Mike Thrasher and the White Stripes
Mike Thrasher and the White Stripes Courtesy Facebook
Mike Thrasher, owner of the Hawthorne Theatre and the man behind concert promotions company Mike Thrasher Presents, has died at age 48.

As a Portland-based musician who had successfully cut his teeth booking bands at local rock bar EJ's (now defunct), Thrasher took his love of live music to the next level, founding Mike Thrasher Presents in 1994. The company soon expanded, going beyond booking underground indie, metal, and punk to promoting shows of all music genres, including rap, as well as burlesque and comedy. Armed with a stellar street team and marketing savvy, Thrasher Presents books more than 400 shows a year that span the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Courtesy Thrasher Presents
In 2005 he took ownership of the Hawthorne Theatre, making it a stalwart all-ages venue, and a home for hip-hop. By 2009, Thrasher had established his company as one of the top promoters in the country. In 2010 he launched concert ticketing service Cascade Tickets, which handles sales for McMenamins venues. Thrasher knew his business down to the gritty details, and excelled in his niche of working with smaller acts and under-the-radar bands who were on their way to fame; he possessed a talent for identifying those fame-bound acts in a time when record sales are generally on the decline, and no longer an indicator of how an artist is connecting with their audience. Thrasher preferred booking venues with a capacity of 1,500 as opposed to big arenas, which allowed him to grow alongside artists like the Killers and the White Stripes.

Unsurprisingly, artists, associates, and fellow live music enthusiasts are taking to social media today to voice their condolences, share memories of the late titan, and reminisce on fun times had at his company's multifarious live events.

While an internal email shared with the Mercury indicates Thrasher's passing was not wholly unexpected, a cause of death has not been released at this time.

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Representatives from the Thrasher Presents team say it was Mike's intention for his businesses to continue to flourish, and the team had some time to arrange for the transition. Gordon P. Cross will continue in his role as CEO/CFO of Thrasher Presents, as he has for the last five years, and Sean Major will continue as talent buyer. The Thrasher Presents team is poised to continue promoting shows well into the future.

Read the company's official statement below:

The world is a less colorful place today after the passing of concert promoter Mike Thrasher.

For over 25 years Mike’s name has been synonymous with the music scene in the Pacific Northwest, and his presence will be sorely missed. Always a musician, Mike recognized early on that although he might not be destined for a life onstage himself, maybe he could help realize that dream for others. He quickly found his place organizing great shows and supporting the local scene around Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1994, Mike Thrasher Presents would serve as the vehicle to cement Mike’s legacy.

In 2005 he began his involvement with the Hawthorne Theatre which continued to the time of his death. He loved putting on all ages shows and exposing young audiences to a variety of musical genres in a safe atmosphere. His passion for watching bands grow from playing small clubs to larger and larger venues led Mike Thrasher Presents to produce shows at some of the area’s largest venues.

His legacy will live on with the continued operation of Mike Thrasher Presents and the Hawthorne Theatre. His well-established team will be moving ahead promoting shows in Portland and throughout the NW long into the future. In life, Mike was very connected with the work of the Portland Rescue Mission and asked that in
lieu of flowers that donations be made in his name to them. Mike may be gone but will never be forgotten by his family, friends, and employees.
Courtesy Thrasher Presents