An important figure in the history of thrash metal has passed away. Producer Paul Curcio is dead at the age of 74.
Billboard reports that Paul's daughter Brianne Curcio-Smith, confirmed he died of heart failure in St. Petersburg, Florida on September 10th.
Curcio was also known as the guitarist of then Mojo Men who had a 1967 hit, "Dance With Me." The next year he opened a studio, Pacific Recording, which was known for its Ampex 16-track machine, perfect for multi-track layering capabilities, which at the time where very unique.
Billboard laid out the history of how he was introduced to Metallica:
In the late '70s, Curcio moved to Rochester and founded his Music America studio. In 1983, he was approached by then-Metallica manager and Megaforce Records founder Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula about recording the band’s debut album. The circumstances behind the making of Kill ‘Em All have been extensively documented, but the album — officially certified triple-Platinum by the RIAA 1999 — is widely regarded as the catalyst for the thrash metal movement of the ‘80s, which also included Metallica peers like Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, and Anthrax.
In an interview conducted with Billboard earlier this year, Curcio recalled that Zazula chose him, basically, because Curcio was willing to book the session at an inexpensive rate. To the best of his memory, the project was budgeted at a lump-sum total of $15,000 for about 17 days’ worth of work. Of course, no one involved had any inkling that they were about to make history, but looking back Curcio said he was quite proud of the album and of Metallica’s success. “We were all part of making one of the greatest albums of all time,” he recalled.
Our thoughts are with Curcio's family at this time.