One of Australia’s most influential producers, Tony Cohen, has died. His brother Martin Cohen announced his death in a Facebook post: “Just arrived home to learn that my only sibling, my older brother Tony Cohen, passed away peacefully in Dandenong Hospital this afternoon. He turned 60 in June this year.
‘Tony was a legend of Australian music shaping the industry and many of the best artists to come out of Australia including Nick Cave and the Cruel Sea. He won three ARIA’s in the 1990’s for producing and engineering and was featured on several documentaries on the history of Australian music including ‘Its a Long Way to The Top’.
‘Tony lived a hard life with drugs and alcohol playing a big part of his professional career. He did give them up many years ago but always knew that he would eventually pay for his ‘sins’.
As brothers we were like chalk and cheese. But, I loved him and fully respect what he achieved in his career. He was technically brilliant, but also a caring, big-hearted man. He sometimes frustrated me belong belief, but I will miss him for the rest of my days.
Jack Howard from Hunters & Collectors commented: “Very sad news. I have fond memories of working with Tony during my formative rock’n’roll moments on H & C’s first album and various other records along the way. And what an incredible CV of defining Australian recordings! RIP.
“Tony has been described as an ‘evil genius’ by Tex Perkins, lead singer of The Cruel Sea,” wrote his biographer Dale Blair. “He was once described as being part of an imagined Melbourne music mafia and regular calls are made for his induction into the Australian Music Hall of Fame. His career is a road map of Australian independent music and there are few of the established giants of this genre with whom he has not worked.”
In his recent autobiography, Perkins wrote about recording The Cruel Sea’s This Is Not The Way Home album in 1991 with Cohen. “Tony really pulled out all the stops for the Cruel Sea….He would get a good sound coming back at the band quickly and that everyone.” Perkins then soon recorded The Low Road with the Beasts of Bourbon with Cohen whom he describes as “a magnificent, intelligent, charismatic human being.”
Cohen’s considerable production credits include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, The Cruel Sea, Beasts of Bourbon, TISM, Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes, Sacred Cowboys, Models, The Ferrets, The Johnnys, Supernaught, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, The Moodists, Pel Mel, The Go-Betweens, The Saints, Spencer P Jones, The Devastations and Cold Chisel.
Cohen won Producer of the Year for The Cruel Sea’s album, The “Honeymoon Is Over” (May 1993) at the ARIA Music Awards of 1994 and Producer of the Year and Engineer of the Year at the 1995 awards.
“Sad to hear that Tony Cohen has passed away. Great producer and engineer on so many great recordings,” posted Jeff Lang.