiration to us and he had a musical vision that was so focused.

Early 2009 saw the release of the “Bottom Feeder” EP, and the recording of our forthcoming album “Mercy”. After recording “Mercy” this past spring, Mat informed us that he would not be able to accompany us on our east coast tour with Russian Circles due to his treatments, but urged us to play as a trio. Upon our returning home, he continued to play with us locally throughout the summer, and mixing and mastering of the new album was completed. Once tour plans came together for our west coast/mid-west tour with Pelican this past fall, Mat once again was not able to join us due to his health issues relating to the spreading of his cancer. He once again urged us to continue our tour plans and wanted people to hear the music that we had created together.

In early November Mat moved to Seattle to live with his family and explore further treatments, which sadly proved to be ineffective. Our last shows with Mat were in September of 2009.

Sweet Cobra will continue on as a three-piece. This music is a huge part of his legacy and it deserves to live on fully. There is no doubt that this is what he would have wanted. We also have unrecorded material written with Mat that we look forward to recording this winter.

The family suggests donations in Matthew’s name be made to Grind for Life at www.grindforlife.org, an organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to cancer patients in need.

A benefit show (Arluck Time: A Memorial for Mat Arluck & Benefit for Grind For Life) will take place on Thursday, February 4th (Mat’s 40th Birthday) at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago, IL, featuring the music of Mat’s bands:

COOLER BY THE LAKE
SWEET COBRA
DEMINER
CRASH COURSE
CLOSING IN
LYNYRD’S INNARDS
(Black Flag set)


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