Walk Off the Earth Pay Tribute to Their Late Bandmate With ‘Mike’s Song’ Video


Writing a tribute song to the late Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor was an easy call for the remaining four members of Walk Off The Earth. As was using it to help out MusiCounts, a Canadian music organization that distributes instruments to children in need, which was one of Taylor's favorite charities -- as documented by the song's video, which came out Friday (June 21). 

The "Mike's Song" video features scenes of the band members acquiring and delivering instruments to several overwhelmed children. WOTE's Gianni Luminati Nicassio tells Billboard that Taylor's sudden death during December "obviously was a huge, tragic loss for us." And after a tribute concert the group staged during mid-January in Burlington, Ont., "we just sat around and thought about 'What's the next thing we can do to honor him?' He was a massive advocate for MusiCounts and was really passionate about getting instruments in the hands of underprivileged children and schools that couldn't afford instruments, 'cause he knew music saved his life as a kid. We wanted to do something in that vein so we took this on as the best way to honor him and continue his legacy."

WOTE, which released "Mike's Song" last month, reached out social media to get names of children looking for instruments and worked with manufacturers and the Canadian retailer Long & McQuade Musical Instruments, which also donated some of the instruments. Nicassio estimates that the group has outfitted "at least 20" children with instruments, "and we plan to keep truckin' on that end and just do what we can to get instruments in the hands of kids who otherwise wouldn't get them. We're trying to help out any way we can and keep what (Taylor) was doing alive."

On a happier note, WOTE is still celebrating its hometown Toronto Raptors' NBA championship after performing the Canadian national anthem during Game 4 of the series in Oakland. "That was definitely a cool experience," Nicassio recalls. "We have a pretty good track record for playing anthems and our team winning. That's always a good thing for our resume." The group will be touring on and off throughout the year, and it's continuing to work on a new album, its first full-length since 2015's Sing It All Away, with 20 songs already recorded, some of which include Taylor. They plan to choose 10 and have something out by fall.

"It's hard to explain, but it's very Walk Off The Earth, with different genres for different songs," Nicassio says. "There's definitely a pop element to it, Hot Alternative sounding songs, a Hot AC eclectic mix of music, for sure." He also promises "some cool, non-conventional collaborations with...actors and actresses who are great musicians as well. Most artists say this, but it's the strongest original material we've ever put out. I'm very excited for people to hear it."