LUBBOCK, TX — Many are still mourning the death of local music legend Mike Pritchard who was a mainstay everywhere from the Cactus Theater to Fat Dawgs club back in the day.
Pritchard passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis, and his friends and longtime bandmates reminisced on his life and his music career, spanning more than half a century.
“People loved Mike … I’m just going to miss him. I’m going to miss him a lot,” Mike Boyd, a longtime friend who played with Pritchard in the band The Hat Trick, said.
If you’ve ever seen live music in Lubbock, there’s a good chance you’ve run into Mike Pritchard. Complete with glasses straight from the ’70s, shoulder length white hair and a motorcycle or two, his friends said he was a larger than life personality who couldn’t be more down to earth.
“He was very much a gentle giant,” Mark Wallney, another one of Pritchard’s longtime friends and fellow bandmate from The Hat Trick said.
Wallney had known Pritchard for decades. Together, Wallney, Pritchard and Boyd played gigs as The Hat Trick across the Hub City since the early 2000s.
“He was the Simon to my Garfunkel … He and I weren’t just musicians and players, we were really brothers. He was kind of like an older brother to me,” Wallney said.
They said Pritchard lived and breathed music his entire life, and he never let anything, not even his illnesses, stop him from performing.
“[Once] I said, ‘Mike you’re sick,’ you know what he did? He said, ‘Mark, music defines me.’ So he never missed those gigs,” Wallney said.
Even the weeks before his death, Pritchard was still strumming his guitar and had gigs lined up. The news of his passing stunned many across Lubbock.
“It was overwhelming,” Don Caldwell, music producer and longtime friend of Pritchard’s, said with emotion in his voice.
Caldwell also said Pritchard’s music helped cement the Lubbock sound, and Pritchard had even performed with the likes of Mac Davis and Graham Nash.
“He’ll be remembered as a pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll music in Lubbock,” Caldwell said.
But even more well-known than Pritchard’s big talent, Caldwell and Pritchard’s friends agreed, was his even bigger heart.
“Mike was one of a kind. His style musically, his personality. There will never be another Mike Pritchard,” Caldwell said.
The funeral service for Pritchard will be on May 1 at 1 p.m. at Spirit Ranch, the place where Pritchard played his first ever gig at the age of 14.