2019 American Music Awards

Updated: Tim Carr, A&R Exec for Capitol, Warner Bros., Dreamworks, Dead at 57

UPDATE: The family of Tim Carr, the former Capitol, Warner Bros. and Dreamworks A&R exec who died under unclear circumstances in Thailand earlier this week, has written about his death and granted Billboard.biz permission to publish it here. They note that reports surrounding his death may have been inaccurate. We will report further information as it becomes available.

Tim Carr, an A&R exec who worked with the Beastie Boys, Megadeth, Babes in Toyland, David Byrne, Lush, Ash and others during stints with Capitol, Warner Bros. and Dreamworks, was found dead Wednesday in Thailand, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Thailand’s Pattaya 103fm.com. He was 57.
Carr was reportedly found in his apartment with a deep stab wound in his chest amid signs of a disturbance and evidence of drug use, including prescription drugs. Police reportedly termed the circumstances of his death suspicious and are investigating. Thailand’s Pattaya One said Carr’s body was found by the owner of the apartment, and that other residents in the building had not seen anyone enter or leave “for some time.”

Carr had lived in Thailand for the past eight years and was recently working on a film about a rock band; he also recently worked with Thai rock singer Sek Loso.

Carr’s music career began in his native Minneapolis in the late 1970s, where he produced a local music festival and worked as a music critic for the Minneapolis Tribune and other publications. He moved to New York in the early 1980s and was a familiar figure on the postpunk scene, staging events at venues like the Kitchen and Walker Arts Space.

During his A&R career in the 1980s and 1990s, he signed the Beastie Boys to Capitol -- leading to their influential run of albums that began with 1989’s Paul’s Boutique -- and Megadeth. At Warner he signed Babes in Toyland, Lush and Ash, among others, and worked with David Byrne and Cibo Matto.
A memorial page was set up by his friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timcarrmemorial

Among many tributes on Facebook, actor/singer Ann Magnuson wrote: "Very distressed to learn of the untimely death of my old pal Tim Carr. He got me my first performance art gigs at The Kitchen and The Walker Art Center. Tim was completely 'IN THE KNOW' and possessed a keen intelligence, twinkling charm, a sly wit and a gigantic heart.”

Butch Vig wrote: “He was one of the kindest, funniest, and smartest people I ever met.
We would talk for hours about, politics, films, food, culture, and of course music. He will be missed!”

Babes in Toyland’s Maureen Herman wrote in part: “Tim was our A&R guy at Warner/Reprise. But he was so much more than that to all of us personally and professionally. His vivid excitement for unique art -- in all its forms -- led to him bringing worlds together that without him would never have met. I remember when Babes in Toyland opened for Laurie Anderson in Frankfurt, because of Tim. Cindy Sherman did the artwork for two of our record covers, because of Tim. He fought to let us keep our core true -- championing our interests when we wanted to produce our music video ourselves -- and it turned out to be the lowest budget video ever to make it on MTV at that time, because of Tim. Some bands derided their A&R reps, thought of them as out of touch, or slimy, or disingenuous. We were always very proud of who represented us -- you could not have a more loyal, spirited, visionary and powerful person in your corner than Tim. He was my friend, and I will always remember his mischievous smile."

Sek Loso drummer Eric Lavansch wrote Billboard.biz a lengthy remembrance about his friendship with Carr in recent recent years. “I first met Tim in 2004, whilst working with Sek Loso in Thailand. Tim had moved to Bangkok and was keen to unleash Thai music onto the rest of the world. Before long he was associated with [Thai label] GMM Grammy, was impressed with Sek Loso, and to cut a long story short, he managed to get Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve, Ash, The View) producing the new album. Within a matter of months we had finished ‘For God’s Sake,’ Sek Loso’s album of English-language songs.

“The next two years saw us touring round the world, all because of Tim's hard work, passion for the music and belief in what he was involved with. I was getting to play festivals and venues that were on my dream list as a kid, we even played CBGB just days before it closed. Whenever Tim was around something incredible and unique seemed to always happen. I remember him coming to collect me from an accident after SXSW driving a stick shift. ‘This is the first time I have driven one of these,’ he confessed as we started stalling and jolting all over the road.

“Tim was different, quirky, unique, eclectic but most of all original.  He seemed to be able to see something within the arts that normal everyday people would miss or dismiss. Phone calls, they were experiences. They often start "So I was in a tuk tuk"  or "I was watching the frogs in the park"  and that would somehow remind him of an event that he felt compelled to discuss. He always used bands, albums, lyrics and songs as references to events as well. If I was in Thailand now and he was still here, he would almost definitely have called me with something like, ‘So I was walking down beach road and got  the usual heckles from some ladyboys. So Maggie Thatchers died?’  He would then reel off song after song about her and totally blow my mind with his knowledge. Then, as randomly as he called he would hang up. He also used the words ‘No, I know, exactly!’ a lot, we even have a song about it with him on it!

"Every call was a reflection of events, current and past, woven together with a knowledge of music I will probably never experience again.”


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