Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Brad Baker, Longtime Sound Guy at The End, Passes Away

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Extremely sad news to report. We've just confirmed that The End's longtime sound guy and legendary figure on the local rock scene, Brad Baker, passed away on Friday, Aug. 31. While Baker had recently spent some time in the hospital due to complications related to sleep apnea, he was in fact in his extended-stay hotel room in the Super 8 on Spence Lane when he died — the Cream confirmed that information via a member of the hotel staff.

The colorful and vociferous Baker — known as "Sound Guy Brad" to many a local band — has long been a figure shrouded in myth. As contributor Adam Gold recently mentioned in our Bonnaroo preview coverage, Baker was the concert promoter behind Itchycoo Park Festival at what is now Great Stage Park back in 1999. Baker worked in concert production for many years, touring as a crew member with bands including Chicago and REO Speedwagon — he's mentioned, at least according to AllMusic, in the credits of Speedwagon's 1984 release Wheels Are Turnin'. Local legend even has it that Baker had something to do with the writing of Guns N' Roses' "Night Train." Good luck finding any confirmation of that anywhere, though.

Because of Baker's mystery-shrouded persona, perhaps it comes as no real surprise that details regarding his death are proving difficult to track down. We haven't yet been able to determine any funeral arrangements, but we'll update this post with any further information we manage to gather. Condolences to Baker's friends and family. I count myself among the many End patrons/performers who at least once heard Big Brad call out from behind the sound board, "Heya, baby!" He will be missed.

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