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Author Topic: RIP Keith Keller, a/k/a Fred Flames  (Read 3236 times)


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RIP Keith Keller, a/k/a Fred Flames
« on: October 13, 2006, 12:24:07 pm »

New Orleans producer, engineer, bigger-than-life character. Perhaps some folks here worked with him?

Keith Keller
By offBeat Staff

Producer and engineer Keith Keller died September 6, evidently of a heart attack. Keller was professionally known for his work at Chez Flames, his studio in the Lower Garden District where he recorded Pearl Jam, Son Volt, the Iguanas, Rebirth Brass Band, Alex Chilton, G. Love and Special Sauce, King Sunny Ade, Charlie Musselwhite and countless other national and local acts. He closed his studio in 2001, disturbed by the movement toward recording with computer software programs such as Pro Tools and away from the analog recording skills he had worked to master. “There’s a hoax being perpetuated by these manufacturers, saying that these products can write a digital emulation of what an analog processor does,” Keller told journalist Scott Jordan in 2001.

Those who knew Keller recall that he was never one to bite his tongue or have casual opinions. He was often outspoken with an aggressive sense of humor. In his notes on his album As Is, Barry Cowsill wrote that the song “Another Was A Brother” was “recorded in the insolent (I’ve got a track record!) Keith Keller’s Chez Flames Studio in New Orleans. He’s a Teddy Bear really.”

Filmmaker Michael Murphy worked with Keller recently on a number of projects including engineering sound for MSN’s podcast from the Acura Stage during Jazz Fest. He was struck by the breadth of Keller’s interests—something reflected by the variety of bands he worked with—and wasn’t surprised to find that Keller posted a number of book reviews on Amazon.com. Writing from “Gnarlins, Looosie-ana,” Keller wrote of Ivor Van Heerden’s The Storm, “It pulls no punches. Van Heerden kicks several bee hives in an attempt to get awareness to a level needed to attain funding of a straight forward recipe for marsh rebuilding, and protection of New Orleans. … I would highly suggest reading The Storm along with Doug Brinkley’s The Great Deluge, which covers the human interest/political side of the fiasco. … I would also suggest everyone wake up, and follow this recipe for healing America’s greatest estuary.”

Those who knew Keller recall that he could anatomize New Orleans’ shortcoming in no uncertain terms, but he was also fiercely protective of the city and proud to be a New Orleanian. There are plans for a memorial second line in November.

Published October 2006, OffBeat Louisiana Music & Culture Magazine, Volume 19, No. 10.
"World Boogie is coming." James Luther Dickinson
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