Walk Off the Earth Keyboardist, ‘Beard Guy,’ Dies

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Walk Off the Earth (“Beard Guy” is at L). Photo: Andrea Hunter; used with permission

Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor, keyboardist for indie-pop band Walk Off the Earth, died Dec. 30, at his Burlington, Ont. home. The Juno Award-winning group announced the news via their social media accounts. Best known for their chart topping originals and unique covers of current hits, the band had announced on Dec. 11 their upcoming world tour and new album, to be released in the early summer of 2019.

The band’s statement about Taylor’s death:

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved brother and band member, Mike ‘Beard Guy’ Taylor. Mike had a love for life that was unmatched and a willingness to give that went beyond ordinary means. He passed peacefully from natural causes last night in his sleep. Our deepest sympathies are with his two children, whom he adored more than anything else in the world. We ask for privacy for his family in this trying time.”

Walk Off the Earth were scheduled to perform a concert in Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ont., on New Year’s Eve. The performance has been cancelled.

The band, with “Beard Guy,” had performed as the house band on Good Morning America‘s Holiday Extravaganza Day on Dec. 14.

Classic rock fans may be unfamiliar with the group; they have over 3 million Facebook followers.

Comprised of five multi instrumentalists (Sarah Blackwood, Gianni Luminati, Marshall, Joel Cassady, Beard Guy), Walk Off the Earth originally gained massive public attention when their interpretation of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” went viral on YouTube, garnering over 185 million views.

Since then, the band has released a string of successful original songs including “Red Hands” (#1 at AAA), “Fire In My Soul” and “Rule The World” (both of which went platinum in Canada), sold out venues across the globe and collaborated with some of the biggest artists in the world (Keith Urban, Snoop Dogg & Steve Aoki). Walk Off the Earth have been nominated for two Juno Awards, winning one in 2016, and appeared on television shows such as GMA and Ellen.

Walk Off the Earth’s most recent original single, “Fifth Avenue,” was added to Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlists in over a dozen countries and garnered more than a million streams in the first week after the release. Their rendition of “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 won the 2018 “Best Cover” Streamy, beating out Greta Van Fleet, James Bay, Leroy Sanchez and Morgan Saint for the award. Also in 2018, Walk Off the Earth released a holiday EP, Subscribe to the Holidays, which was the #1 charting independent release in Canada for the last week of November.

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