As Billboard reported in late September, producer Paul Curcio passed away earlier in the month at the age of 74. Curcio, who scored minor hits in the ‘60s as a member of the psychedelic folk outfit the Mojo Men, became a recording pioneer later that same decade when he founded the Bay Area’s first 16-track recording studio. In 1983, he produced Metallica’s game-changing debut Kill ‘Em All.
Months before his death, Curcio looked back on his life in the music business, a story with a colorful cast of characters that also included Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, drug lawyers-turned-executive producers, an infamous LSD manufacturer, vomiting musicians, and scheming record company execs. See an edited transcript of the conversation below.
We were the first multi-track studio in the area, and everyone was dying to layer parts. Before long, I had the Grateful Dead hanging out at my place because they loved the equipment we had. They were experimenting with all kinds of sounds. The Grateful Dead album — I can’t even [pronounce the title]: oh-ex-on-amo? [1969’s Aoxomoxoa — Ed.] — we did that. They were trying to use sounds and things that they knew were on the record, but where people would have to listen frontwards and backwards and upside down to figure out what instruments they were really using. MORE