Dave Ayers: Tim Carr always put the art first and let the rest be damned
Many in the local and global music community are mourning last week's loss of Tim Carr, an esteemed local music writer who went on to sign the Beastie Boys, Megadeth, and countless others in an impassioned career. He worked throughout the U.S. and eventually shifted his projects to Thailand, where he passed at the age of 57.
One of his personal friends, Dave Ayers, also has seen many pastures in his 30-year music business career. His A&R work includes Twin/Tone Records, Savoy Music, Capitol Records and Chrysalis, and he also managed Soul Asylum, Ween, Helmet, Joe Henry, Sparklehorse, and others. In September he and his partners launched Big Deal Music Publishing.
Gimme Noise reached out to Ayers to get some perspective on the loss of Carr, and this heartfelt remembrance is what we received.
From Dave Ayers:
I've struggled for days trying to figure out how to say something that's not plainly reflexive and personal. I give up.
Tim was, for me, nothing short of a real life hero and professional role model. That he became such a good pal certainly dulled my conscious awareness of that, but his passing has brought the truth howling back.
Before I knew him, I was most certainly awed -- he was the boy wonder, for fucks sake. He somehow strolled directly from my "job" (ca. '83) at The Daily to a REAL newspaper gig at the Tribune, and swiftly to a fancy post at the Walker -- Director of Performing Arts... at 25!! Which was then still not enough for the most curious mind most of us will ever know. So to New York, and all the glory and grotesquerie to follow.
He founded, synthesized, discovered and nurtured people, ideas, stuff. The list is impressive and you can look it up. The very culture of New York -- by some accounts the greatest city on earth -- would inarguably have grown just a little bit differently, certainly more slowly and with far less wit, if not for Tim. Those are some footprints.
When I moved to New York 22 years ago, Tim delighted in sharing his map of the city. The Earth Room and the Broken Kilometer, his secret sushi and favorite kasha, Charlie Parker Day in Tompkins Square Park. My wife pointed out the other day that he gave me a great big chunk of what became my New York -- then, years later, hers. And it's now slowly and surely becoming our son's.
I'm not a Facebook person, but I'm aware there are many loving, brokenhearted tributes like this one. He would be touched. He would also be delighted at the lurid, tabloid, cloak and dagger rumor market born of his demise. After all, he moved to Bangkok (or so he said), to write his "book," set down in the sex & drug underbelly of the Thai capitol. It would've been his second, actually -- the first, an oral history of '80s downtown NY, by legend disappeared with a stolen laptop over a decade ago. (Always remember to BACK UP!) Talk about an ending; you can't make this shit up.
The last time I saw him he was recounting highlights of his previous stay in New York, when he'd wheedled a commission from Lincoln Center & BAM's Next Wave Festival to present a Thai "rock opera," featuring his principal client, SE Asian megastar Sek Loso, and another 40-odd singers, dancers and musicians. The production also featured, in just a tiny glimpse at his perverse genius, Loso's avowed mortal rival in the Thai rock wars. Words were apparently exchanged onstage, the conflict grew, spilling over into the hall, some account of which made it to the papers. The embattled Thai government, image-conscious on the eve of a September '06 coup, denied him re-entry for a time, charging he'd "shamed the kingdom."
...just Tim doing his thing, another episode in a now finite series of gravity-defying feats, always rendered with epic passion and that luminous grin. A precocious kid from Hopkins, Minnesota, dancing his way through imponderable red tape and meta-urban rubble, revealing again and again the incredible possibilities -- as well as the dangers -- that emerge when you pledge always to put the art first and let the rest be damned.
Thanks, Tim, we were lucky to know you. Hard to imagine we'll see your likes again.
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