We all know Gerry was an amazing person, and he was also an amazing story teller. We’ve all heard so many great stories from him.
Well now it’s our turn to tell our stories of him. Please use the comment form below to leave your thoughts, comments, quotes or stories about Gerry! Here’s a great example courtesy of Sergio on Facebook:
”Window office?, The only window you are going to see is the one on a plane… Now go sell…”
…or something like this which many of us heard:
“9 women can’t make a baby in a month…”
You’ve all been great sending your thoughts to the family through phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media, we thought it would be great to have them all in one place for everyone to see, share and enjoy. Please explore the site for other information.
60 thoughts on “Guest Book”
Testing the comment form. I have a ton to say about Gerry. I hope to be able to articulate them soon.
I worked for Liquid Audio from 2000-2002. After working from my home for about 8 months, Liquid finally got an office in LA. Technically it was a space used for anyone from Liquid coming to LA but myself Brady Lahr (RIP) and a few others had designated offices. To be totally frank, there were quite a few occasions when I worked alone in the office for days on end. I was so happy not to work out of my living room that was happy to work where I had space.
One day, around the time of some rumors of layoffs were coming, at about 9:15am, Gerry and Robert Flynn walked in unannounced. I was at my desk working – utterly shocked they were in the office. Gerry had never come to the LA office – so why was he here now? Was I getting the axe in person?
Gerry kinda looked around, didn’t say much about the attendance, looked over the office and went about his business. Shortly thereafter, there were layoffs and I still had my job. Why? I was told it was because Gerry was pleased I was in early doing my job with no supervision when others were not.
I’m not saying I should get a medal for doing my job – that WAS my job after all. But my fondest memory of Gerry was that he appreciated my hard work and kept me on at Liquid Audio until another round of layoffs downsized the company further. I didn’t know him that well but he seemed to have an attitude that was utterly selfless yet commanding, he seemed outspoken but also very funny as well and had a real joy for life. I’ll always remember him and appreciate my time at Liquid. I still have good friends I talk to regularly who I met at Liquid.
Sad to hear of his passing. My best wishes to his family and friends.
I first met Gerry on the Paramount film mixing stage back in 1986. He had one of the first “Fat Macs” and was running DAW software on it that Adrian Freed had written. This was many years before work on Sounds Tools or Pro Tools had started. But that was Gerry. He was always WAY ahead of his time. When he first described his vision for music distribution to me in 1995, I was still working at digidesign. I knew he was onto something big and soon left an incredible job to become employee #13 at Liquid Audio. It was a big risk, but I knew the people who were working there at the time could create technology that would change the world. And that we did. I’m very proud of the things we accomplished. Gerry was very good to me and so many others at Liquid. He was a one of a kind person, who will be forever missed by those who knew him well.
Phil Wiser was my neighbor in SF and we talked for months about the possibility of me joining the team… I had several meetings with people from all over the company, and then I sat down in Gerry’s office. We didn’t talk about data centers, web server performance, or any of that… we talked about music, for over an hour. We talked about SF in the late sixties, CBGB in the early 80s, and about jazz. We started riffing on the concept of “the celestial jukebox.” (Spotify must’ve made Gerry very happy) and finally got around to his vision for Liquid…
After I left, I did not stay in touch with Gerry. Three years ago, the Bandwidth Conference put on a Digital Music 1.0 panel, starring Gerry, Hank Barry, and others… In about five minutes I realized how damn funny Gerry was, and how much that humor was a happy memory of my time with him… I’m thrilled that I got to spend some happy time with him after that panel…
I rarely think of him, have not seen him in decades. He and Jerry Sulkin, who went with my sis Les for years, were close friends. I was thinking of Gerry on Monday enough to google his name out of curiosity. I saw his Wikipedia listing and was truly astounded at what it said there. The things he invented and his contributions to the world. Things I was not aware of. Just kind of freaked me out that he would come to my mind out of nowhere. I think it was a blessing,
To me he was always the drummer hippie guy I gave a ride to in Sausalito in 1969, the guy we had to Thanksgiving dinner with my family as he had no place to go for the holiday.
The last time I saw him, he was wearing an old coat, bell bottom pants, long scraggily hair. Telling me he had both wrists operated on for carpel tunnel or something like that. I never saw him again. That is how I remember him, before money or what fame he may have achieved. Just a talented, young, ex-marine looking for a home that provided me with a personal lesson once that really changed the way I looked at myself. He was 6 years older and I was only 17 then, but he seemed like the old guy at the time. I was in the drumline of the Kingsmen when he arrived with Jerry Sulkin fresh out of the Marine Corp. That is how I will always remember him and it must have mattered, I think he came to visit me before he left.
Gerry and I were room mates in 1969 in Norwalk. CA. We were both freshly out of the service and were instructing The Lakewood Ambassadors Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps. When I moved up to Santa Clara in 1972 he was a frequent house guest at the place I stayed with a bunch of Santa Clara Vanguard. I moved to Colorado and then to The Upper Midwest later that year and pretty much fell off the drum corps map. In the early 80s I owned a farm in West Central Wisconsin. One day I happened to be in LaCrosse driving through Riverside Park with my then girlfriend. All of a sudden, I hollered (and I do mean hollered) out “STOP THE CAR!!!!” I had just spotted Gerry at a distance teaching a snare drummer from Blue Star. I came rolling up, hair down to my ass and beard down to my chest, looking for all the world like a dirt hippy, which I guess I was. After he figured out who I was, he introduced me to the kid. I won’t repeat what he said, although it was funny as hell and it was even funnier to see the kid’s jaw hit the ground. Lost track of him (again) after that and didn’t hook up with him again until I came home to CA and got internet connected in the 2000s. I dropped him a few notes, got some good replies and kinda thought we’d go on like that till the end of time. It broke my heart this morning when I’d heard of his accident and very untimely passing. My condolences to the family and, like all the other people he ever met, I’m going to miss him a lot. Even though I was a brass player, he was always showing me “drum stuff” I could never master. We used to joke that when he put down his drum sticks, which wasn’t often, they would sit on his practice pad and “idle”, meaning they never stopped rolling. God love you, Gerry. We’re going to be telling stories about you forever.
I’ve been dodging Gerry’s drum sticks since 1971. He will forever be remembered, loved, and missed.
I hardly know where to start…
It’s hard to find a friend like Gerry. When Gerry called someone his friend, he wasn’t messing around. He was my dad’s friend from 40 years back. Though they had fallen out of touch, Gerry came in like a knight when my Dad fell ill with brain cancer. He made sure that my mom was taken care of, always wanted to know if the bills were paid, flew out my Aunt to make sure she could see her brother, etc., etc.
I raced home from living abroad as soon as we found out my pops was sick, and Gerry had a job waiting for me. At first it was pretty much an excuse to ensure that I, and ultimately the family, had income. He also wanted to make sure I didn’t have to go get some other employment that would take away from my ability to care for my father – as long as I was with Gerry my schedule was flexible in that regard.
We all have awesome stories about his razor-sharp whit and amazing stories. But let it not go unsaid that Gerry Kearby took care of his own. He was gregarious, passionate and opinionated while at the same time one of the most generous, kind hearted, and loyal men ever – certainly that I have ever known.
He is irreplaceable but leaves us with almost tangible memory of a person who will continue to loom large for the rest of our lives.
When I visited his office after a long flight from Tokyo, I found a metallic plate on his desk stating S.W.A.T.
I said “What’s this? Special Weapons And Tactics?”
Gerry said “No, Chiaki, Sell What Available Today!”
I’ll forever be indebted to Gerry and his team for creating Liquid Audio and giving me a start in the digital music industry.
I met Gerry in 1980 when I was marching with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.I played euphonium in the hornline with Don Hill(aka..wolfie)and Dave Tippett.Gerry taught the percussion line along with Ron Anderson.When Gerry and Don were with the marching members , we partied occassionally,they always wore the ugliest Hawiian shirts.There was a standing joke that whole summer, that Gerry wanted to take me out on a date.Think this was done so I would always run the other way.We were on our way to prelims,here I am trying to focus on my music and Ron Anderson comes up to me and offers me a $50 bill, to go out with Gerry and I started laughing.But I got to know him pretty well from Don and he was hilarious with a drink in his hand.But when it came time to teach, everybody respected him that held a pair of drum sticks.
I just had talked to him about two weeks ago and he was telling me of all his accomplishments,how happy he was being married and his love for all his animals.I am sure he will be deeply missed by all and offer my condolences to his family.Gone too soon……………
I first met Gerry in 1979 when he was here in NY State teaching the Squires from Watkins Glen, NY. We co-taught their drumline and I learned much from Gerry as well as had a lot of laughs. In 1980, he went to the Blue Stars and asked me to write much of their percussion book. I will always have good memories of Gerry.
I first met Gerry in 1969. There were a lot of people in our clan but at parties I was always sitting with Gerry so I could laugh. And laugh we did. We had great times at the Fillmore West concerts back in the day. We were pretty wasted at one party when Gerry kept looking at his cool watch and said let’s take it apart so we can put it back together again. Wrong. The one thing I was so proud of was when he taught me how to do the Kingsmen stick toss. I was impressed. There were times when he would be bouncing a ball down the stairs and told me to be quiet so he could write it down as a drum solo. The man had talent and a whole lot of love in his heart he wanted to share with the world. I will surely miss him and smile every time I think of him.
Love you Gerry and God Bless you
Plz indulge me and my scattered ramblings … Our friendship spanned 40 years, his sister, my dear friend. I didn’t see him often but when I did it was like no time had passed. It was always fun to reminisce with him. We were hippies, he lived in the basement apt of my home in Emerald Hills. The house was old and there was only his ceiling/my floor between us. In 1977 Ger had a LOT of energy. He would drum on his leg, a table, the stove, any combination or all three ~ seriously, whatever was handy. He loved to drum and and loved regale us with stories about his precious drum corp. He was unorthodox in everything he did but it seemed like it always worked out in the end. His 50th birthday party was legendary. On one of the trips to the bay I stayed at Nikki and Ger’s home. We went into town in the Audi and I saw how familiar he was with the roads in Loma Mar and Pescadero. Not good if you’re sitting in the back seat but obviously an awesome joy for him. He loved his wife, his family, his animals, his cold ones, and life. He really loved life in a contagious way.
I said it in another forum but I think it’s worth repeating:
Too sad, too soon. He was an easy man to love with a quiet genius that will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Ger.
I only worked directly with Gerry for a few weeks, before he left Liquid Audio. I have many small moments that I could share, but they pale in comparison to my friends and colleagues who had the privilege of working with Gerry longer.
Instead, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Kearby for his vision. I, Steve Jobs, and the entire digital music business have only reached whatever heights we have because we stood on your shoulders, Gerry, and caught a brief glimpse of what you had seen all along.
Thank you for the music.
I worked with Gerry from 1996-1998 as his first reseller/business partner at Liquid Audio. Bill Woods introduced us before they had even launched a product, but I just knew Gerry was onto something. Together with Gerry’s team, EMI/Capitol Records and Duran Duran- we did what many people deemed was the world’s first paid for digital music download over the Internet. The song was “Electric Barbarella” (see link) CNN filmed Simon and Nick from the band downloading it using my credit card in Abbey Road Studios. Fun times indeed. Gerry taught me valuable lessons and always made me smile. He played the CEO role brilliantly but was also a big teddy bear… RIP Gerry.
I thought the website link would come through when I posted but here (hopefully) is the link to the song that thanks to Gerry, made history… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym5g2Ob6oBo
One of my favorite GK stories (there are so many), and to which I won’t do justice.
Apparently Gerry used to spell his name with a “J”.
One day he starts a job at some new company, asks the assistant to have some business cards printed up.
Box of cards shows up, Gerry pulls one out and it says:
“OK, Gerry with a G it is!!”
Had me doubled over dying laughing at the time, still makes me chuckle.
RIP my friend. You’re missed.
Man..Gerry’s sudden death is difficult to process for me. But I’m going to try and I’m going to use expletives.
I worked with Gerry in the late 90’s-early 2k’s. I was the “Creative Director” at Liquid. I’m still not sure what that title means.
The Gerry I knew was, at his core, a truly warm hearted, honest person, capable of great kindness and wild gregarious humor. He was also a real family guy. He really loved his wife, and spoke of her often in the bemused and contented way of someone who’s in a marriage for keeps.
Gerry, as it’s been said over and over, was also a visionary. We all know that real visionaries are (as Tom Waits says) “real gone”, and Gerry was no exception.
Because he possessed that rare quality that only visionaries can manage, as he could reduce problems to their essential core quickly, and then attack them with a focus that was, at times, a wonder to witness.
Gerry, as anyone who knew and loved him will tell you, did not fuck around.
He dealt in the truth, sure it may of been “his truth”, but he was always unwavering in his fight for it. This, of course, meant that knowing Gerry required the skill of also knowing when to get the fuck out of his way.
As for me, Gerry gave me a chance to help build something that was “big”. He jump started my career as a Graphic Designer and always trusted my intuition. Sure, I was often wrong, and he (in no uncertain terms) let me know I was wrong, but he always let me breathe and own my opinions. I’m forever grateful to him for that. Career wise, I honestly dont know where I’d be today without him. His was the first name in the list of references on my resume. I’m positive that many, many people can say the same thing.
I can’t count the amount of times I sat in his office, while he expertly spun a drum stick through his fingers (most of the time clearly not aware of the stick at all..and “spinning” is not quite accurate, it was more like a hummingbird, moving with a flagrant disregard for physics, dancing with a stick of wood ) as we talked about business models, philosophy, Science Fiction reads, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and the many people we felt were full of shit. I’d always leave laughing, thinking “Man, I’m so happy I just had that conversation”.
And yeah he could yell. He yelled at everyone. One day I walked in to his office to witness him slamming down the phone screaming “ASSHOLE”. Then he looked up at me, laughing, and said “I just called Steve Jobs an asshole..AGAIN!”.
I also think that he was more Steve Jobs-like than he would have admitted, as he too used a “reality distortion filter” to bend the world to the shape that he could manage. This filter left some confused, hurt and pissed off at him, but that was just the way the game was played with Gerry, and one would have to be a idiot not to recognize his passionate tendencies were really just another way to get stuff done. For me, and the many friends I know who worked at Liquid Audio, we would always end up laughing our asses off at Gerry’s beautiful demonstrations of “Kearby Reductionism”. And Gerry, when all was calm, would ultimately do the same. He knew who he was, which made him all the more likable.
Im pretty sad now because the world needs more of Gerry. The guy was far from done. And he was too young to pass, especially after the years of sickness he endured. It just fucking sucks.
And I’m saddened that he didn’t write his autobiography, which I was always pressing him to do (he was a stunningly good writer), as the stories he told were just wildly insane. It became clear, as he told more and more of them, that Gerry was a magnet for “life’s rich folly”, He had a gravitational pull that attracted oddities and rare ideas, those things that somehow pass though the air, unnoticed or ignored by most of us, but stuck to Gerry’s beautiful wild spirit.
And man, I loved him for it.
I’ll miss you pal
Though I worked at Liquid for eight years, I did not have the chance to work with Gerry. That being said, during that time I was always aware of his vision, it came up nearly every day. Everyone had a Gerry story; digging through legacy documents, Gerry’s presence was always there.
I did finally meet with Gerry several times last year. That was the capper for eight years of curating his vision.
I loved and loathed Gerry’s colorful comments.
The window comment was aimed at me. I complained that my office window was broken and his reply was:
“Pete, you’re a sales guy, the only f..ing window should be looking out is one from a plane!”
A couple of other ones:
“The only time I see that woman sweat around here is when she is coming back from the gym!”
In a heated discussion with the PR Agency Gerry ended the conversation by saying “this is your Waterloo!” and hung up the phone.
I remember one time when he strolled into a meeting he was not invited to, sat down, listened and said: “If this was my company, and it is, this is what I would do..”
Oh and who can forget “Sell your shit on the Internit!”
Gerry also said some very kind things. He was the leader of the band and the best person to have on your side in a fight. He was a great protector.
He pushed me to do achieve things I never thought I could. He helped me to find my strengths and become the person I am today. For that I am eternally grateful
I will never forget him and the time I spent with all of you at Liquid.
To Adam or Gerry’s Family. Is there a place where condolences can be sent to Gerry’s Family?
Pat, all the messages here will be shared for sure. But if you’d like to send something in the mail, you can use our office address and it will get to us:
ATTN: Rob Modeste
2317 Broadway Suite 120
Redwood City, CA 94063
I first met Gerry very early on in my career when I was at Otari and he was doing the Editech thing. Even though he was a competitor, I always enjoyed talking with him at trade shows, where he helped me understand that business is people, not products. The fact we had drumming in common created a common bond, and we enjoyed talking drum corps on occasion. Gerry had great insights into the audio market, and had no problem speaking his mind about the way he saw things. I had the pleasure of working with him again as a Liquid licensee at Creative, where he was more than happy to share his thoughts on how broken the record labels were. He was right, by the way.
I’m sorry to hear of his passing; I was a big fan of what he was trying to do at Neurotone now that all of us drummers / concert goers / rock n rollers are getting old and the damage inflicted on our hearing is becoming apparent. My heart goes out to his family. I’ll miss you Gerry.
Does anyone know if there is a memorial at the site of the accident? I’m going to go over there tomorrow and leave some flowers.
I was planning to ride my motorcycle on Pescadero Creek Rd tomorrow Sunday… I often do on the weekends… It is actually one of my favorite roads to ride… Never any traffic, and full of gorgeous trees… Gerry hated hot weather and that is why he moved to that area to be within the cool shade of those lofty trees…
I first met Gerry when I joined the Anaheim Kingsmen in late 1969. I was 18 years old and had no idea what I was getting into, but that very first practice on a Wednesday night at Dale Jr. High, Gerry made it very clear that he was in charge. Between Gerry’s Marine Corps style of dicipline and precision and Don Porter Jr.’s style of teaching, I learned what it was like to witness greatness in this guy that was yelling at us often that night. This was the start of one of my greatest experiences of my life, a national tour with the Kingsmen in 1970 which ended with a national drum title in Oregon. In 1971, Gerry and I were room mates with Rocco Oliverio and Jerry Sulkin. Sulkin was a Marine Corps buddy of Gerry who came out to California with him when they were discharged from the Marine Corps. Incidently, Gerry was one of the snare drummers representing the Marine Corps in President Kennedy’s funeral procession in 1963. I have always admired him for that. We shared a four bedroom apartment in Los Alamitos which was close to where the Kingsmen practiced at the Naval Air Station. I spent a lot of time with Gerry since I had a car and he didn’t, he did help with gas money, so I didn’t mind playing chauffer for him. I learned a lot about drumming from Gerry, he was an enormus talent and was always thinking of new ideas and drum parts. Later that year, Gerry had a falling out with the Kingsmen management and he decided to quit. I somehow decided to quit with him. This was a decision I kind of regret because if I had stayed, I would have had the opportunity to age out with the Kingsmen when they won the first DCI in 1972. They marched with 5 snares in 1971, I learned later from Michael Ellerby that they were holding the 6th spot for me if I returned in time. There were no cell phones back then and there was no way they could call me since Gerry and I had left to go to Santa Clara to hook up with his buddy Fred Sanford and possibly join the Santa Clara Vanguard. Well this didn’t pan out and we ended up following them on their western tour. We made it back to So. Cal. before the Kingsmen left on tour and went to visit their practice at Los Alamitos. It was good to see Ralph Hardimon, Tom Float, Michael Ellerby, Mike Hubbard and Terry Walker again, but it was too late for me to get back in. Gerry loved to give nick names to people he knew, he called Terry Walker “Icabod” because he reminded him of Icabod Crane. He called the Tri-Tom player Dennis Minium “Java” because he thought he looked like the prehistoric Java Man to him. He called me “Head Gear”, because it was funny and sounded like Edgar.
I was honored that Kingsmen Snare Line held the spot open for me in 1971 and I am grateful for that today. During the time Gerry and I were hanging out in Santa Clara, I met a lot of Gerry’s friends and family, his friend Jim that lived in Stinson Beach (he was a piano musician and was recording an album at the time), his Mom in Palo Alto, an old girlfriend in Denver. Gerry and I shared a lot and we got to know each other well in the short time I knew him. I will always be grateful for all of his wisdom and talent he shared with me every day we were together. Gerry, rest in peace my friend. God bless you and your family.
I met Gerry when I was consulting for Liquid Audio in 1996 and created a cool white paper for the company. I spoke to him on the phone just a few months ago. Rest in peace, Gerry, you will be missed.
I agree with the comment that had Gerry written his autobiography it would’ve been a best seller… Here we are all telling our “Gerry Stories”, but Can you imagine him telling “Gerry Stories”? I was a neighbor of Gerry and Nikki’s for many years, and I ended up at Liquid Audio… Gerry was the world’s best salesman, hands down. The by-product of doing something you love and believe in…There was something about his sincerity; he could pull it off everytime. To this day, in my profession in sales, I still use one of his standard phrases that he used to set-up the “close” with customers. It was, “…I’d like to encourage you to consider…” I use it all the time, and I always think about Gerry when I do, mainly because I want that sincerity to come off as good as his… I have many Gerry stories, but the one I want to memorialize is his love for his wife Nikki. As grumpy and hard-assed as he could be, he was always a softy when it came to Nikki. No matter what was going on during the day, the moment he would bring her up (and he did so very often), the thought of her acted like a tranquilizer. He had so much love for her, and that is what I loved about him. I will also remember his joyful bursts of laughter, heard them duing the day at the office, and heard them during the nights and weekends at home (yes, they were loud laughs!). Gerry, rest in peace, you were loved in so many ways… I do take a little pleasure knowing that you get to speak your mind off to Steve Jobs in eternity… Please drive him nuts Gerry, for all of us… Love you buddy. Sergio De Acha.
Great story, Sergio!
As the first Marketing hire at Liquid Audio, I have many fond memories of Gerry, Robert Flynn and I sharing the then-empty top floor of the office. Two floors below housed a Mexican restaurant affectionately nicknamed by Gerry – “Rancho Malerio”. Each new hire shared in the tradition of building their chair and office furniture, and the place was a constant buzz of growth.
The two floors filled up, cubes came in, and we eventually outgrew that office, just to build out a new one down the street. When I look back at that time, one thing comes to mind: Gerry made it look easy. We had investor money from one of the top VC firms in town, we had meetings with all the right music and technology partners, and we never doubted that we were building something revolutionary. We all knew music was going to move through those Internet pipes (Gerry would say: “The bigger the hose, the faster the flow!”. Liquid Audio was born, and the word “liquify” took on a whole new meaning.
As challenges arose like brick & mortar retailers threatening to boycott an album if it was released digitally before they got to sell the physical CD, or labels holding off on licensing their content, or Napster giving everything away for free – Gerry always knew how to get to the heart of the matter. I still smile remembering one of his first panels at Webnoize where he and Michael Robertson were trading jabs. Gerry told the audience: “If you really want to crack down on piracy, tell Microsoft to stop letting their computers rip copies of CDs.”
He was a true individual, whether you could take his blunt candor or not. He had a vision, he had a plan, and he was going to do everything in his power to get it done. Its said “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” Gerry was a master omleteer. While many folks may have questioned his methods, hindsight is 20/20. Apple seemed to do pretty well with Dolby Digital encoded audio, wrapped in DRM, with a simple e-commerce front end. Gerry & the Liquid Audio team built that years before Steve Jobs.
Today’s tech scene needs more folks like Gerry with his one-of-a-kind blend of passion, perseverance, and personality. Tonight I lift a pint to you & your family.
I just got back from leaving flowers at the scene on behalf of all of us… There is no specific marker or anything, just some remaining pieces of flares. Our flowers were left at the base of the utility pole (on the left side of the road) if traveling westbound from Roy Gulch Rd
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to Gerry. He was a legend 30 years ago when I first met him. Before Dyaxis, he and Rob had a little company on Laurel Ave, San Carlos called “Integrated Audio Systems” (something like that… ).. building electronic patch bays.
I was passing their window and saw that there was a set of tablas by an empty desk with a sign outside that said, “music”. I had just started OTR Studios with Robert Firpo, drummer. Firpo was studying the tablas (me the Sitar) and thinking tablas was a very strange thing to see in San Carlos, so I walked in. And thus began a friendship, love and respect that I have to this day for GK.
Gerry and I talked for hours. It turned out that Firpo was had been in the Vanguards drum corp under Gerry’s direction when they took first place. Gerry told some great stories and invited me to the opening of the new video editing facility at the Eureka Bank in San Carlos. Turns out the CEO of Eureka Bank was fond of video and spent $7million on an editing facility on top of the bank. Gerry and crew were involved with outfitting the place with gear.
When I returned home, I was excited to tell Firpo I had met Gerry. Upon hearing Gerry’s name Firpo exclaimed, “that guy’s a jerk &^%( )(*&^%%$#%*! He would yell at us so much people would pee in their pants!”
Subsequently, I kept my friendship with Gerry and got rid of Firpo. I have never regretted that decision. 🙂
Through Dyaxis, Liquid Audio, Neurotone, Gerry allowed me access to the future. It was exhilarating.
I plan on writing more stories and giving updates on what I have in the archives (like the 2 hour phone interview with him a few years ago). I hope to read more stories from everyone. It helps ease the pain of all this.
Love to Gerry and love to all,
This is a wonderful email John Nowland sent out earlier this week. It sums up so much of how we all felt, I asked if I could publish it here for him. He agreed. Thanks, John
So sad ……….. our dear compatriot and pal , Gerry Kearby was killed in an auto accident Sunday night, heading into Pescadero, our adopted home. Gerry had had some health issues of late that had left him a little worse for wear, physically, but certainly not in spirit or enthusiasm. Gerry was indeed a true pioneer in our audio world, developing the Studer Dyaxis, the first real commercially viaible Audio Work Station, and later Liquid Audio, the precursor to I-Tunes. He was involved in very cutting edge work on computer assisted hearing systems for us hearing impaired folks @ the time of his passing. He was one of a select few who counseled and advised me on re-building His Master’s Wheels, and the methodology for the work I have done for the last 20 odd years on the Neil Young Archives.
10 days ago, I grabbed Gerry @ the horse ranch He and Nikki had moved to, across the street from my friend Big Steves’ studio. We were doing some mastering for old friends, and Gerry had plenty of good opinions, and a great number of hillarious stories, from Steve Jobs trying to short sell him for Liquid Audio, to trying to record Ravi Shankar direct to disc during a PERFORMANCE!!!! He was a passionate drummer, from marching bands, to studying in India w/ the masters, to playing for himself in his drum room, a few doors down from my father’s house.
He was smart, witty, and generous beyond understanding. He covered my rear, both professionally and personally more times than I can count. He was a passionate musician who was equally passionate about it’s presentation.
I am so sorry for all of us, including those of you who never got to meet him.
Please visit the links to see who this guy was and is.
Dear God, if Gerry is too much of a pain in the ass, please send him back to us. The world needs him.
I couldnt agree with you more on youre comment…im a good friend of nikkis…to bad it cant happen….he was not ready by any means…i was on the phone minutes before this happened and he was on his way home to her after calling to ask what she’d like for dinner…i loved him ,he made me laugh like no other…and he loved me too…made me feel like i was a rockstar…hope to meet you when we all gather together
I worked for Gerry for 10 years and like other people have said, I always assumed that I would work with him again. I was very fond of Gerry and I’m going to miss him terribly. I have plenty of stories, but let me tell the story of how I met Gerry 20 years ago.
I was interviewing for various software jobs and got a call to go into this Studer Editech place. And when I get there, they take me into the conference room there in the old building on Willow in Menlo Park and Gerry is there and Rob and Mark and maybe 7 or 8 other people, it must have been the entire technical staff. They put me up at the white board and said, hypothetically there’s this technical problem, how would you solve it? So, we spend a hour and half, two hours on this one problem that has to do with low level SCSI interaction in the OS (and I realize the kids don’t know what this SCSI thang is). I do block diagrams, I do pseudo code, I draw graphs of latency and performance. They don’t want to ask me any other questions, they don’t want to talk to me one on one. And when we done, Gerry says thanks, we’ll take all this into consideration.
And things don’t really move very fast after that. It’s months before there’s a job offer that I eventually accept. And Rob is showing me around, telling me about the new Dyaxis II workstation that they’re just bringing up the hardware on and there’s my design for the interview question in it. And I sat there thinking, so instead of hiring an expensive consultant, you just used the free interview process to solve some of the problems. You cheap bastard. 🙂
Gerry was a very practical man.
LeeAnn, that is tooooo funny! Gerry did the same thing to me! 🙂 I used have lunch with him all the time, tell him the plight of the indie artist and what should happen.
One day, he calls invites me over to check out the new business (no name yet, 3 people working on top of the Burrito place in Redwood City). He describes what was to be Liquid Audio, and asking my opinions. I lunge into “wow, this is the baseball bat into the knees of the majors (music industry)!”– which excited the hell out of me.
Gerry was not as excited to blast apart the music business, but he called me up for lunch soon after. This time with a marketing fellow with him (sorry, don’t remember who it was). I started blabbering about who, what, where and when–just freestyle. A few weeks later, I see some of the programs I talked with him about being implemented.
So, I walked into his office and said, “okay, you’re going to have to start paying me now”. And he did. I wrote my own ticket as a consultant for Liquid from then on. I loved working with everyone at Liquid, especially having access to Gerry and making reality out of dreams.
Another time, I wrote out a plan called, “Live LIve, Liquid Live”. Scheduled a meeting, outlined the program. He said, “well, this is a stupid idea.” and went on to brand Liquid Live. I found it funny.. shook my head. Damn! he got me again! 🙂
After Liquid sold to Walmart, Walmart folks called me about doing a “Liquid Live” show. I didn’t blink, charged a lot of money and did the dog and pony show with Sony as the client.
Five years ago, Gerry and I were having lunch and he started bashing Walmart for using Liquid Live and not paying him. So, I said, “you know, I did the recordings for Walmart and by the way, you never paid me for the Liquid Live idea in the first place.” Gerry went ballistic! He was so pissed off at me for casually confronting him, he wouldn’t speak to me for a year.
Eventually, he (or you) gets over it, you go to lunch, tell some stories and the world is fine again. I heard him say plenty of times that he’d never talk to so and so again, but he always did.
Though, I wonder if he ever spoke to Arnie after the lawsuit. ?? Does anyone know?
To know Gerry is to be family with him. 🙂
Back in 1991 I met Gerry under challenging circumstances. The Swiss part of Studer Editech were wondering what was going on with their West Coast upstart and I arrived in my best suit with very little warning to find out.
Where I am going with this story is that Gerry was clearly the guy that could be welcoming, focussed and navigate the BS. I guess these are my three phrases to remember him by. If he shouted at you, you knew he disagreed with you, and if he was nice to you, you were probably on the same page. What I discovered was that he was usually right!
I heard My World by Ray Charles for the first time at his home blasting from his monster loudspeakers, and now years later it is still on my iPod.
Gerry, knowing you was a treat!
I never had the pleasure of meeting Gerry but I have heard many stories about him through my years in drum corps. I heard that he was an astounding writer and drum instructor for many years. I heard that he was responsible for the famous “Hero Sandwich” drum solo that still lives on today as one of the greats (correct me if I am wrong). I heard that he was a very tough instructor and got the most out of his drumlines. His legacy will live on in the Kingsmen archive.
My thoughts and prayers to his family.
A reporter asked me if I could sum up Gerry in a few
sentences. That is not possible. He was best described in stories. Here is a story that has the bones of his being.
In Gerry’s family the tradition was that the oldest named the youngest.
His grandfather was the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
When he was born his mother asked her father-inlaw what he should be named.
His grandfather said “you are your name so name him True Heart”. His
mother said, “I can’t do that” so she named him Gerald “Wayne” Kearby.
The “Wayne” is for the actor John Wayne. Both are fitting. Gerry always
acted from his heart pretty much whatever the consequences.
Gerry had his own version of John Wayne’s cinematic heroism, larger than lifeness, kindness. loyalty and sense of fair play but not his politics and or his colorless verbiage.
Think of an amalgam of John Wayne, Hunter S. Thompson, Steve Jobs and Kinky Friedman with a bit of Kris Kristofferson.
This is the best I can do for the moment. More will come.
great post, Rob!
I met Gerry in 1972 when he came on tour with the Blue Stars Drum Corps to help instruct the drum line. I never forgot him. One night while the corps bedded down in Tucumcari,NM on our way back to the midwest, a few staff and older members of the corps went to a local watering hole. The “locals” didn’t seem to care for us, especially Gerry and Duffy who had hair down to their waist and beards to match. They kept giving us crap and egging us on and Gerry just sat there and never said a word. I didn’t really understand how and why he sat there and listened to it. He calmly told everyone to finish their beer and we would leave. As we got out the door and none of the people that were hastling us did a thing,…I asked Gerry,…”Why did you sit there and take that?”. He calmly said,…”Life is too short to waste on assholes like them,….but if any of them would have laid a hand on any of us, I would have smoked every one of them”. I will never forget that night, or Gerry.
My obit for Gerry in Billboard: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/gerry-kearby-co-founder-of-liquid-audio-1007830172.story
wonderful, Dick. I’m working with both AES and NARAS for tributes. Your billboard article will be good to have.
in Nov 1997 we recorded Kristin Hersh in a performance at UCLA, invitation only. About 1000 people were there to witness what I believe is the first live performance recorded and uploaded to the internet. By the time the marketing team had run through their slide show (about 20 minutes) the songs had been uploaded to the internet and made available worldwide.
It was like landing on the moon. 🙂
Dick, your tribute made out on Jason Hirschhorn’s news list today. Thank you, again. for writing it.
I was off to college when Gerry became an important friend (and in the band) of my brother, James, and friends with my sister, Colleen, and brother Timothy, as well. Where I felt his inner beauty was when James had brain cancer. Gerry came to be a crucial supporter of our family, emotionally and financially. This came from his generous spirit and he did so with grace and love. I am so very grateful to him for being there for all of us. Gerry had a keen mind, a wonderful sense of humor and a gorgeous soul. I have been deeply touched by his life and death.
Gerry and I used to have lively conversations about media/the net and what was coming in the future. He was a pleasure to know. I wish I had gotten to know him better
Shocked to hear the passing of Gerry. My Condolences to Nikki and the rest of Gerry’s family. God Bless you all.
I’ll post a long tribute and story to my first real boss real soon. I started writing and it really brought back a flood of real good and funny memories.
Let me know when you are having a service.
I’m going to go to bed now and put on Little Feat “Waiting for Columbus” and remember the good times.
See ya all soon
I met Gerry in Durango Colorado when he and his lovely wife were staying at my Mother’s health retreat. I was dealing with the discomfort of living at my parent’s house post-college, while he was dealing with the discomfort of enduring a strictly regimented (although rewarding) detox diet. The difference was, I could escape and go have some steak and beers with my friends, while he could not. I knew when he asked me to sneak him back a few bottles of beer and a burger, that we would get along well. Of course, he was kidding because he gave everything his all, but it gave us a chance to joke around and talk about our interests. I was immediately drawn to Gerry’s charisma and business sense. I told him I wanted to be a documentarian based in San Francisco which he thought was great. But also offered me the chance at a job that would actually pay the bills. His support didn’t stop there.
When I got to Redwood city 6 months later, he offered me a job at Liquid Audio and let me stay in his guest room until I found a place. He and his wife’s hospitality and support made it possible for me to start a career in the music space that would last more than a decade. He also supported some of my business ideas while at Liquid Audio that my supervisors didn’t support. I’ll always remember Gerry and think about him often. I just know that he’s out there somewhere with Hendrix, Cobain, Elvis, and Joplin hatching up the next (truly) cloud based business.
Nikki talked Gerry into joining her for a week at my Ayurvedic retreat in Colorado. Gerry loved the massages but although he remained a gentleman and a good sport he made lots of funny remarks about the rest of the program, including a little physio-ball – yoga sort of breathing and stretching exercise. He was a total crack up – trying to behave himself and please Nikki but clearly wanting to do something really crazy with those balls. Nikki was pleased to see him relaxing until I put on an intense drumming CD which he said blew his mind and amped him up again. Although I only spent a week with them, I felt we bonded on many levels. I have a great picture of them with my yellow lab, CDS of Bonnie Rait they gave me as a going away gift and most of all – Gerry offered my son Justyn who had just finished college an opportunity to jump start his career at L.A. From reading what many others have to say I have a feeling that Gerry had great intuition about people and really liked giving young people a chance to succeed. About 2 weeks ago I was in touch with Gerry on FB. He said life was good. “walking the dogs, feeding the horses, you know……” I’m sorry I won’t get to see him again and I send my heart to his true love his wonderfully soulful wife Nikki.
PLEASE KEEP ME INFORMED OF THE SERVICES. Thanks.
I was so sad to hear of Gerry’s passing and feel so sad for his family and friends. Craig Doeden, myself, Gerry and Rob just had lunch together in Redwood City a few months back and I was so happy to see both of them. He looked fantastic and it was fun to talk with him again. Gerry was not only a great pioneer and strong willed, but one who actually sincerely had your back. I admired how he helped his family, friends and colleagues and actually experienced it for myself during my tenure at Liquid Audio. I’ve never had a boss get my back to way Gerry did and will always remember him for that. Of course we had many heated discussions as he did with many, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter as he would somehow make you laugh and make you feel things were ok. Deep down, Gerry was such a good person despite his rough exterior. I’ll always remember our conversations, love for wife, love for his nephew Adam, his best friend Rob and his passion for innovation. He was mentor and an inspiration to many and I will always remember and tell the story of how Gerry had my back. I wish I could say thank you and reminisce about the Liquid days, good and bad, but I will always remember Gerry’s qualities that changed my life for the good. Thank you, Gerry. RIP.
Gerry Kearby. What a guy.
Rob and Gerry gave me my first job at CMD in San Carlos in 1982. (Rob just reminded me that I was employee #1) It was located in a very small store front on Laurel St. It now houses a Chinese Restaurant now and I can’t remember the name of right now. Later we moved down the street and he and Rob re-named the company IMS or something like that. In those days we built custom audio products for Ultra Sound (The Dead’s sound company). We partied with them and hung with the late Don Pearson and Dan Healy, John Meyer and some of the other rock sound pioneers of the day.
When I heard of what happened to Gerry it hit me like a ton of bricks or a stack of amps…..The memories of what we all did together came flooding back. The parties on Monday night Monday Night Football!!!…the gals from the catering company across the street came over and brought a ton of food. Gerry gave me a bunch of $ 20’s to go to the corner liquor store and buy beer. During the work day and nights we played big band drum music, jazz on a very expensive sound system real loud and I remember Gerry playing Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus”. He turned me on to that band and every time I hear the live version of “Fat Man in a Bathtub” I think of Gerry.
Gerry was a great host and there was always a good excuse for a party in those days.
I remember that IMS was sort of on the rocks in those days and we actually landed a job wiring and doing install work up at EFS. They had just built this huge building and the CEO was a big fan of audio and video production. EFS was a bank and I think the CEO was laundering money or something. These suspicion weren’t too off base…more on that later…They were building a studio that combined video production, audio recording and live performances. It kind of was a wild idea this guy had. The guy that was responsible for the studio was a guy named Ken. He shared the same first name of the CEO of the bank Ken Kidwell. This all occurred on the eve of the S&L scandal and this CEO was at the top of the crooked pile. Anyway I remember endless hours of wiring small wires, sipping beer, smoking weed and whatever else was available and Gerry both alternately swearing and singing our praises as we racked up this huge bill to the bank. Ah those were the days!
Gerry introduced me to the members of the Dead up in San Rafael. I remember being introduced to Mikey Hart. The conversation went something like this…”Micky I’d like you to meet Bill Doherty our tech.” “Oh hi Bill…you gotta joint?…” A true rock star intro. In the 1983 floods, Gerry sent Eddie and I to San Rafael to help clean Ultra Sound’s water filled warehouse. I remember being fed a steady supply of stimulants….you guess to guess what kind they were…We literally took the lids off Crest Amps and removed the mother boards and hosed out the silt out of the chassis…Crazy time it was. This was pure Gerry all the way.
I left IMS shortly after I got married in 1984. I wanted to do production work so I worked for EFS for two years before it imploded in the S&L scandal. The CEO got busted for drunk driving and illegal weapon possession and did a deal with the Feds to help set up John DeLorean in the infamous cocaine financing scheme that brought down DeLorea’s auto empire.
I’ve remained in contact over the years and saw Gerry last a few years ago at the new venture Neurotone.
I will always remember Gerry for helping me get my start. He introduced me to some really interesting people, nurtured my natural love for the drums and music. He showed me you can be tough, funny and driven all in one personality. We had different visions of what we wanted and we parted ways but I never will forget his influence on me in those early days of my career.
So to my old boss, friend and mentor…goodbye and safe travels to the other side. Pair of sticks in your hands and a glint in your eye.
See ya up there.
Knowing Gerry for me was through the eyes of all of the drummers that we brass people had the pleasure of performing with. That apatrment that Rocco, Gerry, Edgar and the other guy must have been crazy back in 1971. I remember what he said to guys like Jerry Garcia and at DCI we had the misfortune to learn of Gerry’s passing.
You will be missed my brother. All of my prayers and memories with Gerry and the entire drum corps experience. It was also great to reconnedt with Gerry this past year on Facebook.
Lu Lamson here in Edmond, Oklahoma. Gerry’s father, Gene Kearby, and my mother, Dorothy Kearby Weiss, were brother and sister. We grew up as cousins celebrating holidays at our Grandmother, Kathery Ruth Kearby’s home in Edmond, OK. I fondly remember what a “giant” Gerry seemed to be – in every way possible. He always impressed us with his great stories and his compassionate nature for our grandmother never ceased to amaze me. There were 6 cousins . . . Gerry, his sisters, Denise and Carol, and myself and my two sisters, Sharon and Kathy. We spent countless holidays swinging on the two green porch swings that graced the front porch of grandmothers house – not to mention many family dinners with the adult seated around the intimate, yet small formal dining room table, and all the cousins crowded around small card tables laden with the most wonderful home-cooked meals imaginable. My sisters and I grew up in the small community of Ada, Oklahoma, and we always felt as if Gerry and his sisters were so much more sophisticated and “wise to the ways of the world”.
As time passed, so did our dear grandmother. She was that bond that held us together,- kept us coming back from year to year for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. It was when Gerry’s father, Gene, passed, that Gerry found his way back to Edmond, OK to settle his fathers estate. I had since moved from Ada, OK, back to Edmond, with my daughter, Kearby ((yes named after our grandmother). Gerry spent a week or two with us here in Edmond. I came to know Gerry in a whole different light. I would not trade that week for anything in the world, and was so very fortunate to have reconnected with my cousin.
It saddens me to learn of his passing. Love and prayers to all who knew Gerry and to all who shared in the life of such a gentle giant of a man.
Damn! I posted this on the Memorial Information section. I’m reposting here so feel free to delete from the Memorial page.
So I met Gerry when Eddie and I started working Rob at Concert Music Design. I had worked for Rob earlier on a part time basis doing wire wrapping of the prototype of the switcher.
In the process of working for CMD and then Integrated Media Design we did a bunch of different things. One was installing sound systems for businesses with music/paging systems and the other was renting and running sound systems.
One job in particular was doing the sound for the Holiday Festival at Fort Mason in SF. I think it was for 10 days but we all felt like it went on for weeks. The guys did the set up and I was just in helping with the day to day stuff. That involved operating the background music for the whole hall and also doing stage set up and sound for the music and singing acts on the stage. This was 12 hours a day for 10 days of nothing but Christmas Carols and music on stage. There were bands and choirs all doing one kind of Christmas music or another. Did I mention it was for 12 hours a day? We all got up early to load into Gerry’s VW bus and drive from San Carlos to Fort Mason everyday. The drive to and from the City was fun but it was when we got there that the fun began. The guys all ran the sound board and Bill ran lights and helped me with setting up mics before each act. After a few days we were really tired of standard Christmas Carols so Gerry tried to sneak a few Rock & Roll Christmas songs in. Well the front office didn’t like that so they told him to play the traditional stuff. Gerry mumbled and Grumbled about that so Gerry would wait until the doors closed and then would play the good stuff while we packed up every night. Those days were made better by listening to Gerry’s jokes about the management and stage acts.
I’ll always remember when they got the job at Eureka bank installing a audio and video studio with full stage set up. There was a 48 track sound board downstairs for the auditorium and stage. When they finished installing the Meyer sound system and the boards were all hooked up of course it had to be tested. One of Gerry’s favorite songs to be played at full volume was Phil Collins (In The Air Tonight). I can’t tell you hoe many times we played that song as loud as we could. Of course Gerry would be playing the drum parts with his hands.
I remember when Gerry first saw Nikki. She and her sister were opening an aerobics studio a couple of doors down from the shop. I remember Gerry telling everyone that these 2 hot blondes where working in there. Gerry kept an eye on them and when they opened the studio and were seen in tights and leotards that pretty much sealed the deal for Gerry. He was smitten for life and we saw a lot of Nikki at the shop after that.
That shop also had some epic Christmas and Super Bowl party’s. Gerry loved good friends and good food and they always had both. Speaking of parties, Gerry & Nikki’s wedding was one of the best ever.
I left after a couple of years (Gerry and I butted heads) but Ed worked with Rob and Gerry all of the way through the Studer buy out. Gerry and Rob had left to start Liquid Audio by then but Ed hung out until the bitter end. Over 20 years from start to finish.
I didn’t see Gerry and Nikki much over the years but I kept up to date with Rob and Jean and Ed would meet up with Gerry and Doug Dayson to go to cars shows together.
Gerry’s humor and bright smile will be dearly missed by all.
As time passes I my grief is turning into positive energy to honor my brothers memory. I find myself sometimes in questionable etheical situations and I ask my self “what would Gerry do in this case”. I try every day to ask myself if it were me that went first what would Gerry do to help keep my spirit alive. I hope to continue to live up to your standards, your joy for life and your commitment and loyalty to your friends and your friends familys after your friends were gone…You are my daily inspiration my brother… I know you are beside me. Love you forever♥
I got to know Gerry a little bit in the early days of Neurotone. I was working my first corporate job in the same building and became friends with Gerry, Earl, Rob and team. I’d poke into their office from time to time. We were trying to raise venture funding and Gerry was very helpful in refining our pitch and walking us through his pitches. He was a fun and cool guy to be around and always seemed to have a smile on his face. Thats is how I remember him. We didn’t keep in touch and I hadn’t interacted with him since 2005(?), but he made an impact on me and I was sad to learn of his passing earlier this evening.