Legendary rock producer Chris Tsangarides passed away early this morning (Sunday, January 7) after reportedly being taken ill at the start of the year. According to his daughter Anastasia Tsangarides, Chris was battling pneumonia and heart failure at the time of his death. He was 61 years old.
The British Grammy-nominated record producer, sound engineer, and mixer is best known for his work with many heavy metal bands, including JUDAS PRIEST, ANVIL, GARY MOORE, THIN LIZZY, HELLOWEEN, ANGRA, ANTHEM, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and TYGERS OF PAN TANG. Tsangarides also worked with a number of pop and alternative artists, including DEPECHE MODE, TOM JONES, CONCRETE BLONDE and THE TRAGICALLY HIP.
BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi said that he was "so saddened to hear" of Tsangarides's passing. "He has been a part of my life since '70 when he worked as tape operator on the SABBATH album 'Sabotage' and he's worked with me on lots of other albums and stuff," he said. "What a lovely bloke he was and we always got on really well and had a great laugh too! He'll be sadly missed. RIP, my friend." SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler added: "Sad to hear of Chris Tsangarides passing away. He worked on the 'Sabotage' album, a thoroughly lovely bloke. R.I.P. Chris."
JUDAS PRIEST said: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Chris Tsangarides. His contributions to our metal and so many others will forever remain. Love and condolences to his family."
ANVIL frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow said in a statement: "It's with profound sadness I say goodbye to a dear friend... Chris Tsangarides was our beloved record producer who I am grateful to say appeared in [the ANVIL documentary] 'Anvil! The Story of Anvil' with us. He was truly an amazing human being who had a deep passion for music. He understood not only the music but even more so the musicians. He became part of our lives and he will be sorely missed. Rest easy, my friend."
Former BLACK SABBATH and WHITESNAKE bassist Neil Murray called Tsangarides "a lovely man and very talented." He added that Chris will be "sadly missed by all who knew him, I'm sure."
Scottish hard rockers THE AMORETTES also mourned Tsangarides's death, saying they were "utterly devastated" to hear about his passing. "Chris produced our 'Game On' album, the record that pretty much started us on this crazy journey," they said. "Just as we are gearing up to release our newest album, we want to just send our love to all his family and friends. Chris, you were an absolute gentleman, and it was a pleasure. Rest in peace, dark lord."
British alternative rock band BLIND TIGER wrote on its Facebook page: "Chris, you were our mentor, our inspiration and our friend. We'll never forget the things you have taught us over the years. You saw something in us and gave us the opportunity to grow into the band we are today. You are and always will be our hero. We love you, Chris. You will never be forgotten."
Ex-TIGERTAILZ singer Kim Hooker said that Tsangarides "was a legend. The list of greats he worked with speaks for itself," he wrote. "He was up there with the best of them. Above all, he was the one who guided me through my numerous mental episodes at the 'Bezerk' sessions. I love you, Sponka. RIP my dear friend."
TYGERS OF PAN TANG wrote on Facebook: "The band are saddened by the news that legendary rock producer Chris Tsangarides has passed away... A true godfather in the rock music world and will be sorely missed. He worked on 'Wildcat', 'Spellbound' and 2012 album 'Ambush'... The guys would like to send their deepest condolences to his family and friends."
SAXON drummer Nigel Glockler said: "So very sorry to wake up to the news that Chris Tsangarides has passed. A truly fantastic producer and even better person."
THIN LIZZY wrote in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of producer Chris Tsangarides who worked with the band on 'Renegade' and 'Thunder And Lightning'. Our thoughts go out to Chris's wife Jane and family at this time."
Several years ago, Tsangarides spoke about his lengthy and diverse resume during an interview with Tape Op. He said: "I developed such good friendships when I was working at studios. As a 'house dude,' you've got to do whatever the hell is booked in. I liked it. When I started producing, again totally by fluke, I was asked to record a Gary Moore solo record called 'Back On The Streets'. He said to me, 'You can produce this, by the way.' I thought he was joking and realized he wasn't. I said, 'Okay. You play it and I'll record it.' That's basically what we did — with a guitar player as awesome as him and a drummer like Simon Phillips. Then he brought in Phil Lynott and Brian Downey from THIN LIZZY, and we recorded a track called 'Parisienne Walkways', which got released and becomes a fuckin' massive, huge hit. Suddenly I was a successful producer. I did what I always did — made people laugh, we recorded and had a great time. I was very, very fortunate to have that break. People get interested in coming to you after that.
"Anything to do with an 'art' kind of job, whether you're an actor or a musician or whatever, you never know if you're going to be successful or not. Anything that's been really successful for me has never been contrived. We just do it because that's our music.
"One of the biggest records I ever had was CONCRETE BLONDE ['Bloodletting'] and that's hardly heavy metal by any stretch of the imagination. They were into THIN LIZZY, so that's how they got in touch with me. After doing CONCRETE BLONDE, I got to do EXODUS [in part because they] liked CONCRETE BLONDE — go figure."
Tsangarides added: "That's what people don't understand. Just because you might be perceived as one thing, it doesn't mean you don't do anything else. That's the way we like to compartmentalize our lives. 'You're a heavy metal producer.' Well, yeah, I produce heavy metal records, but... I see the merit, the work, the love and the rest of it for everything I do. I've been very lucky in that respect. Another band from Canada, THE TRAGICALLY HIP, are an absolute monster act over there. It's opened up avenues of alternative styles of music, which keeps me working. It wasn't by design. I'm not a guru that looks into some crystal ball, knows what's going to go on and follows the route. It's just that I've been incredibly fortunate in being to able to work with such diverse acts. I've been lucky that people have been open-minded enough to realize there's a lot of things you can learn from heavy metal records, or from country and western records."