Michael Been, former front man for the Northern California rock band the Call, died after suffering a heart attack Aug. 19 at Pukkelpop Festival near Hasselt, Belgium. He was 60.
Singer-guitarist Been was working as the sound engineer for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, his son Robert’s band. He collapsed backstage and was pronounced dead at a Hasselt hospital.
Sometimes compared to U2 thanks to their expansive sound, ambitious themes and literate writing, the Santa Cruz-bred Call was founded by Oklahoma native Been in 1980. The group released eight studio albums and a live set on such major labels as Mercury, Elektra and MCA. The quartet’s highest charting album, “Let the Day Begin,” was issued in 1989; the album’s title cut was used by Sen. Al Gore as his presidential campaign song in 2000.
Been wrote the soundtrack for Paul Schrader’s “Light Sleeper” (1992) and appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) as the Apostle John.
Survivors include his son Robert Levon Been.