Terry Tolkin 1959 - 2022

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Dean Wareham with Terry Tolkin (photo: Howard Thompson)
Dean Wareham with Terry Tolkin (photo: Howard Thompson)

Last week Terry Tolkin passed away. He was the A&R man who played a significant part in the begiining of Luna and signed them to Elektra when he was an A&R with the label.

Terry Tolkin has passed away this day in New Orleans, age 62. He was hospitalized a few weeks ago, has been dealing with sepsis and organ failure. His brother Daniel has been watching over him this week. Terry has been through a lot in recent years, I honestly think he is now in a better place. He was a key figure in my life, for Luna and many other musical artists he believed in. Dean Wareham (Instagram - 21st January 2021)

I wasn’t surprised at all when they broke up, because I did it. I took Dean to lunch and told him that I was going to be leaving for a major label (Elektra) soon, and I just wanted him. He breathed a long sigh of relief. Dean’s not that confrontational and Galaxie 500 coulda dragged on for even another fucking album because of it. Terry Tolkin (Temperature’s Rising: Galaxie 500 - an Oral History)

Terry wanted me to be his first signing at Elektra. […] [He] got me $3000 to record the demos for Elektra. I booked time at Wharton Tiers Fun City studio on East Twenty-second Street. Jimmy Chambers of Mercury Rev came into town to play drums on most of the tracks, with Hamish Kilgour of The Clean doing a few of them too. I played the guitar and bass and keyboards myself. Seven songs in total, which I delivered to Terry at Elektra. Dean Wareham (Black Postcards, 2008)

In 2015 Dean made the demos available on Bandcamp to help pay Terry’s medical bills.

Terry also ran his own label, No.6 that released Dean’s first solo single (from the demos mentioned above) as well as a Luna EP and the Cagney & Lacee album Six Feet of Chain (Cagney & Lacee was Dean Wareham’s side project with his then wife Claudia).

Cagney & Lacee - Six Feet of Chain (No.6, 1997)
Cagney & Lacee - Six Feet of Chain (No.6, 1997)

“Terry was a wonderful storyteller and bon vivant, and people loved being around him,” Wareham tells Variety. “We were the musical artists, but he was the one who lived like a rock star, running up hotel and restaurant tabs, riding in limos, getting in trouble, and sharing everything he had.” Dean Wareham (Terry Tolkin, Veteran A&R Exec for Elektra Records and Others, Dies at 62 - Variety)

A few years back I had a couple of lengthy video chat’s with Terry, not sure why - he just messgaed me one day and asked if he could call - I agreed on the condition that he didn’t spend time dissing Damon and Naomi - which he agreed to (although didn’t completely abide by!) - we stayed in touch through occasional email, IMs and on Facebook. I never met him but I’m grateful for these brief interactions and for the part he played in the beginning of Luna.

RIP Terry Tolkin (1959 - 2022)

Terry Tolkin introducing Luna in Austin (Photo: Joakim)
Terry Tolkin introducing Luna in Austin (Photo: Joakim)

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On Fire | 30

A 30th anniversary celebration of Galaxie 500's masterpiece

On Fire 30 CD sleeve (design: John Conley)
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