Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bob Irwin talks about Ed Cassidy


As you may not know, Ed Cassidy, the bald headed drummer of Spirit passed away Wed at age 89.  I recall seeing Spirit play in Arizona in 1986 outdoors in may have been the most quietest concert I ever went to, I know Randy California played guitar and sang the hits back then.  Cassidy had the biggest drum set that I have ever seen.

Nevertheless he played in jazz bands and in The Rising Sons with Taj Mahal before putting together Spirit with California with Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes and their albums vary in quality, their best remains The 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus to which came after they broke up, David Briggs putting the album together.  Cassidy along with John Locke got new members to join up and California would return later when Spirit signed up with Mercury Records in around 1974.  The Spirit of 84 reunited the original band and while reviews weren't go great I liked the record just fine.  Last time I paid attention was 1988's Rapture In The Chambers which had a minor hit with Hard Love.

After Randy California's sad passing, Cassidy played in a surf band before retiring.  Bob Irwin, who compiled the Time Circle Best of spoke of the passing of Ed Cassidy.

Folks have been asking me about Ed Cassidy and Spirit today. This is the quick backstory... Along with the startup of Sundazed, I started producing releases for CBS/Sony Music/Legacy Recordings in 1989. Among my earliest projects there was the Spirit "Time Circle" double CD Best-of release. I did the conception, tape archeology, A&R and production on the release - and was excited to work with Randy and Ed on the project. I had been an uber-fan since I was a kid, so it was a thrill to build the anthology in line with their vision and expectation. During those sessions, Ed said to Sony engineer Vic Anesini and myself that "no one had ever made my drums sound bigger or better!" We were most proud.

This relationship soon led to a complete overhauling of Spirit's original album catalog. Again working with engineer Vic Anesini at Sony, Ed and Randy came to New York and for several days we locked ourselves into a beautiful room at Sony's
studios, combing through countless reels, mixing away, unearthing all kinds of gems along the way. The early Spirit albums were soon issued as "expanded editions" (original albums with bonus material) by Legacy. We were starting on the second leg of this series in late 1996. It was right around this time that Randy was heading to Hawaii for a vacation with his son. Most sadly, he never returned. Ed and I finished the pending releases together a few months later, and we stayed in touch throughout the years. Eventually, Sundazed also reissued the group's entire Ode/Epic catalog as 180gm vinyl editions - a very proud moment for us.

Ed was a friend, a consummate professional and mighty-ass drummer. He was close - and stayed close - to the group's entire body of work, and took huge pride in the band, their recordings, their accomplishments. On one of the final mixing days at Sony, Spirit music was blasting in the room and Ed sat behind the credenza in the studio, serious look on his face, shaking his head. I asked him if anything was wrong - he just looked up at me and said "Damn good band, man."


TAD said...

Crabby: Thanx 4 running the stuff from Mark & about Ed Cassidy. They're really valuable. You're performing a real Public Service, man. (Are you OK? Too much Christmas cheer?)
Seriously, thanx. Great stuff.

R S Crabb said...

For this year to be winding down, we seem to have plenty of noteworthy news to draw upon. I have yet to even write up the best of 2012 yet with everything going on and of course going to the archives and adding illustrations as well. Guess I'm going to be a busy little Crabb before it's all said and done! ;)