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Pro Audio Exec Dave Christenson Dead at 54

By Clive Young. New Wave frontman-turned-pro audio executive Dave Christenson has died after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

Seattle, WA (December 18, 2017)—Pro audio executive Dave Christenson has died after a three-year battle with lung cancer; he was 54. He spent more than 25 years in the industry after transitioning from a musical career as the frontman of Columbia recording artists, Stabilizers.

Originally hailing from Erie, PA, Stabilizers was comprised of Christenson and UK expat Rich Nevens, guitarist and now VP global sales for Focusrite Pro.

“Dave and I met in ’83 in Erie PA and quickly hit it off musically and started recording,” Nevens said. “We made our demo on my four-track Portastudio, which got a lot of local radio play, and we ended up signing with Colombia Records and moving to LA in ’85.”

In Los Angeles, the pair recorded their album at Conway Recording Studios. When their single, “One Simple Thing,” hit the Top 40 in 1986, the duo wound up touring with Crowded House, appearing on American Bandstand and shooting a music video with a recent film school grad, David Fincher, who would go on to direct Fight Club, The Social Network and more. “It was an amazing few years,” said Nevens.

However, despite selling 150,000 copies of their debut album, Tyranny, the duo were  dropped in 1988 along with scores of other Columbia acts when Sony acquired CBS Records, the label’s parent company. After a second album was recorded for MCA but never released—ironically, due to another label housecleaning when Matsushita bought MCA in 1989—the two musicians reinvented themselves.

“Our close friendship has lasted since we moved over to pro audio, when we both joined Euphonix as a startup,” Nevens recalled. Christenson eventually moved to Seattle and held senior sales positions at LOUD Technologies/Mackie, SSL and Sony, specializing in international sales management, before co-founding Audio Agent, an integrated sales and marketing agency, in Seattle in 2006. Later, in 2012, Christenson co-founded DAW manufacturer Tracktion Software Company with Julian ‘Jules’ Storer, the original creator of Tracktion, and fellow Mackie veteran James ‘Woody’ Woodburn, in order to acquire and resurrect the music production software and brand.

Nevens recalled that while Christenson moved into pro audio, “he never lost his love for singing and working in the studio.” As Christenson himself remarked to in 2016, “We both ended up making our livings and raising our families and all that within the audio industry, which is relatively small but global. Rich and I tend to run into each other in foreign countries more than we do here in the U.S. It’s not the arc I would have predicted for us, but it’s certainly been an interesting and fun ride.”