'80s Metal Guitarist Majk Moti Dead at 65

Guitarist Michael Kupper, known professionally as Majk Moti, died on Feb. 17. He was 65. The musician performed with the German heavy metal band Running Wild from 1985 to 1990. No cause of death has been reported.

Former Running Wild bassist Jens Becker and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann confirmed Kupper's death on social media, reports Loudwire. "RIP my old friend. Have a safe trip dear Majk," Becker wrote. The band also published a tribute on Instagram that simply read, "R.I.P. brother (Majk Moti 29th August, 1957 – 16th February, 2023)."

Running Wild was formed in 1976 as Granite Heart and was considered one of the top German metal bands of the 1980s. They changed their name to Running Wild, the title of a Judas Priest song, in 1979. They continue to release new music, but Kupper's time with the band is considered their peak era.

Kupper joined in 1985 and appeared on their second album, Branded and Exiled, that same year. For the rest of the 1980s, he played on three more Running Wild studio albums and two live albums before he was replaced by Axel Morgan in 1990. Death or Glory, released in 1989, was his last studio album with Running Wild.

After he left Running Wild, Kupper switched careers. He worked as a computer programmer for 15 years and at a digital advertising company, reports Blabbermouth. In 2008, he returned to music by founding the band D'Orca with his wife, Melanie "Mel" Dorca-Ruiz.

In a 2008 interview, Kupper said his stage name came about in 1985 when Running Wild members were only using their first names. Since he felt "Mike" was too boring a name for a heavy metal guitarist, he replaced the "i" with a "j" and became Majk. "Later I found that only 'Majk' was boring, too. My girlfriend's name back then was Moti, and so the name was perfect. Originally, Moti is a name from India," he explained.

Kupper also had fond memories of his time with Running Wild. "The first months were truly awesome," Kupper said in 2008. "I came from a small backwoods band and had my first show at the Loreley festival in front of 12,000 people, which was absolutely cool. The tour with Motley Crue was very exciting, and also the USA tour that followed, despite all the problems. I wouldn't erase anything at all; everything belongs to my experience of life, the good things as well as the bad things, and without them, I would be a different person today."