Little Rock’s music scene was stunned to learn of the death of Michael “Bircho” Birch (Feb. 5, 1971-March 18, 2020) Wednesday. Family members confirm Birch died peacefully in his sleep overnight. The musician was beloved here, but also well beyond Little Rock. With social gathering limited, tributes from the various communities he’d been a part of continue to be dispatched online. Many noted the kindnesses he’d shown to them or others at restaurants and venues as a working musician, employee or just as a patron — places now unavailable for gathering or the live music that he loved.
Known to most as “Bircho,” Birch grew up in Little Rock and Hot Springs, and attended Central High. He was best known to many friends and fans as drummer in the highly influential 1990s Little Rock/Washington, D.C., punk band Trusty.
Trusty, along with equally revered Little Rock band Econochrist, received the ultimate tribute from Metallica when it came to town in January 2019: Metallica called the bands out and performed a song by each in a medley. As a drummer, Bircho was known for his heavy beats with punk overtones. Another of his bands in that mold, Little Rock’s Big Boss Line, gained local infamy for its chaotic shows and tongue-in-cheek “Legalize Heroin And Murder” T-shirts in the mid-1990s.
In recent years, Bircho returned to Little Rock from living in Austin, Texas. He’d reconnected with family, friends, and bandmates old and new, playing occasionally with Trusty again, and a band called the P-47s, among others. He also acquired a new trade: He’d become a barber. Known for his wit and humor, once mostly displayed in barrooms, he’d gotten sober. But he remained witty, and was still often at the clubs, attending shows as well as playing them. Michael “Bircho” Birch leaves behind his mother Marcia Wilson, his son William Joseph Birch, and countless friends and fans.
A community memorial, with the date and time to be determined in the future, will take place at Vino’s Brewpub. Details from Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home follow:
Due to the current circumstances of covid-19, funerary arrangements will be postponed. When the situation is optimal, a celebration of life will be held at Vino’s Pizza-Pub-Brewery. All are invited to attend and celebrate Bircho’s life. In lieu of flowers, monetary or needed items may be donated to The Van, homeless outreach, through their website – https://itsthevan.org – or at a drop-off location. Donations may also be made to the Wolfe Street Foundation, http://www.wolfestreet.org/. The family would like to thank the community for their outpouring of love and support. To sign the online guestbook, click “Add A Memory” at: www.griffinleggetthealeyroth.com