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Punk Rocker Sarah Kirsch Dead at 42

Sarah Kirsch
Sarah Kirsch

Sarah Kirsch, a prolific musician and fixture on the Bay Area punk rock scene since the mid-’80s, died Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the age of 42 after a battle with the genetic disease Fanconi Anemia. News of her death was announced yesterday on the Facebook page of Ebullition Records’ Lisa Oglesby. Over the years, the label released albums by several of the many bands Kirsch played in.

Kirsch was best known for her time with Pinhead Gunpowder, the East Bay, Calif., punk outfit that also featured Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and frequent Green Day touring guitarist Jason White. Kirsch also played with local Bay Area bands Fuel, Fifteen and Torches to Rome, and she was listed as a current member of Baader Brains and Mothercountry Motherf—ers.

Kirsch spent most of her musical career (and performed with Pinhead Gunpowder) as Mike Kirsch before coming out as transsexual a few years ago and changing her name to Sarah. Frequent Kirsch collaborator Spencer Rangitsch posted a touching eulogy on MaximumRocknRoll which also includes a tally of the many bands Kirsch performed with in the Bay area. You can read the note here.

Green Day also posted a remembrance of Kirsch on their official website:

Sarah Kirsch, was an important figure and driving force in the ’90s Bay Area punk scene and beyond. She continues to be an important part of our community, our culture, our music scene, and many of our lives.

Even if you don’t recognize this name, you probably know Sarah. She has been a huge part of the punk/radical community for decades as Mike Kirsch (Fuel,Sawhorse, Pinhead Gunpowder, John Henry West,Torches To Rome, Bread And Circuits, Please Inform The Captain This Is A Hijack, Baader Brains,Mothercountry Motherfuckers, etc.). She not too long ago came out as a proud trans-woman, and almost immediately was confronted with these terrible health problems.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.

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