Dallas, TX (November 18, 2016)—John DeGolyer “Jack” Maxson, audio engineer and co-founder of legendary rock-era live sound provider Showco, died October 21 in Dallas, TX.
Born March 11, 1940, Maxson became a recording engineer in the 1960s—a move that came from a life-long interest in electronics. Concurrent to this, in 1965, local concert promoter Jack Calmes founded an early version of Showco focused on presenting concerts, but shut it down after losing $100,000 on the Texas International Pop Festival, held on Labor Day Weekend, 1969. Realizing that the festival’s audio provider, Bill Hanley, was the only one on the production side to get paid, Calmes was inspired to create a new Showco focused on concert sound, and co-founded it with Maxon and college friend Rusty Brutsche in 1970.
While the team built the company and its gear through trial and error, Showco soon had Three Dog Night, Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf as its first three touring accounts—a good start for an outfit that only had two sound systems and two trucks, all run out of Maxson's garage.
Things only grew from there and in short order, Showco became one of the biggest sound providers in the world, providing audio for the likes of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Sir Paul McCartney and Wings, and hundreds of others, many of whom Maxson worked with personally. Showco maintained its position as a premiere concert audio provider until 2000, when it was purchased by and merged with its chief competitor, Lititz, PA-based Clair Brothers (now Clair Global).
Maxon also co-founded Vari*Lite in 1984, which was an early pioneer in the field of automated color lighting systems. Over the ensuing decades, the company won Primetime Emmy Awards for technical achievement in 1991, 1994 and 2001.
Maxson was married twice, and spent later years looking after his wife, Sally Stocker, as she fought Alzheimer's. He is survived by Sally; his daughter, Margaret DeGolyer "Peggy" Maxson; and three siblings, Virginia, Peter and Mary.