R.I.P.

I had sad news today: my old friend and colleague Jason Corsaro died yesterday of cancer. I’m not sure of his age, but he must have been about my age, 61.

Jason and I came up together as assistant engineers at Power Station Studios (now Avatar); he was promoted to full engineer just before I was, around 1982 or so. He was flamboyantly talented, and before you knew it everyone wanted to work with him. His first major album was Madonna’s Like A Virgin (on which I also worked, as one of my last sessions as an assistant). It was a huge hit, but he was still honing his craft. Shortly afterwards he developed an arcane processing chain for drum ambience that resulted in a shockingly massive, aggressive sound (for you audio geeks out there, it involved, among other things, running the distant “room mikes” through heavy compression, a side-chain-triggered noisegate, and — this is where it got weird — a Publison DHM89 harmonizer, with the delay crosspoints reversed so that the sound came out backwards). If you’re familiar with the enormous sound of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love, or the band Power Station’s version of Get It On (Bang A Gong) well, that’s the sound I’m talking about — and back then, during the Great Snare Wars of the middle 1980’s, this was roughly the equivalent of bringing an A-10 Warthog to the Battle of Crécy. Jason’s fame was assured, and he became a very busy man. A partial list of his credits, which includes, among other records, Soundgarden’s Superunknown and Steve Winwood’s Back in the High Life, is here.

I hadn’t been in touch with Jason for a while, but we were close friends back in the trenches in those early years. He was a good man, and a truly great engineer — an artist and an innovator. His life is over far too soon.

Rest in peace, brother.

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4 Comments

  1. Whitewall says

    It seems a few in your orb have been lost too soon. Makes one think about things I’m sure. Sorry to hear.

    The Robert Palmer, Power Station drumming was a style I enjoyed and it seemed to me that the drum was not always struck so much on beat as late but on its own separate track. Guess I was hearing that studio work you are talking about.

    Posted August 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Both those tracks were played by the great Tony Thompson, the original drummer in the band Chic (he played on Like a Virgin also).

    He’s gone too – as are Robert Palmer, Power Station producer and Chic bassist Bernard Edwards, and now Jason. It’s hard to see all these old friends fall away…

    Posted August 18, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
  3. michael m ryan says

    I sort of knew her before she was famous i worked at a flower stand on st marks and we used to hang out and do drugs in the hair studio next door she would party with us sometimes

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:56 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    That’s a snotty comment, michael. I’m mourning a friend here.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink