Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tribute to Kevin Scott, One of the Finest

Dear friends, some of you I may have spoken to already or have heard the sad news....

Kevin Scott, the assistant and main engineer at The Site Recording, died of a heart attack earlier this week. He was on the golf course with friends... doing something he loved.

If you knew Kevin, I'm sure you are all as shocked as I was to hear the news.... If you didn't know Kevin, you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't have the highest regard for him. He left a legacy of being part of some of the finest recordings of our times.

I don't think he was even 40 years old at his passing. Way too young.

Kevin topped many of our lists as the best assistant engineer one could have in the studio. It's hardly fair to call him an 'assistant' knowing the contributions he made to our recordings. His knowledge and expertise of all formats, music, esoteric gear and electronics was well beyond most of us.

He had been at the Site since day one, over 15 years... my favorite studio in the world.... and knew the ins and outs of that studio like very few might ever learn. As well, he knew when to stay out of the way and how to let us sink or swim. He was the ultimate role model of someone we would most want to work with in the studio.

Kevin had the ability to satisfy our most demanding challenges with calm and a positive attitude even when we used every cable and input available, with cross patching galore and 8 headphone mixes.

Some of my most cherished and best recordings came from that studio, always with his help. He stayed by my side through many great moments and toughs times as well.... kicking artists and producers out of the studio, working into endless nights, always pushing to the limits... and he learned how to handle attention to detail with his own desire for perfection.... his labelling program was a work of art.

He gave up holidays to work with us... Mary Chapin Carpenter over the 4th of July to an unknown singer songwriter on New Year's Eve. We watched many a superbowl with a tv under the console.... and I caught him several times with his science fiction books hidden under the desk. Our discrete hand signals and eye motions could change a mix without an artist even batting an 'ear'. I no longer had to say anything to him... just showup and he took care of us all.

I took my most demanding sessions to the Site, knowing with confidence I could produce great results... and to Kevin I am deeply in debted for helping me achieve success on those sessions. Most memorable were ....

the Chanticleer sessions... a capella, 12 male voices direct to 2 track with over 800 takes,
Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics.. 17 piece ensemble live to 2",
Mary Chapin Carpenter and band...
and most recently, the E.S.E. sessions where Jean Claude Reynaud and myself experimented with surround techniques in what came to be born our record label, Blue Coast Records.

From these sessions and others come hundreds of stories and learning experiences.

We were small potatoes to the artists he worked with during those more than 15 years... Keith Richards, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young and all the artists George Massenburg brought in... but he always treated my projects with the utmost respect.

There are some photos that either Jean Claude, Rick Clark or Gus took from the ESE Blue Coast sessions. It was great fun to relive the memories with 500 photos... remembering the magic that we shared... much in part to Kevin's unwavering attention he gave to our needs.

I can't quite fathom that this has happened. It is a huge loss to our community of friends who live and breath by great recordings. His legacy will live in the stories we will tell about our days working with him.

I can't help but think this is a bad dream.. but if it's not, I'm glad he had a golf club i his hand at his passing.

Goodbye old friend....

--- Cookie Marenco