Perfect Sound Forever

Ed Ward tribute

Mr. Stewart travels in style

Michael Stewart
interviewed by Jason Gross
(June 2021)

I probably first met Ed at the Chronicle office. I was producing and co-managing True Believers, with Joe Nick Patoski. I was hanging around at the Chronicle a lot. It was a hub of creative energy. SXSW office was also there. Joe Nick had a desk tucked away at the top of the stairs. [SXSW co-founder] Louis Meyers' office was there. Along with Ed, I met a lot of people during those years that were a large influence in my life.

Ed Ward a quirky intelligent man, who always had something very opinionated to say about almost anything. What he would say was usually well thought and accurate, but often socially awkward. His views of the world was big and wide. I think the world's view of him was not so wide.

I liked Ed as a reviewer of music. His reviews were true, honest and fair. He never sucked up to a promoter or publicist, or record label.

I know Ed met a lot of musicians over the years. He introduced me to Kim Fowley one time, and they both went off, sparring with each other about a Poi Dog record I had produced. It seemed like they knew the recording's intimate moments better than me. It was like hearing a small battle with word swords.

The last time I spent significant time with Ed was when he was living in Berlin. I lived in Denmark for a few years, and my girlfriend and I visited him a couple of times. He put us up in his huge apartment, showed us around Kreuzberg. I think he enjoyed speaking English for a few days. You know, he was fluent in German.

I had seen him a couple of times since he moved back to Austin, at the grocery, at SXSW. We always made plans to meet, but never did.

My thought when I heard he had passed, was sadness that we hadn't gotten together. I have had a few friends die in the last few years, and Ed's passing reminds me to speak to all my friends who still live.

In the early 90's, Ed and I lived in the same neighborhood. I would walk to his house, and chat with him. His house was full of his massive record and music mag collection. Literally, rooms full of tall shelves with lanes you could walk through.

It was impressive that he was more than a collector though. He truly knew things about the both the very famous and the very un-famous musicians, small things, tidbits of info that he had researched or heard through his info network. When you read his History of Rock & Roll books, you see this, but to see him surrounded by his collection, to be aware of how when he moved houses, he had to move all those LP's, made one realize how much they meant to him. When he moved to Europe he paid to have them stored for years. People, including me, thought he was a little nuts to keep this collection so long.

Looking back on all those years, I now realize, that few people have as strong a feeling about not letting go of something, other than our families. I think all this was Ed's family, he kept the history of Rock & Roll music close to his heart. In a way, those LPs and entire music industry were his family.

I am happy to have known him. I am sad I did not hang out with him more. I am thankful to Louis, and Nick and Roland [Swenson] for hiring him and helping him stay alive. I am glad Joe Nick thought to recommend him to them, all those years ago.

Now that I think about it, I am aware that he and I usually had similar likes and dislikes about bands. Ed was sort of "proto-Indie" with his musical opinions. I am proud to be a small part of his large Rock & Roll family.

I will always remember Ed as the oddball guy standing in the hall at SXSW, or at the booth at Midem or Popkomm, or at the back of a gig by the sound board, in his green army jacket, leaning in with his big eyes, getting ready to say something that turned out to be important.

Ward proudly displays his book and music shelves

Find Michael Stewart on LinkedIn

See the rest of our tribute to Ed Ward

Bookmark and Share

Check out the rest of PERFECT SOUND FOREVER