R.I.P. Roger Nichols

(Photo: Deborah Gray Mitchell)

Well this just sucks.

Monday morning and I have to read in the obits about Roger Nichols.

You don’t know who he is but for sure you have heard his work.

I first became aware of Nichols reading his column in the now defunct pro audio magazine EQ where he wrote semi-regularly. It was the first thing I turned to in that magazine and he often had me reduced to helpless gales of laughter by the second paragraph. But he could also make me think and Nichols had a firm grasp on the fast changing technology of music recording.

Roger Nichols was the engineer behind Steely Dan, the George Martin of Messer’s Fagen and Becker. He won six Grammy awards for his work with them starting with a 1977 Grammy for “Best Engineer Non-Classical “Steely Dan “Aja”.
Nichols was what we call a renaissance man . A look at the side rail on his web site: www.rogernichols.com
should be enough to convince you.

Archiving &Vacuum , Education, CD Mastering. Alien Contact. John Denver, AutoRacingPhotos, PhotoGallery, Pilot Stuff, RC-Flying, SCUBA, NuclearDetectors, Astronomy.

Nichols was a contemporary of Frank Zappa, originally worked as a nuclear engineer but found his calling in the studio.
Working with self-admitted perfectionists Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Roger Nichols turned out finely crafted jewels of sound. Like ‘em or not the Steely Dan albums are the gold standard of the craft of music recording.

Nichols disappeared from my line of sight when his column in EQ went away. It probably coincided with his developing the pancreatic cancer which killed him Saturday April 9th. He was 66.

The website lists his last work as an anthology of Johnny Winter in 2009 where he acted as mastering engineer.

This note is posted on his web site:

“Although he is gone from this Earth, the staggering medical bills have not, and so in addition to the sorrow that his family is left with, they are all but bankrupt from a no holds barred attempt to save Roger’s life.”

Directly below is a link to donate to help the family pay for his care left uncovered by health insurance.

If you love music you owe a debt to Roger Nichols.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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