Mike Watt recently posted (on the Watt list) the following tribute to Ethan James, the LA producer/engineer probably best known for his work on the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime, who lost his secret battle with liver cancer last Thursday, June 19th:
>ethan james was a dear friend of mine in this music world. we spent much time together at his radio tokyo studio in venice, ca during the 80s. he’s the man who recorded and mixed the minutemen’s “double nickels on the dime” (mixed all fortyfive songs in one night!) as well as “project: mersh” and the first side of our “buzz or howl…” eps plus our final record, “three-way tie (for last).” he also recorded and mixed the first two fIREHOSE records and all three of the dos ones. I worked w/him producing saccharine trust’s “we became snakes,” the treacherous jaywalkers (josh haden’s first band) first album, phantom opera’s first album and joey eight’s (w/carla bozulich) invisible chains album. I did the crimony (me and paul roessler) single and ep w/him. I actually played w/him too for my part of the ciccone youth single where he programmed the linn drum. I worked w/him lots when it came to me and recording music (along w/my good friend spot, who did all the early minutemen recordings). he was way into jamming econo and never tried to stick me up w/a money scam (quite a rarity in this racket). ethan also had much respect for another’s music and was never dominating or controlling – it was always a pleasure working w/him. he was always patient w/me and such an insightful cat – he had tons of knowledge about all kinds of things – you could never be bored spending lots of time w/ethan!
I liked ethan very much and will miss him so. I have many good memories of him and they will stay w/me always. he was very inspiring. I feel I was very fortunate to meet and work w/such an individual, he instilled much confidence in me to pursue music as an endeavor and not be afraid to take chances. love to you ethan and please rest easy.
In an end note, James was also (under a pseudonym) a member of Blue Cheer, believe it or not. He lead an enviable life, that’s for sure.