John Kuker, who started the Seedy Underbelly recording studio in Minneapolis, died Monday in Los Angeles. According to the StarTribune, the cause of his death was a heart attack. Kuker was 40 years old.
Kuker opened Seedy Underbelly in the mid '90s. Minnesota bands The Soviettes, Jonny Lang, and Semisonic all recorded albums there, as did the English artist David Sylvian and the DC rock band Girls Against Boys. Semisonic's Dan Wilson told the StarTribune that Kuker was dedicated to "helping local bands however he could."
Seedy Underbelly gained national exposure in 2003 when Kuker moved it to Los Angeles and opening a branch in New York City. In a 2014 interview, the engineer Nick Launay claimed he "mixed almost every album I've done in the last 12 years at Seedy Underbelly." This body of work included Silverchair's Young Modern, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz!, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Push The Sky Away.
In 2012, Kuker bought the foreclosed Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Pachyderm -- which hosted famous recording sessions for Nirvana's In Utero, PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me, and The Jayhawks' Hollywood Town Hall -- had fallen into disrepair. Kuker's purchase and subsequent renovations drew attention from publications like Rolling Stone.
Musicians expressed their sadness at Kuker's death on Twitter, and his Facebook wall was filled with fond, heartfelt remembrances.
Whoa... John Kuker was a tornado of smiling happy energy in every interaction I ever had with him. Ugh. Sad news.
-- Communist Daughter (@comdotband) February 3, 2015
-- Amy O'Leary (@amyoleary) February 4, 2015
We recorded Freak*on*ica at Seedy Underbelly in Minneapolis. Sad to hear the news of John Kuker:... http://t.co/FiMo4JMoqZ
-- Girls Against Boys (@gvsbnyc) February 4, 2015
our hearts go out to John Kuker's family and @Tveitbakk. we are grateful for the gifts he gave to the world around him. rest in peace.
-- Hippo Campus (@thehalocline) February 4, 2015