In the early hours of Sunday 25th July 2010, Todd Sampson, the original vocalist of M.I.A., passed away after virtually collapsing during an M.I.A. performance at the Black Door in his hometown of Las Vegas. He was aged 46. At the time of writing, the cause of death is unknown.
Sampson had always been a prominent figure in the Las Vegas Punk scene. In 1980, aged 16 and still a student at Clark High, he joined local band THE SWELL that, following a New Year’s Eve performance, changed its name to M.I.A. Unfortunately for Sampson, the newly-christened M.I.A. soon left town for the vibrant scene then blossoming in California. Sampson, who was still 16 when the move occurred was prevented from going with the band by his parents.
A year later, Sampson was back on the local scene with the band SELF ABUSE where he teamed up with schoolmate and ex-SPLIFFZ bassist Matt Dudenake, who took up the role of guitarist. The band played a mix of classic USHC covers and originals including the 45-second thrash ‘Locked Up For 90 Days’. The band played on and off, reforming for shows in 2001 and 2009.
In 1984, Sampson formed SAMSONS ARMY which battled through to the early 90s and, as above, reformed for occasional shows in the 2000s.
In 2008, M.I.A. vocalist, Mike Conley passed away. (Obituary here). Sampson rejoined the band which continued playing through to Sampson’s eventual collapse.
“He just started going down during the show,” said musician and close friend Rob Ruckus. “Backstage afterwards, he was totally burning up, kinda going out of it. We tried putting ice on his head, cooling him down with water ... we loaded him into the truck and got his breathing slowed down; he actually walked into his house on his own. But he started heating up again, and then he started hyperventilating, so we raced him to the hospital as fast as we could, but he stopped breathing on the way. When we got to the hospital there was no heartbeat.”
Sampson is survived by his son, Daz, and his girlfriend.