Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gary Kurfirst, 61

According to the Times: Gary Kurfirst, who helped shape a generation’s rock music aesthetic as a manager, promoter, publisher, producer and label executive, steering seminal acts like the Talking Heads and Jane’s Addiction, died on Tuesday [Jan. 13] while vacationing in Nassau, the Bahamas. He was 61."

The cause has not been determined. The bands he managed included Blondie, the Ramones and the B-52’s.

As the Times notes:

As a young promoter moving to Manhattan from Queens in 1967, Mr. Kurfirst opened the Village Theater, which metamorphosed into the legendary hippie heaven the Fillmore East, later managed by Bill Graham.

The following year he staged the New York Rock Festival at Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadow Park, an open-air event featuring Janis Joplin and the Doors. Its success helped inspire the concert at Woodstock in 1969.

Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth remembered his advising her: “Never smile. People will think you’re making money.”

Here's an in memoriam site created after his death.

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